Last Updated on September 17, 2011
UPDATE: Since conference realignment news and analysis is outdated within hours of putting it up, this post is certainly outdated. However, since it continues to get hits, I wanted to link over to my current thoughts: click here.
I’ve spent the last 24 hours moving teams around on a spreadsheet trying to make four 16-team super conferences for football. There are a lot of things you have to take into consideration when making such a list: geography, academics, culture, history, rivalries, and television market. Each addition must give the conference a compelling reason why they should divide their revenue pie into smaller slices.
To make such a list, you have to first decide what will prompt the much speculate move to four 16-team super conferences. I think it will happen because Texas decides to become an independent or because another team, like Texas A&M, leaves the Big 12. Either way, the Big 12 will crumble and other conferences will feast on what’s left.
It’s my belief that the end of the Big 12 signals the end of the Big East. The SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 will gobble up the best teams from the Big 12 quickly. The ACC will struggle to keep up. Most of the conferences will have to look outside the Big 12 to get to 16 teams, so they’ll pick apart the next weakest conference, the Big East. However, I don’t believe the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 or ACC will raid one another.
In the end, I decided there won’t be four 16-team super conferences. There will be two with 16 teams and two with 14 teams. The leftovers will either form their own league or look to other conferences like the Mountain West. Regardless of which of those scenarios happen, I’m not sure if they’d make the cut as BCS automatic-qualifiers.
I’ll give you my chart and then my reasoning:
|Auburn||Michigan State||Arizona State||Clemson|
|Georgia||Michigan||USC||North Carolina State|
|Arkansas||Ohio State||UCLA||Georgia Tech|
|Mississippi State||Penn State||Arizona||Duke|
|LSU||Iowa||Oregon State||Boston College|
|Tennessee||Wisconsin||Washington State||Florida State|
|Missouri||Syracuse||Texas Tech||West Virginia|
I started with the belief that Texas, BYU and Notre Dame will remain independent. Next, I decided Texas A&M would be the first acquisition. Texas A&M fans are already lobbying for a move to the SEC. With them I think you get Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. That leaves the SEC with one slot to fill, and I think they fill it with Missouri, who the Big Ten already snubbed.
The Big Ten is left with nowhere to go but the Big East to grab schools that make sense to them both in terms of being worthy of splitting the pie with and fitting in academically and culturally. By adding Rutgers, Syracuse and UCONN, the Big Ten essentially creates a triangle around the NYC market. They add Kansas to even out their numbers with a school that’s academically palatable.
After much debate, I decided it doesn’t make sense for the Pac-12 or ACC to go to 16 teams. They’ll each only add two. The Pac-12 will add TCU and Texas Tech to get into the Texas market, both for media penetration and to get the conference into Texas for recruiting. There are no other schools it makes sense for them to add. Remember, anyone they add will have to bring enough to the table to make it worth splitting the pie into smaller pieces. I stand by my statements yesterday that Boise State doesn’t offer enough. They don’t offer a large media market or fertile recruiting ground. It doesn’t matter how many times Boise State has been on ESPN (the WAC’s tv contract was with ESPN, so of course ESPN put Boise State on tv). That doesn’t put money in the Pac-12’s collective pockets. ESPN is already going to air Pac-12 games every week because of their television contract with the conference. Does the Pac-12 care which of its two teams ESPN features on Saturday night? Nope. They still receive the same amount. Adding Boise State is unlikely to bring in enough additional money from a new television contract to merit splitting the entire revenue pie into smaller slices. USC is always going to have an audience, regardless of whether they’re having a winning season, because they’re a national brand with a history. Boise State cannot say the same.
The ACC will make additions in an attempt to stay relevant with the other three conferences, but because of their strict academic standards it’ll be tough. They’ll add Pitt because it makes sense geographically and academically and brings a solid media market. Then they’ll be forced to add one more school to round out at 14 schools. West Virginia is the addition, in my opinion, because of the rivalry with Pitt and geographic location. West Virginia doesn’t fit in perfectly in terms of academics or culture, but it’s the best the ACC will be able to do. Other possible targets would have been Louisville and Cincinnati, but the academics at both will keep them out of the ACC. Although Cincinnati would bring a considerable media market, the ACC would never be willing to overlook its academics.
This leaves quite a few teams out in the cold, including teams that are currently in AQ conferences. I believe those teams will either look to conferences like the Mountain West or form their own conference, which may or may not be AQ worthy. Here’s what a new conference could look like with those overlooked and some others from non-AQ conferences:
If you’ve read this site for long, you know I like what Louisville and UCF are doing. Unfortunately, I don’t think they fit into any of the four super conferences. Despite the fact that Louisville has a fabulous basketball program and amazing facilities, that won’t get them into a football super conference. I just don’t think they’re strong enough academically to get an invite from the ACC.
I’d love to see other people’s lists for 16 team super conferences. I think if you sit down and really think through all the factors, you’ll find it difficult to accomplish.ACCBig 12Big EastBig TenIndependentsPac-12SEC
Lorenzo ArguelloAugust 3, 2011
You’ve hit the nail on the head: “I think if you sit down and really think through all the factors, you’ll find it difficult to accomplish.”
I’ve done this exercise countless times just for kicks and found myself always struggling to get to 4 conferences with 16 teams. I always ended up with teams that don’t seem like good fits on paper, i.e. Missouri in the SEC or Texas Tech in the Pac-1X.
You’re correct when saying that the trigger for all of this would be Texas becoming an independent, which to me may be the most interesting part in all of this. You’re also dead-on in your Boise St. analysis, they’re stuck. Which leads me to think that they should really look at becoming independent now that BYU, Utah, and TCU have abandoned them in the Mountain West.
Would a group of independents that includes Texas, Notre Dame, BYU, and Boise St. be as strong as the previous era of independents that included the likes of Miami, Penn St., and Florida St. along with ND? Maybe not, but the thought of it is intriguing.
LecAugust 4, 2011
I think if you really follow the money you have to ask yourself why would a 4 Super Conferences under their own governance allow any independent to join in a play-off? Lets see “we build it? and you steal it$?
Sure Texas and ND can be independent and they can do their own sub 64 Championship..but they would not get a seat at table of the Super Conference Play-Offs..just would not happen. Net UT and ND will have to join or be locked out.
WilliamNovember 8, 2011
If Texas, BYU and Notre Dame were to team up with the armed service schools…Army, Navy and Air Force…the revenue would be through the roof and eventually other big players would join in as well….a decade later the above schools would attract Miami, OU, Penn State and USC maybe even Alabama!
KoldBeerAugust 3, 2011
I think OU and Ok State go to Pac-16. I don’t think the SEC really wants OSU and I think both Oklahoma schools are more interested in Pac-16 then SEC. Path to national championship is easier in Pac-16 than SEC so I think that’s the way OU would want to go. Pac-12 has some expansion issues b/c there are not a lot of schools they can get (nobody in MWC that is really attractive and Big 12 is halfway across country – they really need 3 or 4 from Big 12).
I could also see 5 conferences w/ 14 teams instead of 4 w/ 16. Fewer teams would be left out so I think there would be less political issues. Now 4th and 5th conferences wouldn’t be as strong as Big 10, SEC and Pac-12. With 5 conferernces I think Big East and Big 12 leftovers form a conference.
Kristi DoshAugust 3, 2011
Your comment about Boise State going independent is really interesting. I’m not sure they could make the finances work, but it lead me to think of something else. Everyone talks about the scheduling difficulties if these schools go independent, but if there are enough of them they can play each other. Texas vs. Notre Dame is one I’d watch – so is BYU vs. Boise State.
Lorenzo ArguelloAugust 3, 2011
Yes, both of those matchups would probably garner large TV audiences. Also, financing and scheduling can be thorn in independents sides, but over time they become media darlings (at least they did in the past) and down the line that could lead to better TV deals and more teams wanting to play them.
As for Boise State, filling up a schedule with the likes of BYU, Utah, a couple WAC/MWC teams, some lower rung Pac-12 teams and the occasional big time matchup with a Texas or USC isn’t inconceivable.
KoldBeerAugust 3, 2011
I could see Boise going independent before UT. Where does UT’s non-football sports go? If the Big 12 falls apart and UT goes independent, they would have a hard time finding a decent conference to put their other sports. Boise and BYU aren’t at same level as UT in other sports so it’s easy for them to find an acceptable conference. Would UT be happy w/ CUSA or MVC for other sports. UT is really good in a lot of sports. I’m not sure they would be willing to take a hit in other sports (I think men’s basketball and baseball would slip if they weren’t in Big 12 or other AQ type conference). Until UT figures this out, I don’t see them as going independent.
