Conference expansion is clearly the hottest topic in college football these days. And while it is fun to speculate about who will be the 14th team in the SEC or how the heck the Big East is going to survive, I think it is more fun to think of how things would be done different if there was a clean slate. Between the BCS vs. Playoff debate and the calls to blow up the NCAA all together, here is my radical take on what college football could look like if they did away with the current conferences.
A couple of notes:
- The “conferences” are created based strictly on geographical location. I tried to group states together providing a good balance of strong teams and weaker ones.
- States that have multiple D1 schools in them will always see those schools in the same conference. For example, if there were two teams from Vermont, one would not be in conference A while the other in conference B.
- There are a total of 11 conferences, featuring 10 schools. A total of 110 schools are represented, with 108 being current FBS schools. The other two schools are programs I could see as moving to D1 in the near future (Georgia Southern and Appalachian State).
- Each conference will be divided into two divisions.
- Southeast (Georgia and Florida): Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International
- Tobacco Road (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina): Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest, East Carolina, Appalachian State, South Carolina, Clemson
- Deep South (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana): Alabama, Auburn, Troy, UAB, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, LSU, Tulane, Louisiana Tech
- Red River (Texas and Oklahoma): Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, SMU, Baylor, UTEP, Rice, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa
- Southwestern (New Mexico, Arizona, California): New Mexico, New Mexico State, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Fresno State, San Diego State, USC, Stanford, UCLA
- Pacific (Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada): Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Boise State, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, UNLV, Wyoming
- Western (Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska): Air Force, Colorado, Colorado State, BYU, Utah, Utah State, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska
- Northern (Minnesota,Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana): Minnesota, Iowa, Iowas State, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ball State, Purdue, Notre Dame
- Great Lakes (Ohio, Michigan): Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Toledo, Miami (OH), Bowling Green, Ohio
- East (Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia): Arkansas, Arkansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, MTSU, West Virginia, Marshall
- New England (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut): Penn State, Pitt, Temple, Maryland, Navy, Boston College, Army, Syracuse, Rutgers, UCONN
11 regular season games: 4 against division, 4 against teams from the other division (this rotates each year), 3 non-conference games. Each team will have 1 permanent out of conference rivalry. The other two games can only be scheduled against other division 1 teams.
Conference Championships: Winner of each division play for the conference championship and first round bye in playoffs.
Playoffs, week 1 : 11 conference runner ups eligible – Top ten will be selected based on some type of ranking (be it a selection committee). No one can complain that much since they all had the chance to earn an automatic bid the week before.
Playoffs, weeks 2 -4: All teams are re-seeded into 16 team tournament (11 conference champions and 5 winners from week 1).
National Championship Game and Bowls: During the first week of January, bowl games are held culminating with national championship game.
So this is my radical realignment. Of course it will never happen. This is all for fun, so don’t be too hard on me in the comments. I would love to hear your ideas as well.