Conference Realignment: Lets Make it the Power 4 conferences

The talk of the college football offseason besides the implementation of the new NIL rules, has been conference realignment. The University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas shook up the college football landscape when they announced that they were joining the SEC. This move obviously could be the final nail in the coffin for the Big 12 conference. So, lets take this a step further and dissolve the Big 12 and have four sixteen team conferences.

SEC

Current Teams

  • Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Auburn Tigers
  • Florida Gators
  • Georgia Bulldogs
  • Kentucky Wildcats
  • LSU Tigers
  • Mississippi State Bulldogs
  • Missouri Tigers
  • Ole Miss Rebels
  • South Carolina Gamecocks
  • Tennessee Volunteers
  • Texas A&M Aggies
  • Vanderbilt Commodores

Proposed Additions

  • Oklahoma Sooners
  • Texas Longhorns

So we will start with the easiest conference in this scenario, as the offseason movement will put the conference at the 16 team mark. The only problem with this situation besides the hatred between Texas and Texas A&M, will be, Is the SEC satisfied with sixteen teams? Will they keep adding until they get to 20 or 24 schools and have essentially a super conference that will not need the other 100+ schools in division 1. The SEC could add Clemson and Ohio State and leave the other conferences without their best option to make the College Football Playoffs. The money in the SEC will always make any idea feasible and likely if they want to pursue it.

ACC

Current Teams

  • Boston College Eagles
  • Clemson Tigers
  • Duke Blue Devils
  • Florida State Seminoles
  • Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  • Louisville Cardinals
  • Miami Hurricanes
  • NC State Wolfpack
  • North Carolina Tar Heels
  • Pittsburgh Panthers
  • Syracuse Orange
  • Virginia Cavaliers
  • Virginia Tech Hokies
  • Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Additions

  • Cincinnati Bearcats
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame to the ACC is one of the easiest things to try and predict. It makes sense with the affiliation with all of the other sports, even though I think they fit better with the Big Ten. The ACC will like getting TV rights in Ohio and Indiana. Cincinnati is more valuable with recent success, then the schools in the Big 12 that are looking for a new home. West Virginia fits geographically, but there is more potential growth with Cincinnati. If the ACC wanted to get real crazy they could look at UCF or Appalachian State.

Big Ten

Current Teams

  • Illinois Fighting Illini
  • Indiana Hoosiers
  • Iowa Hawkeyes
  • Maryland Terrapins
  • Michigan Wolverines
  • Michigan State Spartans
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Nebraska Cornhuskers
  • Northwestern Wildcats
  • Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Purdue Boilermakers
  • Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  • Wisconsin Badgers

Additions

  • Iowa State Cyclones
  • Oklahoma State Cowboys

With Notre Dame destined to go to the ACC, Iowa State is an easy choice for the Big Ten. They have a built in rivalry with Iowa and Nebraska and make sense geographically as well. The other team being added could go multiple ways. Kansas is a strong candidate because of their basketball pedigree, while Cincinnati could make the jump to the Big Ten as well. Oklahoma State gives the Big Ten a solid program in both main sports and provides them with another state for media rights. I view the Big Ten as the most aggressive conference behind the SEC. If things get really crazy, you could see the Big Ten make pitches to Notre Dame, Miami, and USC. They are not going to get left behind.

PAC 12

Current Teams

  • Arizona State Sun Devils
  • Arizona Wildcats
  • California Golden Bears
  • Colorado Buffaloes
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Oregon State Beavers
  • Stanford Cardinal
  • UCLA Bruins
  • USC Trojans
  • Utah Utes
  • Washington Huskies
  • Washington State Cougars

Additions

  • Baylor Bears
  • Kansas Jayhawks
  • TCU Horned Frogs
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders

The PAC 12 is the most difficult to predict because they need the most additions and they could also pick from some strong Group of 5 schools. The teams that don’t make the cut would be BYU, Boise State, Kansas State, and West Virginia. With Baylor, TCU, and Texas Tech, you get three schools in the Texas market that are strong athletically and could be fun mixing in with the current teams. Kansas gets here based on basketball only, there is no draw for them as far as football goes.

Teams That Get Left Out

Teams

  • Kansas State Wildcats
  • West Virginia Mountaineers

The only way I see these two teams staying in a major conference, is if Notre Dame stands still and remains independent. If the other conferences are not interested in the group of 5 schools Kansas State and West Virginia could find a home in either the ACC or Big Ten. You would think that Cincinnati, UCF, BYU, and even Boise State might me more desirable than these two schools. It is going to be on the Big 12 to remain aggressive and go after these successful teams. If they could add those four, they would lack the top tier football program but could survive as a major conference.

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