Also, isn’t the BCS deal up in 2014? I think this could really facture into conference realigmnment. Do conference shuffle before new BCS deal is signed? Does the BCS even exist after its current deal is up?
poweredtoastAugust 3, 2011
I base my opinion on a few premises:
1. TA&M wants to be in the SEC
2. WVU fans want to be in the SEC
3. OU & Ok St don’t want to separate from Texas
4. Texas would rather reform the SWC than go anywhere else
5. The Big East is in danger of splitting
6. ‘Like’ programs like to stick together ( basketball schools with basketball schools, etc )
7. Location, location, location.
My big reach is UNC, where I think their basketball alignment could be swayed due to football & baseball alignment that better fits the SEC and they could still play Duke OOC every year.
My big 5 ( ie. the Big East is absorbed ):
San Diego State
Big 12 / new SWC:
ACC/ Big East:
David KreutzAugust 3, 2011
There is almost no chance that your Pac-16 arrangment would happen I’m afraid to say. The Pac is not only an association of football schools but also major research universities. None of the four schools you add fit that bill, additionally Fresno and SDSU don’t realy add any value media wise, the Pac-12 is allready the dominant force in those media markets as is with the existing schools.
Old TrojanSeptember 1, 2011
You are not from the west. The pac 12 / 16 would never take San Diego State, UNLV, Boise State, or Fresno State. Oklahoma is holding all the cards. And Oklahoma will be going too the Pac 16 and Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU or Texas Tech will follow.
TonyAugust 3, 2011
I am biased however I think do include a Boise State in a western conf. Don’t discount that Boise not only played alot on espn but they also pull respectable ratings nationally. Look at the ratings for the two Fiesta Bowls, the classic last year with VT in prime time, and various other games televised nationally over the past 10 years. The determining factors of worthiness should reward the traditional programs as well as reward upcoming programs who have proven a commitment to the betterment of the sport. I think the fact that your list and others I have seen specify Boise State as being in or out is telling that they have cemented a place in the national discussion, that they are relevant and
they are worthy. It would be wrong to leave out a perennial top 25 program regardless of who they were.
uncle buckAugust 3, 2011
As usual I love your posts..
tried to email using your contact button, but it kept trying to load a different mailer
you have my email in this response, can you email me yours?
My basic premise is that your logic on the ACC is flawed and that you are looking at a totally different set of rules if 16 team conferences are the next model – which is the only logical step to justify passing the current 12 team model.
BirminghamJoeAugust 3, 2011
Mississippi has been put on notice that if they don’t “clean up their image” they will be booted from the SEC. If this happens, it opens the possibility for A&M to join the league without any other dominoes having to fall.
Jim ClemmerAugust 3, 2011
Considering that Alabama and Auburn have been penalized by the NCAA more than any other scoools, that is funny.
dj1972August 3, 2011
Good stuff. Some minor holes that I could poke, but most are academic and culture related.
If the ACC were smart, they would poach Syracuse, Rutgers, and UConn from the Big East right now. The BE may be fishing for a new TV deal, but there is a schism between the basketball schools and football schools that is growing daily. When the ACC added Boston College, they opened up that avenue to the NY/NE market, and with those three being relatively similar in culture to the rest of the ACC, they would be wise to offer them now. For a 16th team, that would be tough. Pitt, Louisville, West Virginia, East Carolina geographically could do it, but academically and culturally, any of them would be awkward at best. If I were to bet which one they would take, I would lean WVU, but that’s just based on rivalries with the three other schools as well as a history with BC, Maryland, Virginia and Va Tech.
I also cannot see Louisville being on the outside looking in. They are no weaker academically than archrival Kentucky, and would be a solid addition to the SEC in many respects. I also don’t see Missouri in the SEC, mostly because of cultural differences. They will crawl over broken glass to go to the Big Ten, who, if forced to add four more members, would take them on.
Speaking of the Big Ten, there is no way Iowa lets its biggest rival, Iowa St, drift away from the non-superconference abyss. ISU is an AAU school, and culturally a perfect fit as well. They may not add value from a TV perspective, but not every addition will, especially if the ACC made the first move to pull Syracuse, Rutgers and UConn into their fold. Pitt is also a academic and cultural fit there, so the move to the Big Ten would be seamless.
The Pac-16 would be tough. The Oklahoma schools don’t necessarily want to split from the Texas schools, but with Texas going independent (I agree, they have given every indication they would either reform the SWC or go their own way), there’s no reason to stick with Texas A&M, who does want to go to the SEC. However, I struggled finding two other schools who would culturally fit into the current Pac-12. I agree that Boise St. would not fit academically, while a school like TCU or Baylor would not fit culturally (if they would not even consider BYU, they won’t consider them either). Texas Tech and Kansas St. are decent fits academically, are familiar to Colorado as former Big XII members, and open up Texas and midwest markets, so I put them there instead of Colorado St.
I also think Boise MAY better off independent as well. Other schools built their reps as an independent in football (Penn St., Florida St., and Miami are good examples), and Boise has proved that you don’t have to be in a major market to win. With plenty other independents out there nowadays, they could absolutely make it work., especially if they expand their home field and get a TV deal of their own. However, if the MWC teams decided to do their own superconference, Boise could stay there, where they might be able to force themselves into the discussion as a unit.
My superconferences (not perfect but solid, I think):
ACC: Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, West Virginia, BC, Maryland, Virginia, Va Tech, North Carolina, NC St., Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida St., Miami
SEC: Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Miss St., Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor
(note: I could see Georgia Tech and South Carolina switching back to their old conferences someday, especially in this kind of situation.)
Big Ten: Penn St., Pitt, Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St., Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa St., Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas
Pac-16: Arizona, Arizona St., USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon St., Washington, Washington St., Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, Kansas St.
MWC/Leftovers who could form a superconference of their own: Air Force, Colorado St., Wyoming, Utah St., Boise St., Idaho, Nevada, UNLV, San Diego St., Fresno St., Hawaii, New Mexico, New Mexico St., SMU, Rice, Houston
Chad AndersonAugust 4, 2011
i’m sorry but there is no way the SEC nor its fans will ever accept the likes of Louisville, TCU or Baylor. Will never happen. I do think you are on the right path with your PAC 16 projection though. Oklahoma and Stoops want to be in the PAC, Texas Tech wnats in and the Pac would accept them in the package. Instead of Kansas State though think Kansas, that is who the PAC wanted to swap for Okie state the last time this all came up and if your going to 16 teams then your going to have 4 team quads anyway. Ok, OK state, Texas Tech and Kansas. The PAC would take them and they would all go.
seanSeptember 4, 2011
the acc would have a super conference!! basketball wise uconn,syracuse,duke,n.c,etc. it would be crazy
David KreutzAugust 3, 2011
When looking into expansion its important to keep a number of factors in mind.
1) These aren’t JUST football arrangments, they are also arrangments for other sports, and in some cases major academic associations as well
2) Conferences aren’t going to expand just to expand, there has to be a financial incentive to do so as well. If the Pac-12 can’t get schools that add meaningful value I don’t think they would expand with sub par choices (based on their criteria) to reach the magic 16 number.
We also need to consider things we know based on previous expansion and statements of conferences now, although these things can change they are a pretty good indicator of what will/won’t happen.
1) We know that adding a religious institution to the Pac-12 is going to face HUGE hurdles, especailly from the Bay area schools, who were the strongest objectors to the idea of adding BYU. For this reason I think TCU is a non-starter (not to mention being academically anemic in general)
2) We know that both the Pac-12 and Big Ten value the academic component of the equation pretty highly, there is a reason Boise State wasn’t even in consideration as an expansion option.
3) The SEC is unlikely, almost never, going to add schools in existing states, that means no Georgia Tech, no Clemson, no Florida State, no Miami. This MIGHT change if they think they can get significantly larger media share out of such a deal, but I think they are MORE likely to draw in schools from new states.
4) Certain schools are likely going to come in pairs/groups due to state politics and academic control. Oklahoma is very likely tied to Oklahoma State, Kansas is very likely tied to Kansas State. You want one? Gotta take both.
David KreutzAugust 3, 2011
So based on what I said above I think expansion would/could play out as follows. An important distinction between my scenario and the original laid out in the post? I don’t think the SEC or Big Ten poaching from the ACC is off limits.
West: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, Miss State, Texas A&M, Missouri
East: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Virginia
As I said, ACC isn’t off limits and VaTech and Virginia make a natural pair to reach into a couple new markets and add a football team with a strong tradition in the Hokies that would be a good fit for the SEC. Out west A&M is the obvious choice and Missourri gives them another new market. If Mizzou is out because they went, say to the Big Ten, then Baylor is the next in as a natural rival for A&M and extra presence in Texas. I don’t think UT-Austin is interested because of teh low standards academically in the SEC, they have a high academic reputation they value. Plus there may be some hard feelings if the A&M move is what pushes the Big 12 over the brink, Texas doesn’t want to play second fiddle to the Aggies in anything.
