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Conference realignment has been a hot topic since 2010 when the Pac 12 was rumored to be poaching the Big 12 for all the good schools. What ended up happening was A&M and Missouri bolting to the SEC, Colorado heading west, Nebraska heading north, and TCU and West Virginia shoring up the holes in the Big 12.
Today, the topic rages on as the Big 12 is again in discussions for expansion. Some are for it. Some are against it. Luckily for all the higher ups of each conference, ESPN just solved the whole problem all by themselves. They came up with five power conferences comprised of 16 teams, and it is spot on.
North: Air Force, BYU, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech
South: Baylor, Texas, TCU, SMU, Tulane, New Mexico, Houston, Rice
It’s about damn time someone in the sports media world recognized the powerhouse in Dallas just waiting to bust through. All the Mustangs are waiting for is their invitation to play with the big boys.
East: Auburn, Charlotte (ECU/UCF?), Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
West: Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Memphis, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, Texas A&M
Arguably the toughest conference in all of football just got even tougher. You think that running through the current gauntlet is hell? Wait until you add in the yearly matchup against Memphis AND UCF. The SEC basically just added two NFL-caliber teams to their already stacked schedule. No one will ever make it out undefeated.
Southern Division: Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest
Northern Division: Boston College, Connecticut, Louisville, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia (Navy?)
How do you make the ACC better? Easy, you just take the current teams and redesign the divisions based off of geographic location and add Connecticut and West Virginia. Voila! That’s just realignment 101. The greatest thing about this one is that one of the northern teams gets a shot to play for a New Year’s bowl game each year.
East Division: Cincinnati, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
West Division: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Purdue, Wisconsin
Easily the home run of all the realignment picks ESPN made. We’re all tired of hearing about Notre Dame at the start of the season year in and year out. “Notre Dame will be a championship contender,” says Lou Holtz every September. Now, we get to see them play against that tough Big 10 West against the likes of Illinois and Purdue.
North: Boise State, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Utah, Washington, Washington State
South: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Colorado State (Air Force?), Hawaii, UCLA, UNLV (Nevada?), USC
I really have nothing to say about this one. The Pac-16 is always the most difficult conference to figure out. So much potential, yet they leave so much to be desired. So I guess you could say that all these teams fit that bill?
I don’t know why the conferences aren’t lobbying to get this done ASAP..