With all the talk and all the theories out there about the end of times conference realignment, I decided I’d try and wade through the realignment from the BCS conference perspective.
Everyone sees the Big Ten as the lynchpin to the entire realignment cycle. I don’t disagree. However, I do believe that it would be naïve to think that most schools don’t have a contingency plan in place or aren’t forming one right now.
So let’s start! I went of the idea that the Big Televen decides to expand to 16 teams. After trying hard to get Notre Dame, they say to Hell with them and go for Mizzou, Nebraska, Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse in a scr*w you move to the Irish:
Big 16 (old Big Televen)
By selecting those teams, it gives the conference a nice balance east and west and creates some natural rivalries (IA/Mizzou/Nebby/Illinois would certainly be a passionate division… or a bunch of drunks… your choice.) It also gives the conference great breadth and allows them access to major eastern markets. Built for football, the conference would also field a nice men’s basketball set as well.
The Big Televen’s move starts to force the hands of the other conferences and puts contingency plans in motion. As has been reported, the SEC is looking at its options and a very plausible (to me anyway) scenario has been floated on here. Texas, Oklahoma, OK State and aTm are invited to the SEC. The last two are brought at the beheast of the respective states in order to get Texas and OU. The SEC would move to a sixteen team format just like the Big Televen, dominating the southern US and creating a fantastic football conference with solid basketball (men’s and women’s) with the keys to most major southern markets:
Again, the breakdown creates some natural rivalries in each division by grouping state schools together while keeping traditional powers as spread out as possible. Both the East and West divisions would be quite entertaining with OU/UT and Georgia/Florida battling for top dog.
With the departure of half of the Big 12, Colorado would quickly accept a life raft from the Pac 10 as they expand to the Pac 14:
While not as flashy as the SEC and (now) Big 16, the Pac 14 expansion would allow for a championship game while bringing in the Las Vegas and Denver markets along with quality teams like Nevada (bball) and Boise State (football) (Idaho gets drug along because the options are limited and it doesn’t sound the like the Pac 10 is real interested in Utah/BYU). The poor stepsister of the conference becomes Idaho, but with time and proper revenue sharing, things could (and should) improve.
Seeing the epic destruction of the Big 12, former Big East schools start to sweat. South Florida would want no part of a juxtaposed conference that leaves in the isolated post of the conference. Instead, South Florida jumps ship to the ACC which would invite West Virginia as well (regional rival, great teams, etc). To keep up with its SEC and Big 16 neighbors, the ACC pulls up UCF and Southern Miss from mid major conferences to form a 16 team conference of its own (remember, the Big East did this the last time around by plucking C-USA to pieces):
With conference realignment coming hot and fast, certain schools are left in the cold. Most importantly, Notre Dame. After rebuffing the Big Televen and watching the SEC pluck the best of the Big 12 to fill its line up, Notre Dame finds itself in a less than desirable situation. Remaining independent is no longer a viable option with the Big 16 and Pac 14 filling in what had once been much of the Irish’s schedule. Observing the field, Notre Dame sees 5 former Big 12 schools, UCONN, Cincy and Louisville from the Big East and a boat load of mid major teams from conferences that are quickly finding themselves snacks for the “BCS.”
What forms from the ashes of the Big 12 and East is:
Old Big 12/ Big East (we’ll call it the National Conference for now)
By pulling in Memphis, Utah, Tulsa, and BYU, the “National Conference” (read: Notre Dame) makes the best of the situation. The conference is by no means the football powerhouse, Texas, BYU, Utah, Notre Dame are no football slouches. K State, ISU, Louisville and the rest are an obvious second tier but likely more competitive in such a conference. Very importantly, Notre Dame would likely be ok with the conference because it becomes the “driving” school. A conference football title (and the auto BCS slot) would not only be attainable for the Irish every year, but it would be expected. Where the Old Big 8 had both OU and Nebby, the new conference would likely see Notre Dame and Cincy rise to the top creating a stronger football north than south (shocking!). While I doubt that the revenue sharing would be great, beggars certainly can’t be choosers and the former Big 12 schools would happily go along with the plan. The conference would have a hefty regional footprint with East Coast, Rust Belt, Chicago, OKC, KC and Salt Lake markets plus Notre Dame and BYU’s national followings. A deal with the Pac 14 could still be formed to make an extremely powerful network that would dwarf the Big 16 in regional coverage.
While football would be less that desirable, a powerful basketball conference. UCONN, Cincy, Louisville, Notre Dame, Memphi, KU, Iowa State, Utah, and BYU all bring at least some basketball prowess to the court. Much like the current Big East, The “National Conference” would be built on a basketball foundation.
While it’s fun to make up scenario’s such as this Apocalypse Now idea, I doubt it will go down exactly like this. I do think this would benefit Iowa State, bumping them into the top half of a BCS conference rather than the bottom while maintaining regional rivalries against BCS schools (read: as little MWC as possible). This doesn’t address the fallout for the MWC, MAC, C-USA etc. There would be a mess at the bottom like all domino effects. I could see the non football Big East schools (Marquette, De Paul, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, and Villinova) keeping the name and pulling in some A10 or CUSA schools to make their own all basketball conference. The fallout from this is endless!
Just my 2 cents. I’m sure I have some things way off, but it’s just an idea. Have fun!