West: Washington, WSU, Oregon, OSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA
East: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, ASU, Oklahoma, OK State, Texas Tech, Texas
The Oklahoma schools come west and not east because the Pac-12 has room for the Cowboys (adding ironically a second team called OSU whose colors are orange and black). Despite public statments that the Longhorn network makes Texas a next to impossible ad, I think thats just posturing, the Longhorns do come west for a couple reasons. 1. Academics, 2. The Pac-12 network. The Longhorn network is currently hitting many snags due to distribution and other issues, meanwhile Larry Scott has landed a rockstar deal for the Pac-12 networks, and the Longhorn Network would easily dovetail into a Pac-12 Texas network with added content from the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.
Leaders: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Penn State, Pitt, Boston College
Legends: Minnesota, Michigan, Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, Rutgers, Notre Dame
The easier part of this scenario? Pitt and Rutgers. Both are academic good fits and Rutgers adds the New York market tot he leagues footprint.
Thats right folks, the Irish are no longer independent. With the pending raid of the big easts FBS football schools by the ACC, the Irish need a new place for their basketball and other sports. They COULD stay indpendent and participate in the smaller Big East but I think there is a shot they finally join the Big Ten. In which case adding Boston College would be a great play as a natural cross division rival for the Irish and an expanded east coast presence. If the Irish don’t join up? Replace ND/BC with Kansas/K State or UConn/Syracuse and/or West Virginia
Atlantic: Clemson, FSU, NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Syrcause, Cincinatti
Coastal: Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Duke, West Virginia, UConn, Louisville,
This one is the hardest to predict because it depends on the choices of the other three big conferences. Does the Big Ten really take Pitt and BC? If not then Pitt, BC, WVU, and UConn are an obvious add. Do they want to stretch out that far west by adding Kansas and K-State? How about Eastern Carolina, a strong non-AQ school but in the current footprint? How about adding Old Dominion and James Madison to keep a presence in Virginia? Or USF/UCF to increase the presence in Florida?
JohnAugust 3, 2011
Ok, here’s my stab at it.
Pac16 – Current Pac12 + Kansas, OU, Okie St & TT.
SEC16 – Current SEC + Florida St, Missouri, Texas A&M & Virginia Tech.
BI6 – Current Big Ten + Notre Dame, Rutgers, Syracuse & Virginia.
ACC – BC, Duke, NC, NC ST, Wake, Clemson, Miami, Georgia Tech, Maryland, USF, TCU, Louisville, UConn, Pitt, WVU,& Cincy.
Chad AndersonAugust 4, 2011
I like your stab. It is in my opinion the closest to what we probably will see. The only problem I see is FSU in the SEC. Yes FSU would join ( their total football revenue in 2009 was just over 18M and Doak Campbell is a stadium you can always get a seat in except for Miami or FLorida games). The problem is that 9 SEC schools must vote to extend the invitation and FL, GA, AL and AU are definite NO votes. Bobby turned down the offer when it came years ago stating that he would not join if he had to play AL, AU and FL in the same year (FSU was to be in the WEST). That snub will forever be fresh in the minds of SEC fans.
dj1972August 3, 2011
@David: One thing to understand about the ACC, particularly the founding schools (the four Tobacco Road schools, Maryland, Virginia and Clemson): They will have to be dragged apart. As “Public Ivies”, UNC and UVa in particular are very similar in academic reputation, mission, mindset and worldview…and I can tell you that the administrations and faculty want NOTHING to do with what they feel is an academically inferior association (SEC). Besides basketball, that is what sets the ACC apart from the SEC, and why they don’t want to become completely driven by football. Again, the ACC must be thinking of this, and if they were to consider their future without getting broken up, they need to consider expanding to include schools like Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers; all of which fit their academic profile, further expand into the NE markets, and add natural rivalries for BC and Maryland. An 8 team north/south split would be easy too if West Virginia is added (BC, UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, WVU, Maryland, UVa and Va Tech in the North…with the NC schools, Clemson, Ga Tech, Fla St and Miami in the South).
Side note: Of the founding schools, I get the impression that Clemson would be the only one to jump to the SEC without a whole lot of prodding, but the others will not be pulled apart without a fight.
To your other point regarding rivalries: As a rule, you’re absolutely correct. However, I could see Kansas and Kansas St being pulled apart. They’re not as tied together as the Oklahoma or Texas schools, and Kansas has always considered Missouri their biggest and most bitter rival.
David KreutzAugust 3, 2011
I’ll admit, my understanding of ACC politics/rivalries/connections is definitely on the weak side as I’m a west coaster so your point about Virginia being tightly tied to the rest does make sense. I still think Va Tech to the SEC has a strong chance of happening though maybe with Baylor, A&M and Mizzou, although that would require shifting a West team to the east, probably Auburn?
Chad AndersonAugust 4, 2011
Baylor will never recieve an invitation to join the SEC
frugAugust 5, 2011
Getting Clemson to agree would still be pretty tricky. While the fanbase and athletic department would jump at an SEC invite, the academic side of the University believes that not being associated with UNC, UVa, Duke and Maryland would kill the school’s reputation.
I do agree with you that it would virtually impossible to break UNC, Duke and UVa. Also, given how hard Virginia leaned on the rest of the conference to rescue V-Tech from the Big East, the politicians in Virginia might not let V-Tech leave it the move would harm UVa.
frugAugust 5, 2011
Sorry for the double post, but KU and KSU share Board of Regents would approve to any move so they are essentially stuck together unless the only options are something like KU goes to the Big East and KSU goes to C-USA or KU and KSU both go to C-USA.
David KreutzAugust 3, 2011
Also good point to remember for those thinking independence for the Longhorns, they will need somewhere to land their non-football teams, and when you have some top tier programs in those sports it won’t be easy to settle for any old group. MAYBE the Mountain West or Conference USA would be acceptable (especially if the MW or CUSA swallows up Kansas/Kansas State). But I’m guessing the Longhorns would prefer to land in an AQ conference first, and without joining as a full member I don’t think thats likely for any of the logical choices (Big Ten/Pac-12/SEC)
dj1972August 3, 2011
Ahh yes, the Texas non-football dilemma. Great point, and I don’t think there’s any way the superconferences would let them join as an associate member. However, the remnants of the Big East would (basically the BE basketball members…many of whom are in the largest US TV markets), and if the LHN were a success, they could afford to send their teams virtually anywhere. Plus, the BE already has that type of deal with Notre Dame…they don’t necessarily like it, but they are familiar with the setup, and if it becomes a non-football conference, it would work perfectly.
Slightly off-topic…Andy Staples wrote a piece last week on what might happen if the big football schools would drop football as an NCAA sport and made it a club sport. Would be curious to see how that would affect these hypothetical situations, and also whether that decision would have a Title IX impact on the rest of the athletic department (or would football still count toward overall Title IX compliance). Over to you, Dosh…
bob smithAugust 3, 2011
“Mississippi has been put on notice that if they don’t “clean up their image” they will be booted from the SEC. ”
Exactly what is it they are supposed to be cleaning up? They have emerged as a very good academic school and their facilities, outside of Tad Smith Coliseum, which is soon to be replaced, are very good. Just what is it you are referring to?
Steve RobertsAugust 3, 2011
For the OP I’d change a few things. Rutgers is in serious financial trouble and adding the sports to get to the Big 10 is a stretch. Their best opportunity is the ACC. I’d also shift Kansas out of the Big 10. The football money isn’t there and I think Kansas would be lured to the PAC 12.
I’d shift Missouri to the Big 10 in their place. The Big 10 didn’t discount them, they just went to Nebraska. Missouri works in every way. They have the correct accreditation, they have solid academics and they bring two major media markets. Along with Missouri I think it’s impossible to assume Notre Dame will continue being Independent. Their TV contract has fallen so far behind that it isn’t even funny anymore. They’ve hinted that if the signs are all the wall that they’ll move into a conference, I think it’s inevitable. The Big 10 is their only option.
With Missouri our of your SEC lineup, I’d bring in Virginia or Virginia Tech. North Carolina isn’t jumping from the ACC but either of the major market Virginia teams would I think. That opens up a nice market for selling SEC media rights.
TXRebelAugust 3, 2011
With Mike Slive hinting that the SEC would have a plan stashed
away in the desk drawer for expansion should the need ever arise, I took
a stab at looking at the overall landscape. Let me know what you
My premise for the expansion talk here is completely around the idea
that in the very near future there will be 4-5 super-conferences. In my
opinion, the Big 12 has the toughest time standing on it’s own if
re-alignment happens and the SEC would be in a position to grab the
elite of the conference. The leftovers from the Big 12 would have to
align with leftovers from the WAC, Mountain West, and C-USA to form an
additional new conference if the powers that be allowed a 5th
super-conference, which I think they should. I’ll also assume that
Notre Dame stays independent due to its massive TV contract.
The SEC could get TX, TX A&M, OK, & OK St. to get to 16 teams.
The Pac-10 could get BYU, Utah, TCU, Colorado, CO St., & Boise St. to
get to 16.
The Big 10 could get Neb, Cincy, Louisville, Rutgers, & Syracuse to get
to its 16.
