With Colorado leaving for the Pac-10 last week and Nebraska fleeing for the Big Ten on Saturday (and Boise State joining the now much more powerful Mountain West, in terms of football, at least), NCAA Division I football faces the potential of mass carpetbaggery as teams “do me” and look to establish themselves in the most financially promising conference.
DBSF—along with many other analysts, whom actually know what the heck they’re talking about—believes that this will likely result in the formation of a few “super-conferences”. Below are some potential scenarios for the major conferences assuming most want to move to a 16 team structure so they can have two eight-team divisions, and playoffs.
PAC 10: With Colorado on, the PAC 10 looks like it’s a growth conference. Since they couldn’t get Boise State, it seems most likely that they will continue to raid the Big XII (aka Big X now) and take Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State. Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State seem like a significant concession just to get Texas and Oklahoma, but acquiring the latter two makes the Pac-10 arguably the strongest football conference in D-1.
One other possibility would be to acquire Utah, who in terms of athletic quality are great, but offer a relatively small market (on a plus side there’s only so much trouble kids from USC can get into in Salt Lake City). The obvious loser here—besides the Iowa States and Kansas States who are essentially filler teams for a conference anyway—is Kansas. It could turn out that the basketball powerhouse will end up in Conference USA or the Big East because of its anemic football program.
SEC: If they can’t lure away Texas or Oklahoma, they will likely attempt to raid the ACC. The obvious candidates are Clemson and Georgia Tech. If they come there are rumors that the SEC has eyed Maryland but, the SEC is probably unwilling to take Virginia (which Maryland requires). DBSF expects the SEC to then take Florida State and Miami, which are both football-heavy schools.
ACC: If Clemson and Georgia Tech stay in the conference, then there will likely be no changes. However, if they leave the ACC will either have to appropriate teams from the Big East, or go ‘every-man-for-himself’ where DBSF expects Maryland and Virginia to go to the Big Ten. In the event that the ACC disbands the big losers are basketball powerhouses, Duke and UNC, who’s weak football programs make them unattractive to conferences like the SEC, that only play basketball because of Title IX. Virginia Tech and Boston College, two of the newest additions to the ACC, will also be vulnerable if they can’t get into the Big Ten.
If the ACC were to attempt to survive without Georgia Tech and Clemson (a founding member) then they would have to take teams like, West Virginia, Rugters, Connecticut, Syracuse, or Louisville from the Big East.
Big Ten: With the acquisition of Nebraska, the Big Ten represents another growth conference. It makes sense that the Big Ten attempts to steal Maryland and Virginia from the ACC, which are both quality academic institutions (an important factor for the Big Ten) that have historically strong athletic programs. Of course adding Maryland and Virginia would put the Big Ten at the Big Thirteen. Perhaps they could make a play for an Oklahoma and a Texas, but this seems unlikely as the Big Thirteen would have to expand to almost twenty teams to accommodate Oklahoma and Texas’s rivals. Other options include raiding the ACC further by taking Boston College and perhaps Virginia Tech, two schools that also meet the academic and athletic requirements of the Big Ten.
Big East: See ACC. This conference’s “raid potential” is somewhere between a Los Angeles Korean-owned supermarket in an early 1990’s race riot, and England in the summer of 1066. Depending upon how other scenarios play out, college football could ruin college basketball’s preeminent conference.
Conference USA: Has the potential to become a super-conference of inefficacy and rejection. If at least two major conferences jump to 16 teams, Conference USA will likely absorb another 15-20 teams. The result: (1) out of 32 Conference USA football teams, not one receives a single vote for the AP/ Coaches/ ESPN/ USA Today Top 25 for a decade; and, (2) Kansas wins a historic 578 straight conference basketball games until being upset by UAB in 2048 when Kansas mistakenly sends its women’s team to Birmingham (the female Jayhawks squander a 15 point second half lead after several yet-to-be-born players get in foul trouble).
In the end, conferences will make zero geographical sense, and DBSF believes all of this academic/ athlete-devoid wrangling serves solely to justify a BCS playoff system, which will provide ten to fifteen elite football universities with much more money as they will be able to play in up to three post-season games rather than one (assuming the BCS playoff adopts and eight-team tournament).