Let’s All Do The Conference Realignment Shuffle

Gordon is Grumbling

We welcome Gordon back for another epic guest blog post. He’s been here before blogging about college football, as well as other topics. This time, he gives his take on all the changes to our college football conferences.

The ACC made a statement this weekend with wins by Clemson and Miami over national powerhouses (Auburn and Ohio State respectively). Maryland hung with a revamped West Virginia team, and Florida State looked impressive in a loss to #1 Oklahoma. There’s only one problem…Nobody is paying any attention what-so-ever to what is happening on the football field thanks to the latest round of conference realignment that has, for a short time, turned the college football world upside down.

Let me begin by saying that I am absolutely shocked by the amount of resistance that this movement is seeing because this is exactly what everybody has been asking for, for about 10 years now. In case nobody has noticed, what do four main power conferences with 16 teams each set up what exactly…a four team playoff to distinguish a National Champion. You wanted a playoff America? Well guess what? This is what is going to happen to get you one.

Luckily, for those opposed to ruining College Football as we know it in order to get a completely useless four game playoff system (and that includes Ryan and I), Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott may have ended that dream today by announcing that it would not be taking Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and would remain with the 12 team conference that they currently have. While this is welcome news to me, we’ll see how long the Pac-12 can hold onto this sentiment. After the ACC expands to 16 teams with the potential additions of Connecticut, Rutgers, Notre Dame, and West Virginia, and the SEC looks to expand to 16 teams with the additions of Texas A&M and a grab bag so to speak of Big 12, Big East, and Independent schools, the Pac-12 may be forced to follow suit.

Let’s look at how the changes, both those complete and those still looming, will affect the current BCS system. There are three moves that I believe are guaranteed to happen in the next five years.

Texas and Oklahoma will leave the Big 12. The two schools hung onto the Big 12 by the skin of their teeth last year, and looks like they will be forced to stay in the Big 12 this year because apparently the Pac-12 does not want them. Eventually, and trust me on this, somebody is going to welcome Texas and Oklahoma into their conference with open arms, and will also take Oklahoma State with them. This move will denote the end of the Big 12.

Some teams remaining in the Big 12 and the Big East (or what’s left of them) will join together to form one conference to try and stay relevant. While this conference will include several teams who have played in major conferences for their entire existence, these teams will have to get used to the fact that this conference will be considered a Mid-Major conference, and will not have an automatic qualifying BCS Bowl bid, while the BCS still exists.

The Mountain West Conference will merge with Conference USA and try to take remaining Big 12 teams (Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, etc.) in order to obtain a BCS automatic qualifying bid. This one could get ugly folks. It looks like this is going to be a 22 team conference, with 2 divisions with teams stretching from Hawaii to the East Coast. This goes without saying, but for the love of God don’t give a team an automatic qualifier for beating Conference USA and Mountain West low-life teams 10 times a year. (Boise State, I’m looking at you).

Conference Realignment Winners

West Virginia – Right now, the Mountaineers are staying out of this after being *“denied” by the SEC and ACC, and it’s a genius strategy. West Virginia is a multi-sport contender who will add power to any conference that it joins. When teams are looking to add the finishing touches to their conferences and surpass the SEC in talent, West Virginia will have to beat away conference commissioners with a stick. (I see them as an addition to the Big 10 in about five years.)
*The only reason I can see West Virginia “denied” by either one of these conferences is that they are not currently ready to move to 16 teams in the next two to three years. If West Virginia were to apply to either of these conferences again in 3 years, I can’t see anything but the Mountaineers being immediately accepted.

The Pac-12 – Not only has the Pac-12 been able to add talent to a conference that had absolutely fallen off the map two years ago, they also managed to get people to completely forget that its top 2 schools (USC and Oregon) are in the middle of ugly battles with the NCAA for rules violations.

Texas A&M – I had fully expected Texas A&M to be trapped in the Big 12 due to litigation issues before the ACC decided to expand this week. Now that Texas and Oklahoma are looking elsewhere, Texas A&M will more than likely be able to leave as they please without the threat of legal action.

Conference Realignment Losers

TCU – You won’t see me shed a tear for the Horned Frogs. TCU decided that it didn’t want to be considered a Mid-Major anymore and decided it was time to play with the big boys so they joined…the Big East? Let’s forget the fact that it makes zero sense geographically and focus on the fact that they simply decided to join the weakest conference with an automatic qualifying bid to get easy access to a BCS Bowl, and the fat check that comes with it. Now they are in the process of joining a conference that won’t exist in five years. Serves them right!

The SEC – People say that a little competition is a good thing, but the SEC certainly has managed to thrive with no competition just fine for the past 10 years in college football. The SEC has managed to hide the weakness of its non-football sports behind the iron curtain of the football conference. It’ll be interesting to see how the SEC is viewed by the public once it’s not considered the only contender in college football anymore.

The BCS – This whole thing is happening to prepare for a college football playoff, and I would like to conclude this article with one observation. What has been the biggest argument for a playoff? The fact that the 3rd, 4th, fourth and 5th placed teams are shut out without a chance to contend for a national championship. Ok, now take that problem, and replace 3rd, 4th, and 5th, with 5th, 6th, and 7th, and you have your four team playoff. Looks like the major problem people had with the BCS will be exactly the same with a four team playoff, just moved back a few spots in the polls.

Thanks for the guest post Gordon. I couldn’t agree more about a four team playoff being uneccesary. In fact I think it would eventually mushroom to 6 and then 8 and who knows when it would stop. I’m also pretty bent out of shape about MLB potentially adding two more playoff spots. Great post! Thanks!

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2 thoughts on “Let’s All Do The Conference Realignment Shuffle

  1. You bring up a really solid point about a set up for playoffs. I am surprised that I haven’t heard anyone else bring this up yet. I’m still not sure that I believe the Big 12 “remnants” would be so quick to lose an AQ, but I guess if Mizzou does decide to flee in the near future, I could see the rest of this house of cards falling rather swiftly. I can’t say I completely agree with your notion that the SEC will suffer because of this. The current football powerhouses of the SEC have been powerhouses for decades now, and I can’t imagine why competition outside of their conference will effect this fact in any way. If anything, the SEC stands to benefit from greater competition in basketball.

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