The ACC could get UConn, Pitt, S. Fla, & WVU to get to its 16.
The “Leftover” Conference could be Mizzou, Baylor, Iowa, Iowa St.,
Kansas, K St.,TX Tech, Memphis, Tulane, Air Force, UNLV, Central FL, S.
Miss, UAB, SMU, & Houston
Teams left out include: Wyoming, Nevada, UTEP, Rice, ECU, Marshall,
Tulsa, NMU, NM St., SD St.,Fresno St.,Idaho, Hawaii, La Tech, Utah St.,&
San Jose St. (an additional 16 teams but not powerful enough to earn a
full super-conference bid) but could compete for an at-large bid.
Okay, here is where my mind goes crazy… In my perfect world at that
point, each divisional winner from the 4 major super-conferences would
get into the “BCS Playoff” plus you would have 4 available at-large
spots. Super-Conference Championship games would determine seeding for
the 12 team play-off. Those super-conference champs would get 1st round
byes. The “leftover” super-conference winner would get one of the
at-large bids into the BCS Play-off and you would have 3 spots left over
for the highest ranking teams, including Notre Dame and
non-super-conference conference teams. I’m sure there would have to be
a provision where ND could obtain a first round bye but right now, they
are playing in the first round.
I don’t even want copyrights to this idea! I hope its SO good that
people would actually want to enact it!
David KreutzAugust 3, 2011
BYU, Boise and TCU are no goes for the Pac-12.
BYU because its strong religious connections and the related limitations it places on research/scholastics that the Pac-10/12 schools are philosophically counter too. They also duplicate an existing market for the Pac-12. If Larry Scott was going to pick up BYU they would have done it allready instead of Utah.
TCU for more or less the same reasons as BYU, religious ties, plus its a weak academic school. Pac-12 would add Texas Tech well before TCU, other Texas possibilities before TCU are UTEP, Rice, Houston, and Baylor, who while religious has a much better academic reputation.
Boise States academics are even more anemic, they aren’t even a research university which is a BIG DEAL to the Pac 12. In addition they really don’t have a strong sports program outside of football.
More likely to be taken given the leftovers you mention are Texas Tech, Mizzourri, Kansas, K State, Iowa or Iowa State, although why Iowa state is on your list and out of the Big Ten I don’t know?
PaulAugust 3, 2011
TAMU elite of the Big-12 HAHAHAHAHAHAH.
Since the Big 12 was founded Tex Tech, your leftover, is 11-5 against the so called elite Aggies; so yea I can see you want to ditch ’em. The Ags are up now but have been in a dump for 12 years for the most part. TAMU, In terms of football, is a thud, an underachiever, and a loser especially given the size and resources. Besides no way, none, does the Texas Leg lets Aggy and Texas split off to the SEC and leave Tech a left over. I know you want it that way because Tech has pounded the crap out of TAMU for most of the last 20 years. Yea TAMU is great at all these ‘Parents in the Stands Sports” and who gives a damn. Its football that drives things. Remember TAMU was so far into the red that its athletic dept had to “get a loan” from the general fund just a few years ago. You guys are so full of bluster; And you haven’t done anything in 20 years. Hell Little Tech- enrollment 30,000 has owned Aggy head to head since modern times and you have 2.5 times the budget. If this was going on in 2008 or 2009 you would not be on the radar. One decent season and Aggy crawls out of the woodwork. And again when was the last time TAMU even won any kind of bowl. Well I know many years you didn’t even make one.
Old TrojanSeptember 2, 2011
The pac 12 will take Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, & Texas Tech. They will never take the schools you mentioned
AndrewAugust 3, 2011
I just want Maryland going to the Big Ten!!!
yearsagoAugust 3, 2011
The only reason that hte pac-12 would even think about tech and TCU is to get OU in the mix. If they are not even going to get OU, then it is pointless to get TCU and Tech. Besides how would the divisions look?
AndyAugust 3, 2011
Assuming UT, BYU, and Notre Dame stay independent
You’ve got the big prizes:
The medium prizes:
The Lesser prizes
Those potentially left out
The Pac 10 and the SEC will be in a bidding war for A&M and OU.
The ACC and Big Ten will be in a bidding war for the Rutgers/Syrcasuse/UConn block.
Possibility of Big Ten and SEC raiding the ACC at this point if the ACC is weak.
The ACC takes West Virginia, the Big Ten takes Missouri and/or Pitt if they have room.
The Big Ten should be a 16 teams by now.
If the SEC still has room (hasn’t raided the ACC) then they offer Missouri if available. If not then they would have to go after teams like Oklahoma State, Louisville, or TCU.
If the ACC isn’t full yet (probably because they’ve been raided), then they’re in a tough spot. They are limited by academics on who they can take, and the geography starts to get prohibitive. If they didn’t get raided they need between 0 and 3 schools at this point. If they were raided they’ll need more. There would be no viable options in the east. They might have to reach all the way out to schools like Kansas and TCU or take lesser schools like USF, Louisville and Cincinatti.
The Pac 10 is in a similar position, but with more options, although not good ones. They could take Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and if they’re lucky, maybe Missouri, but the geography is a real stretch. They could take BYU or TCU but they’ve shied away from taking religious schools.
Any gaps would have to be filled in by the pool of schools at risk of being left out.
My best guess at who each conference takes:
Left out: Cincinatti, USF
* = poor fit, could be left out and conference would not reach 16 schools.
I think it’s very likely that Texas and Notre Dame will not remain independent. If UT and ND decide to join the party for some reason, you get something along the lines of this:
(I could also see the Big Ten taking Pitt/Missouri/Kansas, with Rutgers/Syrcause/UConn going to the ACC)
(if Missouri is in the Big Ten I think the SEC may go for TCU to strengthen their market in Texas)
(If TCU is in the SEC, they may take Iowa State if only because ISU is very strong academically, and could pair with the Kansas schoolas and Louisville in the west.)
Left out: Cincinatti, USF, Iowa State, Baylor
* = poor fit, could be left out and conference would not reach 16 schools.
David KreutzAugust 3, 2011
As I mentioned above, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are more than likely a package deal. The legislature et al. aren’t going to let one be left on the outs and don’t likely want them to split conferences, they’ve been together for far too long at this point.
I think its also HIGHLY unlikely that NC State splits off from UNC, Duke, Wake Forest.
AndyAugust 3, 2011
Maybe OU and OSU couldn’t be split, I don’t know. It could be that if OSU is guaranteed a spot in the Pac 10 then OU could go to the SEC. If that’s not the case, then OU goes to the Pac 10. From what I’ve read, NC State is the odd-man-out in the UNC/Duke/NCSU rivalry, and wouldn’t mind leaving. If they can’t take NC State I think they just go for Clemson, even though it doesn’t open up a new market for them. Who would they take if they can’t get OU or Missouri in the west and they’re not able to pry anyone else away from the ACC? Texas Tech and/or TCU seem like good targets if they want to go all-in with Texas. But neither would be a huge get, so at that rate they could forget about Clemson/NC State and just take Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. At that point the Pac Ten might need to look to the Kansas schools to fill out their roster.
AndyAugust 3, 2011
The other scenario: Major ACC raids:
Big Ten takes:
ACC would need 9 new schools:
The conference could break down like this:
It would be an awkward league but they could probably make it work. Obviously the ACC needs to focus on keeping their members to avoid a situation like this. Their best move would be to grab up UConn, Syracuse, and Rutgers as soon as they can.
RichardAugust 3, 2011
OK, I usually like your posts, Kristi, but when it comes to expansion, you have to keep a few points in mind:
1. The top conferences (B10 and SEC) aren’t going to expand just for the sake of expansion. The additions have to generate at least enough money to pay for themselves and probably have to be additive.
2. The B10, core ACC schools, & Texas care about academics. Essentially, that means no SEC for them.
What that means is that we can easily rule out Rutgers, UConn, Syracuse, (or any other BE school) & Kansas to the B10 (yes, I think capturing the NYC market, unless they land ND, who will remain independent until I die, is an illusion). For one, if the B10 wanted those schools, they would have picked them up by now. There’s no imperative for the B10 to expand to 16 even if the SEC (and maybe even Pac) get there.
So what happens if TAMU goes to the SEC? Two things. We’ll see if the SEC and B10 can break apart the ACC.
1. If they don’t, the SEC likely picks up Mizzou to go with TAMU and stops there. I’ve heard that the SEC will not take OkSt. just to get OU, and I find that believable, because while OU is a top brand, OK is a small population state and taking OkSt. means shutting out the possibility of ever landing FSU or VTech.
The Pac, with not nearly as many top tier football brands as the SEC, may very well pick up the OK schools (and maybe even KU & TTech). Otherwise, the KS schools and TTech likely join the BE.
