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  • Writer's pictureScott Hatter

Adapt or die: Conference realignments ultimate end game

Updated: Oct 7, 2021













What UEFA cannot accomplish, I have faith the SEC, eh-hem, the NCAA can. With the most recent shake-ups for the SEC, Big 12, and American, it would be naïve to think this is the end. First of all, let's start with this as an assumption/basis of argument: There are too many FBS (D-1 for us oldies) schools, currently standing at 130, and the interest and competition is driven by a select few. Meaning, there are roughly 20 schools that really drive the discussion, and anyone else is a blessed invitee to the party. As a graduate of one of these lucky invitees (TCU), I do not make that admission lightly as I am painfully aware of what it feels like to be a very good team, maybe great team, in a "rest of 5" conference, but it's a reality that the money is driven by the blue bloods: Bama, OU, Auburn, Florida, Clemson, Georgia, Texas, USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, LSU for certain...Florida State, Miami, Oregon, A&M, Wisconsin, Penn State, UCLA?, BYU?


The above list is 20 schools, and I think we could have some very healthy barstool arguments on the final 9. The easy thing to do would be to just separate those 16-20 schools and just say that's the Super Conference - much like the Super League was attempting to do. In that world, you could even introduce something like relegation and promotion. I love that idea, but it's never going to happen...too many politicians and too many backroom handshake agreements. So, in lieu of a single conference semi-professional mega conference, let's talk where I truly think we are going...FOUR semi-professional mega conferences that lead to a 12-16 team playoff. This will consist of 20 teams per conference and there will be no ability to deviate from that number. No more Big 10 with 14 schools, SEC with 16 schools, Pac 12 with 12, and Big 12 with 10. It's uneven and lazy. Here is the other catch...If you just threw a hissy fit and jumped affiliations, I am not going to kick you out. So, Texas and OU will remain part of the SEC in any iteration of this pipe dream. It should also be noted that these conferences would apply to basketball as well, but other sports would be open to additions/exception as already exists with Baseball, Soccer, etc. Without further adieu, from west to east with new schools in bold italics...


The PAC (no numbers needed) will henceforth consist of the following schools:

Arizona

Arizona State

Boise State

BYU

California

Colorado

Colorado State

Fresno State

Hawaii

Nevada

Oregon

Oregon State

San Diego State

Stanford

UCLA

UNLV

USC

Utah

Washington

Washington State


The artist formerly known as the BIG 10 - my suggestions include the Great Plains Conference, or the Central Athletic Conference will consist of:

Baylor

Cincinnati

Houston

Indiana

Illinois

Iowa

Iowa State

Kansas

Kansas State

Michigan

Michigan State

Minnesota

Nebraska

Northwestern

Ohio State

Purdue

SMU

TCU

Texas Tech

Wisconsin


The SEC would remain the SEC in name and be constructed of the following:

Alabama

Arkansas

Auburn

Florida

Florida State

Georgia

Georgia Tech

Kentucky

LSU

Miami

Mississippi State

Missouri

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

Ole Miss

Tennessee

Texas

Texas A&M

UCF

USF



The ACC would remain the ACC (as there are no numbers and their geography makes sense) but would see some significant changes as well as some liberties with the geography:

Boston College

Clemson

Coastal Carolina

Duke

East Carolina

Louisville

Maryland

Memphis

Navy

NC State

North Carolina

Notre Dame

Penn State

Pittsburgh

Rutgers

South Carolina

Syracuse

Virginia

Virginia Tech

West Virginia



Notables left out of the top 80:

Air Force, Army, Marshall, North Texas, Rice, San Jose State, Southern Miss, Utah State, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky (only because of the mascot), Wyoming, as well as whatever your alma mater is that just made you yell at your computer screen. Sorry, not sorry.


Look honestly at the top 80 and tell me that isn't plenty. It's more than plenty. It accounts for some recent history including programs that are really investing in their athletic programs (Coastal Carolina to name one) and it pressure tests history, because clearly, no one really cares any way. So yeah, sorry, Penn State is moving to the ACC. Schools in the same state are going to be in the same conference (why the heck shouldn't they be!?!). And at the end of the day, somewhere between 12 and 16 schools (3 to 4 from each conference and it would be a SET AMOUNT) would create one heck of a playoff. No interconference play prior to that. 12 in conference games. 9 against your division and 3 against the other division in your conference. Don't tell me it's not enough...it works for the SEC EVERY YEAR. So kick and scream and tell me I'm wrong, but the above totally works. We don't need 130 football teams. We probably don't need 80, but, since I crave crazy, we have to preserve some of it.












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