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Realignment Proposal

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If we really want to change the landscape, here's an idea. Combine the Big 12 and SEC, the Big 10 and ACC, and Expand the Pac 10 to 12 teams. Here's how a realigned arrangement might work.

B12/SEC Combo:


Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt


Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss St.


Texas, A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, OU, Baylor


Nebraska, Notre Dame/Mizzou, Kansas, K State, Okie St., Iowa St.

B10/ACC Combo:


Va Tech, North Carolina, NC State, Maryland, Virginia, Boston College


Penn State, Michigan, Michigan St., Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana


Florida State, Miami, Ga. Tech, Clemson, Duke, Wake Forest


Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Notre Dame/Missouri

Pac 12


Oregon, Oregon St, Washington, Wash St., Colorado, +1 (my suggestion is Boise St., BYU or Utah)


USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona St.

In this scenario, Notre Dame would have to select between one of the two mega conferences with Missouri as the interchangeable part. Colorado (now in Pac 12) was replaced by TCU. I combined the ACC & Big 10, instead of ACC/SEC due to academic considerations. The ACC would bring much more to the Big 10 in that vein than either the SEC or Big 12. Texas may feel they are a standard bearer, but Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, UNC, and Ga Tech rank higher. This would hopefully make it easier for the University Presidents to buy in. I did break up OU and OSU, which may or may not make sense, but I wanted to make the North division (Big12/SEC) more competitive, and an annual meeting could be resolved by the playing schedule, which I'll lay out shortly.

The Pac 12 may appear to be slighted, but there's a practical consideration for TV revenue and proximity (and why the Pac10/Big 12 alignment doesn't make great sense to me). First, late night weekend viewing is not optimal for commercial sponsors seeking national audiences. Compelling games will always draw an audience regardless of time (USC/Texas), but TV contracts aren't just about the marquee matchups. Proximity of travel is also an issue. Austin to Seattle and College Station to San Fran is much farther than Lincoln (Neb) to Gainesville, or Lubbock to Columbia (SC). And while Minneapolis to Miami is a trek (no longer than Collie Station to San Fran), you at least don't have conferences separated by large time zone changes (PST/CST), or a significant geographical separation between the majority of teams, which football can probably overcome, but really affects the other sports. What the Pac 10/12 needs to do most is add a championship game that creates additional revenue and makes sure their best team(s) are in the National Championship talk at the end of the season.

Now, scheduling in a 24 team Mega Conference would work this way. You of course would play the 5 other teams within your division, 1 team from each of the other three divisions on an annual rotation basis, 1 "at-large" conference game (how OU/OSU could play every year if need be), and 3 non conference games. That's 9 conference games and 3 out of conference games. The 4 winners of each division at the end of the year would play in a semi-final (how you rank matches could go several ways), and the winners of those two games would meet for the conference championship. This would add 1 extra game for the championship game finalists in the mega conferences meaning 15 games instead of 14 today (12 regular, 1 conf. champ, 1 bowl game).

BCS rules would have to be tinkered with, specifically the removal of the maximum of 2 bids per conference, which would be changed to 4. That doesn't mean that the mega conferences are guaranteed 4 bids, just that if the teams and talent warrant that many bids in a particular year, it is available, just as if 2 teams from each of the current conferences were selected today.

This would bring about a host of big time regular season TV games, mini playoff systems in the conferences, and I believe more clarity when evaluating the top tier programs with a BCS type rating system. It could also lay the groundwork for a playoff system (8 or 16 team). But most importantly (at least it seems these days) would bring improved negotiating leverage to the conferences in not just football, but the other major sports as well.

Okay, now rip it apart!

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I'm so sick of all the expansion talk. College football doesn't need grand expansion of its main power conferences... it needs to make championship games mandatory for conferences that have automatic BCS bids and figure out how to implement a playoff system. Division I-A college football is the only level in any remotely popular sport that doesn't have a playoff. The excuses are wearing thin. They need to stfu and make the national championship more than a popularity contest money grab so the rich get richer.

Short of a playoff system, championship games are a MUST. They ruled out Georgia for not winning its conference, so the hottest team in the country was pitted against a Hawaii team that scraped by Washington in the final minutes and barely beat Boise State... while we very very nearly had an Ohio State/Michigan rematch for the national title just a few years ago (when Michigan remained #2 despite losing to Ohio State)... and both teams got smoked in their bowl games.

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