2. However, the SEC and B10 could very well break apart the ACC. After the BE gets their new TV deal, the ACC may very well have the lowest paying TV deal of the BCS conferences, with the B10 and SEC schools nearly doubling what the ACC school pull in (especially with B10 primary and secondary TV rights going on the market mid-decade, the B10 could very well more than double the ACC’s per school take in a few years). The B10 wants to expand south, where the football talent and population growth is (and few places have grown as much, supported by healthy economies, as opposed to real estate bubbles, as NC and the DC region). We know that the academic bluebloods of the old ACC (UNC, Duke, UVa, & Maryland) would turn their noses up at the SEC, but if the SEC successfully pulls off VTech or FSU, those four may very well join the B10, where they’d be a perfect fit academically, the basketball is the same level, the football is much better, and the TV money would be much better. The SEC may just add VTech to go along with TAMU, or they may take FSU (despite already being in the footprint because, since the SEC doesn’t have its own network, what gets money for them more than any of the other major conferences is brand and fan intensity, which FSU brings plenty of) as well as NCSU or Mizzou.
Mizzou may join the SEC, but I think the Pac will make a play for them as well, and after taking the OK schools and the promise of KU if Mizzou comes along, I think Mizzou would rather join their old Big8 compatriots in the new Pac16 East division, which would almost be like the old Big8, except shifted west (MU, KU, OU, OSU, CU + Utah, ASU, UA – UNL, ISU, KSU)
The weakness of the brands of the BE schools, ironically, may actually save it.
The remnants of the ACC would still make a pretty decent conference. With Miami, GTech, Clemson, Wake, & BC, they would have to add schools. They may get TTech (if the BE doesn’t) and can choose from the B12 remnants (Baylor, ISU, & KSU) as well as UCF, ECU, and Houston. They may even be able to steal TCU away from the BE if they manage to get a collection of Texas schools. With Texas independent and only TAMU in the SEC, the ACC may be able to claim to truly be the Texas conference if they can corral TTech, TCU, Baylor, and Houston (possibly with KSU & ISU).
What you would have in the end are 3 superconferences of 16 (SEC, B10, and Pac16) as well as 2 conferences that are distinctly below the top tier but may be allowed on to the BCS table for their votes (the BE and ACC, now standing for Atlantic Central Conference, split in to the Atlantic and Central divisions).
However, this is all fantasy because Texas isn’t letting TAMU escape to the SEC, no matter how much Aggie fans may want it.
AndyAugust 3, 2011
This is probably the optimal set up:
(reuniting CU with 4 high value former Big 8 members. Not a lot of options out west and these 5 would be happy to stick together.)
(Really the top 4 available options for them. North Carolina/Duke would be good too but it’s a geographic stretch and these would work just as well)
(If they want top football schools, and I think they do. Clemson and FSU overlap the SEC’s existing markets but are big enoogh draws to make it worth it)
North Carolina 4:
North Carolina State
South Eastern 3
Pittsburg Area 2
NY area 3
These are too geographically dispersed to easily create a 16 school super-conference conference, although it could be done. It would make more sense to keep the ACC/Big East hybrid at 12:
North Carolina State
Homeless schools to the west looking for a league:
Would they want to start a lesser conference for their non-revenue sports using some of the leftovers above?
Other targets to fill out a roster:
That’s 16 schools right there for a fifth conference if necessary.
RichardAugust 3, 2011
1. ND isn’t joining a conference for football. It just isn’t. Not if it wants to keep getting donations from alumni.
2. Nobody will leave UNC on the table. If they want to join the B10 or SEC (and they would, if the ACC gets decimated), either league would take them
3. I don’t understand why you think the NC schools are a stretch geographically considering that Durham to Columbus,OH is a shorter drive than Lincoln to Champaign,IL (and from Salt Lake City or Boulder to any of the original Pac10 schools is longer than either drive).
AndyAugust 3, 2011
I just meant that if it’s between UNC/Duke and Maryland/Virginia, MD/VA are closer. But if you take Notre Dame off the table then I think you take out BC as well and give those spots to UNC and Duke.
In this situation I think Notre Dame joins. The superconferences would create a defacto playoff, and ND would want in on it.
RichardAugust 3, 2011
IMHO, I think the Domers (specifically, the alums who donate money) would rather ND football become Army than give up independence.
PaulAugust 3, 2011
Only 2 posters on here talk about the “political angle’.. Do you think the Ok gov, Texas gov, or the Kan gov are going to let their BCS schools split. No way. Way to much money involved. Both Ok state and Texas Tech have had millions of dollar pumped into them in terms of expansion in the last decade. Texas’s Population has grown 3.5 to 4 million each decade for the last 20 years bring its population to around 26 million. This growth has to go to school somewhere. Texas and TAMU are 50,000 and capped and close to capped; and Tech is 30,000 projected to go to 40,000 by 2020 and be elevated from a High level research university to a National Research University joining UT and TAMU in that roll. Yes Aggie haters there are 7 other schools in the running but hate to break it you but Tech is far ahead in the race for funds and bench mark reforms. Football makes money The state of Texas needs that money to expand its university system. It has dropped millions into TTU Its not going to let anything happen to Tech or its investment and the same is true with Okie State. So lay aside all of your market assessment and BS. BTW there are Thousands and thousands of Tech alum and fans in the DFW market which is the 5th largest in the US. The PAC 10/12/16 would give its left ball for a piece of DFW.
RichardAugust 3, 2011
If push comes to shove, I think Kansas will sacrifice KSU to save KU rather than consign both of them to the BE (or worse).
I think Boone Picken’s money and influence is enough to tie OSU to OU, which is why I think the Pac is more likely for the OK schools than the SEC if the B12 implodes.
however. . .
I agree that Texas politicans won’t let TAMU leave in the first place, making all this moot. Not only because of the negative impact on TTech and Baylor, but because the Longhorns probably have the most influence in that state, and there’s no way they’d want to allow the SEC access to Texas.
Bottom line: Texas, TTech, and Baylor don’t want TAMU to leave. TAMU is heavily outnumbered, no matter what the Aggie fanbase wants.
VincentAugust 4, 2011
Academics, athletics, politics and overall fit have to be considered in this context. The three most secure conferences are the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 (the first two mainly for finances, the last for geography). The Big 12 is volatile, the ACC a lackluster football brand and the Big East a clumsy hybrid with relatively little value.
Therefore, my assumption is that the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 hold the cards and will survive, with the ACC surviving in altered form, the Big East surviving as a non-football conference with its basketball core and the Big 12 joining the Southwest in conference oblivion..
I see these additions:
Big Ten — Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Duke. The core of the ACC, schools far more attractive as academic/athletic fits to the Big Ten than anything the Big East can offer. Additionally, the mid-Atlantic area is booming and provides a potential complement to the struggling midwest, and the Big Ten gets schools that have won five of the last 11 NCAA men’s basketball titles.
SEC — Missouri, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and N.C. State. Four new states, the SEC gets into Texas at last, and the latter two give their states complements to UVa and UNC joining the Big Ten. With the SEC football brand, NCSU can reposition itself against its two blue Research Triangle rivals.
Pac-12 — Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas. Yes, the Pac-12 would prefer Austin to Lubbock, but as long as Texas thinks it’s bigger than the game, it won’t happen. And T. Boone Pickens’ $ enables Okie State to piggyback onto OU, whereas K-State doesn’t have that luxury. The Pac adds both a football and basketball brand name and gets a footprint east of the Continental Divide.
Under this scenario, the ACC is suddenly left with six members — Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. So it looks to replenish itself via the Big East (the more things change, the more they stay the same), taking in Syracuse, Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville and Texas Christian. (Academically, WVU and Louisville probably wouldn’t pass muster in the old ACC, but this is essentially a new conference.) That’s 14; if ACC 2.0 is to add two more members, who goes in? You have several possible candidates — South Florida (which FSU and Miami might not favor, and the same holds true for Central Florida); Baylor (TCU might object, just as it probably would any of the Conference USA Texas members); Memphis (doubtful); East Carolina (unlikely). I’m going to make members #15 and #16 Iowa State and Kansas State, which have more to offer in resources and fan support.
So who are the leftovers (not counting Notre Dame and non-BCS Brigham Young, which remain independent, and Texas, which becomes one)? USF and Baylor. The latter could wind up in the Mountain West, the former back in C-USA, perhaps with an agreement that for taking them in, both leagues get more BCS money and more favorable bowl arrangements (not automatic BCS berths, but someplace higher on the totem pole).
dunstvangeetAugust 4, 2011
Here’s the way I see it…
First off, the SEC starts it with taking Texas A&M. They then poach 3 schools from the ACC, with Virginia Tech probably being at the top of their list (Washington D.C. market, baby!) I’m going to say Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Clemson. To even the divisions, they throw Kentucky over to the Western Division.
SEC Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Alabama, Auburn
The ACC reacts by getting Army and Navy. They then add in 5 more teams from the Big East, focusing on moving north to sure up the Northern division. Syracuse, and Pittsburgh, however, go to the Big Ten.
