I usually write serious things on this site that deal with culture. But for those who don’t know, I’m a HUGE college football fan. I’m an even bigger Oklahoma Sooners fan. How big? When the Sooners went to the Big XII Championship in 2008, I drove almost 10 hours to go to the game. Even though it was 10 degrees and all I had on were light jeans, a tshirt, and a coat, I stayed for all four quarters. So it’s safe to say that I love my Sooners and I love college football.
So when all the recent conference talk and paying quite a bit of attention to it, I decided to have some fun and make some predictions on what I think conferences will look like starting at the 2012-2013 football season:
BCS Conferences that will no longer exist:
Big XII, Big East
New Conference Looks:
ACC – Conference championship would be played as normal. Atlantic Division winner would play the Coastal Division winner.
Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Florida St, Maryland, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Wake Forest
Duke, East Carolina, Miami, Memphis (for basketball), North Carolina, South Florida, Virginia, West Virginia
The Big 16 – Conference Championship will be played either in Detroit or in Minneapolis, maybe both and switch back and forth every year. The game will be played against the Eastern Division winner and the Western Division winner.
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin
Michigan, Michigan St, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Penn St, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers (there’s a chance Syracuse could take Rutgers’ or Pittsburgh’s position, but not likely)
The Pac 16 (or, after they dominate, they’ll be called “The Sweet 16”) – Conference championship site will alternate between the new Texas Stadium in Arlington, TX and the Rose Bowl in California. The game will be played against the Eastern Division winner and the Western Division winner.
Eastern Division (Range Division)
Arizona, Arizona St, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech
Western Division (Southwest Division)
Cal, Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington St
Mountain West (they will be made a BCS conference) – Conference championship game would be played in Denver every year. Other alternative is it would be played in Phoenix and Kansas City every other year. But Denver is centrally located to most of these schools.
Western Division (Mountain Division)
Boise St, BYU, Colorado St, New Mexico, San Diego St, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming
Eastern Division (Plains Division)
Air Force, Baylor, Houston, KU, K-State, SMU/UTEP (most likely SMU), TCU, Tulsa
SEC – Same set-up for the conference championship they have now
Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi St, Vanderbilt
Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, South Carolina, Clemson, Louisville/West Virginia (West Virginia will be the first choice, but they may opt for the ACC for basketball and an easier football schedule. Louisville would get the invite over FSU, Miami, or South Florida because (1) Florida uses their SEC membership as a recruiting tool, (2) none of those schools fit the SEC atmosphere, and (3) Louisville is a natural rival to Kentucky in basketball and if nothing else, could help increase the SEC’s stature in basketball)
On paper the strongest football conferences would be, in order:
The Pac 16 or SEC (this would be a toss-up)
The Big 16
The strongest basketball conferences, on paper, would be
The Pac 16
The Big 16
Due to all the shifting and how this would work in other sports, I think official realignment and conference play would begin in June 2012 (thus proving the Mayan calendar correct). In football, we’d see this begin in September 2012.
The great thing is that the BCS would re-revaluate how the championship is done. With 5 superconferences and looking at the left over teams, the chances of a non-BCS team being worthy to compete against a BCS team are slim to none. Even if a team like Arkansas St or Utah St somehow goes undefeated, it would be against other weaker teams, so the debate we ran into last year (with an undefeated TCU and Boise St) would be less likely to resurface.
With these five superconferences, you can use your BCS bowls as a type of a playoff. Say the Mountain West winner, Big 16 winner, and SEC winner are all undefeated. The Big 16 winner has one loss. You play the Big 16 against the Pac 16 in the Rose Bowl (so bowl contracts are appeased) and the Mountain West winner and the SEC winner against each other in the sugar bowl. The winners from those two bowls then face each other 1-2 weeks later in the BCS Championship Game.
The BCS will be forced to move to a system like this. The great thing is it becomes a mini-playoff that doesn’t conflict with school schedules. Likewise, you get to keep the bowl games, which brings in revenue and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love bowl season?