I have written about how to save the Big 12, yet it appears we are headed for more conference expansion. I do not remember which talking head said this, but they believed we are heading for a 4 conferences of 16 teams. So basically we’d have 4 conference champions playing in the playoff. Seems to make too much sense for me. As far back as 2013, North Carolina had an offer to join the Big 10. I read an article (that may or may not have been recycled) a couple of weeks ago that our friends at Bleacher Report grabbed and it stated that North Carolina to the Big 10 was being talked about as well as Clemson and Florida State jumping from the ACC to go to the SEC. Now that is the bombshell that blows the lid off of saving the Big 12. How about we run with this though? How about we assume that these three moves happen? We can apply some logic (first time in the history of conference expansion that logic has been applied) and see if we can shake out what might happen. Using what we have predicted on how to save the Big 12 and the three moves that we now assume will without question happen lets us begin.
The Big 10 currently has 14 members: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan St, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin. If we plug North Carolina in that brings us to 15 and that will not do. The articles from 2013 state that North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia Tech would all be considered. Based on common sense geography and what I would do if in the same situation Virginia would be the pick to move to the Big 10 which would bring the total to 16 members.
The SEC currently has 14 members: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt. Adding Clemson and Florida State makes this the greatest conference in the history of mankind or something of that nature that even Danny Kanell would be forced into agreement with since his ‘Noles now in the SEC.
Now that the Big 10 and SEC are set, the ACC is hurting. They
have had 14 ½ members (if you count Notre Dame as half-which I do). Now the first thing the ACC should do is draw a line in the sand to Notre Dame. Are you with us or against us? I know it is rather Sith to only deal in ultimatums but this is where we are with conference expansion I believe. Notre Dame joins because it is the smart thing to do. Even with the defections the ACC-I mean old Big East- still has 11 members. The very first thing I would do if I were the ACC is send an invite to West Virginia. The Backyard Brawl is back on the menu and the conference now has an even 12 members. Old Big East with a sprinkle of Tobacco Road minus some Tar Heels. We’ll get back to the ACC because every move brings consequences to another.
That “another” is the Big 12. Already skating on thin ice with 10 members: Baylor, Iowa St, Kansas St, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, and
West Virginia. Well so much for that, left with 9 teams. They just voted to start a conference championship game by 2017 and have 2 5 team divisions. We can save the Big 12, again. Now that there is no need to have a bridge for the Mountaineers, the Big 12 can turn its full focus to the West. We aren’t going to raid the Pac 12 (only if Colorado wants to crawl back to us). You can read my article on saving the Big 12 here: https://wordpress.com/post/originaldaveo.wordpress.com/7 It adds BYU, Cincinnati, New Mexico, and Colorado State. Well we can cross Cincinnati off that list. With the departure of West Virginia and not having to call Cincinnati, the Big 12 like the ACC is at 12 members.
We did not mess with the Pac 12, Colorado could be wooed to going back to the Big 12. They’ve basically been a non-factor since they left the Big 12. Right now they boast Arizona, Arizona St, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, and Washington St. Since we are in the hypothetical world let’s say that Colorado returns to the Big 12 and the Pac 12 only has 11 members now. Where would they turn? The Big 12 seems to be moving into their territory. The issue with the Pac 12 is that the remaining 11 members are so much bigger and better than any other institutions out west there would have to be some serious concessions made by them to allow anyone in. If we are going to go from 11 to 16 there are only 6 options: Boise State, Idaho, Nevada, San Diego St, UNLV, and Utah St. Pairing Utah State with Utah is a good move. Adding Nevada and UNLV (pending the Oakland Raiders moving to Vegas and building that 65000 seat stadium that the Rebels would also call home) is expanding the footprint of the conference. Both Idaho schools (U of Idaho and Boise State) are inferior options to consider. The only leg Boise State has to stand on is a good football program. They have the smallest endowment of any institution mentioned. Idaho is not much more than a D-2 program. San Diego State is the only other option I see. Leave them out and you have 14, put them in and you have 15. Both are unacceptable. If the Pac 12 can somehow retain Colorado and then lure Colorado State that is the battle line for the Pac 12 and Big 12 in my opinion. It has to be Colorado and Colorado State in the Pac 12 to make this hypothetical insane expansion work.
Now that the Big 10, Pac 12, and SEC are at 16 members we will return to the ACC. We left them at 12 members. Now I believe there are 2 options that should take no thinking at all. Cincinnati and Connecticut would expand the ACC footprint and they fit the mold. Where would 2 more members that fit everything come from? We can consider Central Florida, South Florida, Temple, East Carolina, Marshall, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, and Old Dominion. Which is precisely what we will do. South Florida and Temple both have the largest endowments, Temple puts the ACC in Philadelphia and South Florida maintains the ACC having 2 members in the state of Florida.
4 16 member conferences, that is what we want right? But what about the Big 12? They seem to be the little brother in all of this don’t they? I said it in my saving the Big 12 article that sometimes you have to promote from within. We eliminated both options from Colorado in the Pac 12 part. Back down to 11 for the Big 12. So promoting from within means the State of Texas has another option that is ready to be back on the national stage. The University of Houston has followed a path similar to TCU and is ready to be promoted. Back to 12 for the Big 12. We will not leave them there this time. Raiding smaller conferences with the cream of the crop will have to be the way. Tulsa has a larger endowment than Houston, Iowa State, Kansas State, New Mexico, and Oklahoma State. All those schools are now Big 12 members so Tulsa is in. Another old Southwest Conference school is SMU and if you added them they would boast a larger endowment than Tulsa (all those under Tulsa as well) and larger than Texas Tech. SMU welcomed back after the death penalty. Expansion should “expand” the footprint of the conference. How about looking south and east for a member? Tulane is in a state that borders the Big 12 (Louisiana) and has an endowment over 1 Billion which would place it right with the other large members. The last school around that expands the footprint (even though the market isn’t very large) would be Wyoming. They would be right between New Mexico and Kansas State in terms of endowment size and that is plenty acceptable for this hypothetical world we are in.
Now we have 5 16 member conferences:
ACC: Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.
Big 10 to Big 16: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Big 12 to Mid-West Conference: Baylor, BYU, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulane, Tulsa, and Wyoming.
Pac 12 to Pac 16: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Colorado State, Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Utah, Utah State, Washington, and Washington State.
SEC: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt.
What this does is basically eliminate the Mountain West Conference, and most likely the American Athletic Conference. Conference USA will most likely pick up the pieces of the American and the Mountain West will morph into something else again as it typically does when conference expansion raids its members. If you are keeping count that is 80 “Group of 5” members. That leaves 40 other schools to be broken into 4 10 member conferences and now the bowls will again have to be reconfigured. The playoff tweaked and whatnot, this eventually will explode when the Group of Five decide they are their own NCAA type of organization. Until then, I believe in my hypothetical world, what would you predict?