ACC – Florida St., Miami, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Carolina St., Duke, Wake Forest, Army, Navy, Boston College, Connecticut, Rutgers, Maryland, Cincinnati, Louisville
Notre Dame, seeing the Big East break up, goes over to the Big Ten and forces them to expand. They then add Missouri, Syracuse and Pittsburgh to make 16. What’s even more amazing is that for the first time 20 years, the Big Ten finally learns to count, and renames themselves the Big-16.
BIG-16 – Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan St., Ohio St., Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Penn St.
The PAC-12 adds the 4 schools they were looking at after Texas realizes that they have no place to play their non-football sports, and drop the Longhorn Network. They, as a result, make actually more in the PAC-16 than they would as an independent.
PAC-16 – Washington, Washington St., Oregon, Oregon St., Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona St., Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas, Texas Tech.
The Mountain West becomes an AQ after the Fiesta Bowl realizes that they do not have a partner. As a result, BYU and TCU rejoin the Mountain West. They then add Hawaii as a full member, and then go with Utah St., and picks up Kansas, Kansas St., and Baylor from the old Big-12.
MWC – Hawaii, San Diego St., Fresno St., Boise St., Nevada, UNLV, Utah St., BYU, Colorado, Airforce, Wyoming, New Mexico, TCU, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas St.
BigTenFanAugust 4, 2011
In a super conference climate there will be no independents. Period.
The reason the real power brokers want to move to a super conference model is to squeeze out the mid majors. They’ll do this by essentially going to a model of Big Ten (16) Vs. PAC 16 in the Rose, SEC (16) Vs. ACC (16 – but left overs after both the Big 10 & SEC Raid it) in the Sugar and the two winners of those games play off for a national title.
If Notre Dame or Texas or whoever is unwilling to play ball with that, they’ll be left behind. That is why last summer, when you started to hear of the super conference dominoes falling, there were some pretty credible sources stating that ND was in heated talks with the Big Ten. ND will be in a conference if super conferences ever come to pass.
For the BIg Ten specifically, expansion to 16 won’t happen until ND is forced to join a conference – which will happen when either A.) The Big East folds due to being raided (and thus, ND has no where to go for its non revenue sports) or B.) The BCS super conferences begin forming.
Until the Big Ten feels confident they can acquire ND, it will never expand beyond 12. Once that becomes possible though, the conference will go after the schools that will solidify the BTN in major markets/nationally.
The problem with Syracuse/Rutgers is that they simply don’t deliver anything. Just because they have proximity to NYC doesn’t mean they’ll ever be able to provide market penetration there. Hell, the Yankee Network isn’t even on basic cable in NYC (as I understand it), there is absolutely NO chance the BTN will ever be on basic cable there. Further, the TV ratings for adding Syracuse/Rutgers simply wouldn’t be that good either. They simply don’t have a strong enough following to generate strong enough TV numbers to make the conference money in an expansion to 16.
The schools that do, however, would be Duke/UNC/UVA/ND. UNC/Duke/ND are obviously HUGE schools with a very large national following. Adding two strong basketball schools (and all around strong athletic schools) is huge for the BTN because it provides inventory for programming during the non football season. Basketball ratings on the BTN would skyrocket when Duke/UNC played there, which would drive up advertising revenue greatly. Further, adding three national brand names like Duke/UNC/ND would provide the Big Ten with some leverage to renegotiate their rate for subscribers outside of the BTN’s footprint – which could bring millions of dollars to the conference.
North Carolina is currently a state with a population of 9 million, however, it is growing rapidly. By 2030 it is projected to have a population of 12 million. Virginia is in the same boat – it is currently sitting right at 8 million in population, however, by 2030 it is projected to be right around 10 million. Adding those two populous states would be HUGE for the BTN. Adding UVA/Duke/UNC would fit perfectly with the CIC/Big Ten academically due to their large research endowments.
You may be asking, “Why bring UVA?” Obviously Duke/UNC would have to get a pretty sweet deal in order to leave the ACC, as they are charter members of that conference. I don’t foresee them leaving without UVA to come along – UVA/UNC is the oldest football game in the south, that is a deep rivalry that neither school would ever like to see severed. Furthermore, as mentioned, VA is a large and growing state, though I do question the market penetration offered by UVA. UVA would also make the conference more geographically contiguous – if you added NC/VA, only the small stated of Maryland would separate the conference from being entirely geographically contiguous.
Kristi DoshAugust 4, 2011
There are lots of great comments here! I hope to have time later today to comment on some. This turned out to be a really fun exercise! Thank you to everyone who participated.
VincentAugust 4, 2011
Much of the earlier talk about Big East schools going to the Big Ten was based on the assumption that ACC members were not in play, an assumption I deem erroneous largely because of the ACC’s poor (heck, virtually nonexistent) football brand. Big Ten presidents, who had to be a bit embarrassed by having the University of Nebraska lose its membership in the Association of American Universities soon after it accepted a Big Ten invitation, would be able to compensate for that by adding Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Duke, four solid academic institutions that would complement the research component of Big Ten members. All four are regularly in the top 25 of Sears Cup (or whatever they call it now) rankings, stronger than anything the Big East could offer. For the ACC four, they would suddenly have the Big Ten football cachet, which would strengthen them both at the gate and competitively. (For a similar example of what membership in the right conference can do, check out former ACC member South Carolina, whose mediocre football program reached new heights as part of the SEC.) And being in the well-off Big Ten would help a struggling athletic department such as Maryland’s.
dj1972August 4, 2011
For those suggesting a core group of 4 ACC schools abandoning the ACC for another conference: UNC and NC State are NOT separating…not now, not ever. They are both part of the overall UNC system, and are bound together both in administration and in the halls of the state capitol. Wherever UNC goes, State must go with it. End of story.
VincentAugust 4, 2011
I certainly see your point, and I could see State subbing for Duke in an ACC-to-Big Ten move. NCSU has benefited as much from the boom in the Research Triangle as its cohorts in Chapel Hill and Durham, and will probably be an AAU member some years from now. It also has far better football potential than Duke does (Duke has a better history in the sports, but has done relatively little the past half-century).
If State goes to the Big Ten, I would expect Duke to be part of my reconstituted ACC cited above; it would still have several private schools comparable in size as rivals. The SEC would then probably pursue Florida State, whether Florida liked it or not.
DrewAugust 4, 2011
Love the writeup. I think both Oklahoma and Oklahoma St go west to the PAC12. While the academics might not be there, they have more in common with the PAC12 schools and would need the fertile So Cal recruiting grounds if they are not playing Texas schools on a annual basis. Plus there are so many Sooner alums in North Texas, it helps the PAC12 in the DFW television market. What it also adds would give the PAC12 the following venues for conference championship games.
University of Phoenix Stadium
Invesco Field (denver)
Quest Field (seattle)
It also means the possibility that 3 BCS bowls reside in PAC12 cities (rose bowl, fiesta bowl, cowboys stadium should a 5th BCS bowl be added). They’d have quite a bit of power behind the scenes.
OwenAugust 4, 2011
Something no one else has mentioned regarding Boise State (BSU) and the Pac 12 is that Washington State no longer brings much to the table except academics. Their athletic programs are bad, at best. Their facilities don’t measure up to others in the conference. They are geographically isolated (teams have to fly into Spokane and bus down to Pullman). Politically, I don’t know how much clout WSU has in Olympia (Washington state capitol) but I have a feeling that if it means allocating more money to WSU to keep it in the Pac 12, or not funding it and letting WSU go the MWC, the decision will be to let WSU lose its Pac 12 affiliation and simply blame it on the economy. To put it another way, I don’t think WSU has all that much political clout clear across the state in Olympia and I don’t think the Pac 12 as a conference would shed many tears if WSU dropped out.
Dropping Wazzu and adding BSU to the Pac 12 wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine IF BSU spends the money necessary to upgrade itself academically. They will do that if they can see that Pac 12 membership becoming reality. Politically, BSU is the darling of the State of Idaho – the BSU campus is just down the street from the State Capitol (where all of the politicians hang out) and they have proven they can and will get things done. (The University of Idaho in Moscow [just 9 miles east of Pullman, WA – home to WSU] is just barely hanging on as a FBS school and Idaho State University, clear across the state in Pocatello and an FCS school, is an after thought in Boise). Boise as a city has a ‘can do’ approach to things and the people on the BSU campus do as well. BSU has not come all this way to settle for playing in the MWC or some similar conference while watching the Pac 12 on tv every week. Do not be at all surprised to see BSU in the Pac 12 within the next 3-5 years. The state ‘powers that be’ will see to it that BSU has the money it needs to upgrade itself academically if that is really the only hurdle between them and the Pac 12. Also, Boise is a much bigger market than Pullman, Washington so for those who want to consider market size, that also is against WSU in this scenario.
Comparing WSU and BSU head to head favors BSU in just about every category there is, present academic situation excepted. That can and will be remedied in fairly short order if it means Pac 12 membership for BSU.
