You know what is almost as fun as being angry? Speculating wildly. The B1G is expanding east with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers (can we now name the divisions “East” and “West” and get rid of that ridiculous logo?). This won’t be the end of conference realignment, and somebody has to put the rest of the pieces together without knowing anything, so why not me? As I said when this whole game of musical chairs started, the end-game will be four 16-team super conferences, and here is how I wish it would play out.
First, the ACC will fill the void left by the loss of Maryland with a basketball school from rotting corpse that is the Big East, for arguments sake, I’ll say UConn. That will leave 5 conferences worth talking about, The ACC, B1G and SEC at 14 members, the Pac 12 at 12 and the Big 12 at 10.
I can’t imagine many schools jumping at the chance to join the economic imbalance that is the Big 12 and Longhorn Network, in fact, I imagine more schools eventually caving and defecting. This is really the Pac 12’s only chance for meaningful expansion, so look for them to be courting Texas Tech and the Oklahoma schools hard. If one of them cracks, it’s over for the Big 12. At the end of the day, the Pac 16 adds BYU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
The addition of UConn is great for the ACC basketball conference, but predominantly football schools will now be looking for an out. The SEC will poach two, I’ll say Florida State and Miami (or Clemson, take your pick) for arguments sake to get themselves to 16. The Big 10 will take two more, I’ll say Virginia Tech and Boston College (because Georgia Tech is too far away, and Boston is the kind of market the B1G would target).
Now down to 10 schools, the ACC takes their pick at the remaining Big 12/Big East schools as they free fall into mediocrity/irrelevance, (sans Texas, who becomes an independent, with a sweetheart deal similar to that of Notre Dame). They net losses of Boston College, Florida State, Maryland, Miami, and Virginia Tech and gains of Baylor, Cincinnati, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, UConn, and West Virginia.
That leaves the conferences as follows:
|Kansas||Michigan State||Oklahoma State||Kentucky|
|North Carolina||Ohio State||Texas Tech||Mississippi State|
|Wake Forest||Virginia Tech||Washington||Texas A&M|
|West Virginia||Wisconsin||Washington State||Vanderbilt|
With this college football is forced to expand to an 8 team playoff, with auto-bids for the winners of each of these conferences and four at-large bids to appease the likes of Texas and Notre Dame. I’m on board with this, see you in January 2017.