VincentAugust 4, 2011
WSU has made a pair of Rose Bowl appearances in the past 15 years, more than several other conference members. It also has had occasional NCAA basketball tournament appearances and a tradition as a big-time school. It’s next to impossible for a conference to jettison a member for something that doesn’t involve repeated NCAA rules violations, and I don’t see the Pac-12 doing that to Washington State. If Boise State can upgrade itself as an institution, perhaps the conference will take it in as part of an expansion to 16 teams, but it won’t kick WSU out to bring BSU in.
RichardAugust 4, 2011
WSU in the Pac is a historical accident. That doesn’t mean the Pac will drop WSU (for one depsite being clear across the state, I’m sure WSU has enough political pull in Washington), and they certainly won’t add Boise. Boise isn’t competing with WSU. If the Pac has open slots (regardless of whether they drop WSU or not, and it’s not going to happen), Boise would be competing with OU, OkSt., TTech, KU, and Mizzou.
allthatyoucantleavebehindAugust 5, 2011
I don’t think four is the magic number, although it obviously is a nice easy choice.
I think each conference does have enough. I’ve done extensive work on how i see this breaking down. Check it out and let me know what you think. Amazingly, some things have already started in motion since I wrote it three months ago. I’m not saying I’m Nostradamus…I’m just saying. 🙂
Randall.August 5, 2011
To read my take on super conferences, click the following link — http://therandallstreetjournal.tumblr.com/post/8438720904/super-conferences-my-take-cc-sportsbizmiss-cfb
OwenAugust 5, 2011
Well, time will tell, I guess.
It’s very timely that the lead story of SI.com’s college football web page today, posted earlier this morning, speaks to the Pac-12’s possible future expansion plans. Here’s the link:
The title of the article is “Hold the parade, Pac 12 no longer in plum realignment position”.
Given the overall premise here that the Pac 12 appears to have limited expansion opportunities, that would appear to me to give BSU even more ‘juice’ when it comes to the future of the Pac 12 and BSU’s future place there.
The thing to remember here is college football is now BIG, HUGE business, and therefore is all about one thing, first and foremost: M-O-N-E-Y! I continue to believe conference affiliations will be based primarily on money and BSU brings more to the table financially than WSU can or will. Someone said WSU has been to a couple of Rose Bowls in the past 15 years. Yes, that’s true – in 1997 and 2002, both losses. And they have won 16 games in the past 5 years, 2 of those against FCS schools. BSU has been to two BCS bowls in the past five years (Fiesta Bowl twice), and done very well, winning both. Their record the past five years is 61-5, with three of those wins against FCS schools. In our ‘what have you done lately’ world, the difference is glaring.
Yes, WSU made a couple of men’s bb NCAA tournament fields in the past few years, courtesy of the father and son Bennetts. They are gone (Father Dick retired and son Tony took over. As soon as he had a couple of decent years, he left the Pac 10 for the ACC) and so is the short-lived bb success. Also, BSU hosted first and second round NCAA men’s tournament games for several years, proving that the NCAA sees their basketball arena (and that market) as being worthy of hosting games at that level. BSU has also been the host of the Humanitarian Bowl (now the Idaho Famous Potatoes Bowl or something like that), once again proving they have the facilities and market to successfully host such a game. WSU has never done either of those things, let alone both, and never will.
When push comes to shove, money will be the decision maker, not tradition or academics or anything else. BSU brings more to the table than WSU – I have nothing against WSU or for BSU, it’s just the way things are. As far as a conference dismissing a member, that’s easy: all the conference has to do is implement certain financial standards on all of it’s member schools’ athletic departments and if a school doesn’t measure up, it’s out. As the linked article above discusses, divvying up the pieces of the financial pie within conferences is what it is all about and it appears to me the days of a WSU being allowed by the Pac 12 to carry less than it’s full financial weight are declining rapidly.
Sorry to be to cynical but that’s what I see college football being now days – a money machine. If you doesn’t bring enough of it to the table relative to other schools, you are gone and another school is in. I wish I was wrong about that but I don’t think I am.
RichardAugust 5, 2011
Yep, college sports is all about the money, and you know what, TTech, OkSt., KU, and Mizzou (and of course OU) all would bring the Pac more money than Boise, so even if WSU is kicked out (not happening), Boise’s not getting an invite to the Pac.
RichardAugust 5, 2011
BTW, in the Wilner article linked to by the SI article you linked:
“Boise State? Please. If the conference had any interest in the Broncos, it would have pursued them last summer. (BSU doesn’t bring enough TV sets, doesn’t cut the mustard academically and doesn’t have a Pac-caliber broad-based athletic program.”
…all of which are valid points.
VincentAugust 5, 2011
Were on-field football success the sole criteria, East Carolina would probably be a member of the ACC.
Common SenseAugust 5, 2011
SEC dances to their own beat, so they go to 14 with A&M & Florida St and sit tight w/ SEC “culture” additions.
ACC replaces Florida St w/ South Florida, and adds UConn, Syracuse, Pitt & WVU (can split divisions north/south at VA/NC border).
PAC is where Texas wanted to be when Big XII formed & again last year, so they take OU, OSU and TT with them out west.
BI6 TEN grabs Kansas, Missouri, Rutgers and Notre Dame (who finally gives up & joins), now they can split East/West at the IL/IN border).
Done, done, done & done. L’ville gets screwed along with Cincy, K-State, Iowa St, & Baylor but can join up w/ Hou, Memphis, UCF and reform a nice C-USA.
VincentAugust 5, 2011
1. Virginia Tech would be easier for the SEC to pry than Florida State, and would involve fewer headaches from the U. of Florida.
2. West Virginia, a rare Tier 3 flagship, isn’t a good academic fit for the ACC as it stands now. The only way WVU goes to the ACC is if it’s decimated, with its core members going to the Big Ten. And that leads to…
3. Why would the Big Ten take Missouri now when it didn’t last year, or Kansas for that matter? Moreover, the Big Ten would prefer to take from the ACC (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and either N.C. State or Duke) rather than the much weaker Big East. And…
4. Notre Dame will join a conference only when it has no other choice, and that isn’t the case now. And with Texas wanting to keep independence as a viable option in case the Big 12 falls apart, ND won’t have to.
Inert1August 5, 2011
Houston fits the Pac 1? profile better than any other school in Texas other than Texas and Texas A&M. It is a public research university with decent facilities. I see the Oklahoma schools, Houston, and ideally someone in the Dallas market, possibly SMU.
mattyAugust 9, 2011
As a huge college football fan and Virginia Tech alum, the following would be the best option for a 4 team “super conference” structure. It is the most efficient in terms of geography – both team travel and media markets. Although I must admit, this alignment would only strengthen the SEC’s claim as the most dominant football conference in America, I think it also proves to make the other “super” conferences stronger.
As far as academics (looking your way ACC/Pac 10), when the ACC expanded in the past it accepted both Virginia Tech and Miami. I’m sure the ACC “blue blood” schools like Duke, UNC and UVA didn’t like it but did get Boston College in the process, economics trumps academics in my model; allowing schools such as Cincinnati and WVU into the ACC along with Syracuse which should appease the snobs. Out west, Boise State and Kansas State are allowed to join the Pac-10. This is big time college football, not a the Princeton Review rankings of America’s best colleges and universities.
For the purposes of this expansion, BYU is the only remaining Independent football school in Division 1-A. Notre Dame is forced to join the Big Ten (16) and Texas unwillingly is pushed into the SEC. This alignment could still work if Texas, Notre Dame, Boise St. opt out and go the Independent route although I think the economic pressure to join one of the big boys would be too great. If not, simply substitute a school that just missed the cut – for example, Connecticut to the Big Ten instead of Notre Dame.
Also, inter-division rivalries will be protected, allowing Ohio State/Michigan, Miami/Va Tech, Michigan St./Penn State, Oregon/USC to continue to play annually.
As far as BCS berths are concerned, each conference champion earns an automatic selection to a BCS bowl and the remaining spots will at-large bids (highest remaining BCS ranking, etc.) However, the Rose Bowl still gets a Big Ten/Pac 10 champion matchup if possible and the Sugar Bowl will get an ACC/SEC champion matchup.
BIG TEN — Championship Game @ Soldier Field, Chicago
Schembechler Division Hayes Division
Michigan Ohio State
Michigan State Penn State
Notre Dame Missouri
SEC — Championship Game @ Georgia Dome, Atlanta
East Division West Division
Vanderbilt South Carolina
Ole Miss Oklahoma
Mississippi State Texas
Alabama Oklahoma State
Auburn Texas A&M
ACC — Championship Game @ Charlotte, NC
UNC Virginia Tech
NC State Georgia Tech
Wake Forest Maryland
Clemson Boston College
Florida State Cincinnati
Syracuse West Virginia
PAC 10 (16) — Championship Game @ Best Record
Stanford Washington St.
UCLA Oregon St.
Arizona Boise St.
Arizona St. TCU
Utah Kansas State
VincentAugust 10, 2011
Don’t see your scenario happening for a number of reasons:
1. Academics are important to conferences, particularly the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC. You can scream all days till the cows come home, but Berkeley and Stanford won’t allow Boise State past the Pac-12 gate. (Baylor and Brigham Young wouldn’t make the cut either, primarily for cultural reasons.) West Virginia is one of the weaker flagship universities out there (a Tier 3 institution, as are Louisville and Cincinnati), and the only way all three get in the ACC is if that conference itself drastically changes. More on that later.
2. There is a conference pecking order. The Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 are currently on the top tier, with the Big 12 and ACC on a lower rung and the Big East far below that. Its only members that are realistic candidates for joining a top-tier conference are West Virginia for the SEC and Rutgers for the Big Ten; if they aren’t chosen, they likely join their Big East brethren in new conferences blended with ACC and Big 12 remnants. And geography probably requires the Pac-12 to become the Pac-16 only by picking off the Big 12.
3. Economics are crucial in this environment, which is why the wealth of the Big Ten and SEC (and the likely wealth of the Pac-12) make them safe harbors for struggling universities. For example, Maryland may be a charter member of the ACC, but its athletic department is heavily in the red, largely because it’s in a conference whose football brand is minimal at best. If the Big Ten came calling, with not only its football brand but a powerhouse network and an academic consortium comprised of some of America’s top land-grant universities — schools Maryland sees as peers — College Park officials would leave the ACC in a heartbeat. Same thing with your Gobblers and the SEC. (And remember, had it not been for Mark Warner, Tech might still be a Big East member and Syracuse would be part of the ACC.)
So the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 will pick and choose, with the SEC having the most options because of geography and its relative low priority on research and other academic factors where conference activities are concerned. And if you’re Jim Delany, why would you choose Missouri or Rutgers if you could take in the core of the ACC — Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and either N.C. State or Duke? If they went to the Big Ten, and the SEC picked off Virginia Tech and a second ACC member, the ACC would then be forced to take in the likes of Louisville, Cincinnati and WVU in order to replenish.
TimAugust 11, 2011
Kristi-Why not Rutgers & Syracuse to the ACC? Wouldn’t they be a good fit.
Curtis GAugust 18, 2011
I doubt there is any way that the Pac 12 will take TCU (Texas Christian University). They have made it very clear that they do not want to bring in any universities that are traditionally based around a religion. This was very clear last year when they discussed BYU and Baylor.
ThomasAugust 21, 2011
That’s not correct. BYU doesn’t play on Sunday, but the Pac 12 does (basketball, etc.) That’s what left them out. And Baylor was never even considered to join the conference.
ThomasAugust 21, 2011
I’m in favor of the super conferences and the playoff system. And I’m confident that it IS going to happen. The sooner the better!
dude you are misguidedSeptember 3, 2011
Even as a UofL fan… I think any objective observer who is leaving Louisville “out cold” is merely demonstrating that they have a poor grasp of the current college landscape.
dude you are misguidedSeptember 3, 2011
For further clarification, your point about academics is well-taken. However, the business side of these decisions comes down to dollars whether anyone admits it or not. In the end, from a money perspective, Louisville is already too good of a prospect to be passed over.
Nate SheltonSeptember 3, 2011
What is all this talk about Cincinnati not having a good academics program? Here are some national rankings for the 2011-12 school year:
top 10 engineering program overall
top 5 regional law school
best performing arts school in the county (better than Julliard)
top 10 Business school
#3 most beautiful campus in the WORLD (2009)
also has 43,000 students…15th largest in the country
the problem I’m guessing is that it is much easier to get accepted to Cincinnati than schools such as some B10 and AC schools, but overall, UC has better rankings than most schools in the country regardless of acceptance rates.
DWSeptember 8, 2011
OK if we are looking at four super conferences the one conference that will implode will be the ACC, The Big East will remain a Basketball Super Conference (24 teams, 4 Divisions)and add from the ACC and 1 team from Conference USA. The 4 Divisions would be North, South, East and West.
jimboSeptember 9, 2011
check it out…
WEST: wash, wash state, oregon, oregon state, cal, stanford, usc, ucla, az, az state, utah, colorado, texas, texas tech, okla, and okla state
SOUTH: lsu, arkansas, miss, miss state, bama, auburn, florida, georgia, south car, tennessee, kentucky, vandy, texas a&m, baylor, florida state, and clemson
NORTH: wisconsin, minnesota, iowa, nebraska, illinois, northwestern, michigan, michigan state, inidiana, purdue, ohio state, penn state, notre dame, west virginia, kansas, and mizzou
EAST: miami, south florida, georgia tech, north carolina, nc state, duke, virginia, virginia tech, maryland, pitt, syracuse, rutgers, uconn, boston college, cincy, and louisville
dustinSeptember 25, 2011
Big 10 adds mizzu, notre dame (also allowing them some independence), pitt and drumrole.. Kansas
SEC adds fsu, tx, a&m, vt
Pack add boise, tcu, ou and osu
Acc and whats left of the big east will combine to find their cream of the crop..
Formation of a new possibly swc for those remaining out
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Boise was invited to cling to AQ & SDSU got in on their coattails. With AQ disappearing, the Big East is bringing back Temple. They may eventually add Villanova & UMass. They are becoming a regional hoops-first conference again. And the Big East is not afraid to expel teams. This does not bode well for SDSU or Boise.
The western wing of the Big East had better consider its options, including a return to the MWC or independence. Boise will never get a fair valuation from the conferences. ESPN loves them, so they may try to make indy work. Hawaii is almost already indy, with the MWC refusing to take their oly sports. Even if Army & Navy go Big East, AFA could count on regular Commander Cup games. Add BYU for a 4 team late-season scheduling alliance among western football independents.
SDSU might be a decent 5th. UCLA/Cal snobbery will keep them out of the PAC forever. Ironically, SDSU’s snobbery prevents affiliation with Fresno. But the Aztecs are not particularly disadvantaged by joining with a conference. SDSU may be better off joining up again with basketball powers UNLV & New Mexico. Colorado State & Wyoming have the resources to compete in all sports. IMHO, Nevada could emerge as a solid program.
My guess at the 4 16 team conferences is essentially a north, east, south & west conference.The MWC & its predecessor (WAC) have already been absorbed by the PAC. The Big 8 was absorbed into the SWC & renamed the Big 12.The Big 12 will continue to be smashed & divided among the rest of the conferences.
If I were king, conference realignment would have played out like this:
Midwestern Conference – Great Lakes division (old Big 10) & Great Plains Division (old Big 8)
Atlantic Conference – Mid-Atlantic division (old ACC) & Northeast division (old Big East)
Southern Conference – Western division (old SWC) & Eastern division (old SEC)
Pacific Conference – Coastal Division (old PAC) & Rocky division (old MWC)
Coastal: Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, OSU, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA (NV schools?)
Rocky: Wazzu, Boise, Utah, BYU, Arizona, ASU, Colorado, CSU (NM schools? UTEP?)
Southwest: Arky, LSU, Texas, aTm, TCU, Baylor, Tech, SMU (Houston? Rice?)
Southeast: Ole Miss, Miss St, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, USCe, Georgia, Florida (Kentucky? Vandy?)
Mid-Atlantic: Virginia, Maryland, UNC, NCSU, Clemson, GT, FSU, Miami (Duke? Wake?)
Northeast: VT, WVU, Pitt, Penn, Rutgers, ‘Cuse, BC, UConn (Louie?)
Great Lakes: Minnesota, Sconnie, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, OSU, Michigan, MSU (Northwestern? Notre Dame?)
Great Plains: Iowa, ISU, Nebraska, Kansas, KSU, Mizzou, Oklahoma, OSU (Tulsa?)
I’ve kicked out some of the legacy schools, mostly small private schools that can’t fill a stadium. Maybe they can follow ND & the academies into independence.
Might argue over whether Houston deserves to be in over SMU. Same with Louie/’Cuse or USF/BC.
Kentucky deserves to be in. Maybe the Southern Conference gives a team to the Atlantic Conference, which then bumps ‘Cuse or BC into indy. Or Kentucky could go straight to the Atlantic.
The geography would be cleaner if FSU & Miami could join the Southern Conference & Georgia & USCe went to the Atlantic Conference.
I shifted Wazzu away from its “home” to the Rocky division but no biggie. They’d still be in the same “superconference” as their old PAC mates. Same goes for LSU being bumped to the Southwest division. I also might swap VT & Maryland for cleaner geography.
William LansdaleNovember 25, 2012
Bigger seems to be the way the big schools are headed, and it is beginning to look like one day soon it will get to that point. It may be where there will be just four mega conferences: Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC, and Big 12 most stable of that group, that will consist of at least 16 schools each, possibly more, and will be playing at the top level. All other schools will be dropped to another subdivision.