Who is the big loser during the Conference Expansion process? The SEC is.
No, it's not because of what schools they pick up or don't pick up.
It's because of the merciless coast-to-coast holy-ass beating the SEC's academic reputation is taking during the Expansion process.
Article after article, post after post inevitably points out that the SEC is not even under consideration for big fish like Texas because of its deplorable academics.
I get that the SEC Coaches and Athletic Directors don't seem to care, but man if I'm an SEC university president, I gotta be cringing every time I open a newspaper or click on a link.
Meanwhile, the Big 10 is constantly referenced as the top of the academic food chain for major conferences. So much so that schools are weeded out based on academics before any conversations even start . . . the now famous "Tech problem".
No wonder the SEC hates the Big 10.
So next time an SEC slappy tells you that the Big 10 can't keep up with their speed, remind them that when it really counted, the SEC couldn't keep up with the Big 10's smarts.
The verdict is in: The Big 10 may be slow, but the SEC is STUPID.
Here's a video that should help clarify why Texas A&M is not a fit for the Pac-10 (11, 12,16).
I couldn't agree more.
Caveats: I don't know much about academic requirements for the Big 12 (which are presumably minimal) or about non-football sports (except that Kansas has a good basketball team). That being said, here's two scenarios:
1. The standard story occurs: Nebraska to Big Ten, Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahama, Oklahoma State to Pac Ten.
Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State remain.
Given that the Big Twelve would still be an autoqualifying BCS conference with five teams that have played together, why don't they pick off some of the top Mountain West teams? The Big Ten is to the Big Twelve what the Big Twelve is to the Mountain West, except that the value of the Big Twelve comes from the BCS payouts. Utah, TCU, and BYU could sidestep the whole autoqualifier issue by just joining a BCS conference, which would then have eight teams and be represented in Utah, Iowa, MIssouri, Kansas, and most importantly Texas.
The major hangup with the Mountain West has been that it's extremely top-heavy, while the bottom-feeders are very weak. Well, even a crappy BCS school that goes 4-8 is probably going 3-1 OOC a lot of years by feeding on the weak non-BCS teams; it would greatly improve the strength of the conference that contains Utah, TCU, and BYU and they wouldn't be fighting an uphill battle outside of the system.
Add in Boise State or some other schools for bonus points. Yeah, the $ are lacking, but it would be worse in C-USA, where a lot of those schools could be headed if the Big 12 falls apart. At this point, it would strictly be a matter of better than, and those schools would be better off than they would be otherwise unless the MWC is sure to become a BCS conference and snipes several of the old Big 12 schools. The latter part is sure, but the former part is not certain.
I mainly bring up this scenario to set up my optimistic, biased scenario 2.
2.Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M to Big Ten; Colorado and Utah to Pac Ten.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Missouri, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State remain.
If the Texas legislature likes Baylor so much, why would they allow it to be abandoned to perceived non-BCS doom? An eight team Big Twelve could turn into a southwest conference (ironically without Texas or Texas A&M), or it could expand if desired with some MWC teams, which would be less appealing without Utah. Either way, it would be an auto-qualifying conference, probably under the same name. The key here is that all four Texas teams would be in BCS conferences, while in the perceived PAC-16 scenario, Baylor would be left out.
This rests on the assumption that the Pac-10 doesn't really want to go to 16 without Texas - which is probably true. They need that brand name to justify watering down their existing, successful conference. The Pac-10 could go for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State... and then who? The Texas presence would be nice, but Tech and Baylor are pretty weak additions, and TCU is still just a small school. Do they try to illogically devour Kansas, or would they rather just go to 12 and call it quits?
Overall, I don't see why the Big Twelve has to die, if the schools causing instability (Texas and Nebraska) take off to the Big Ten. With a fourteen team Big Ten and a twelve team Pac Ten, there's nowhere left to run, and there's no real incentive to leave a BCS conference if there are no openings available elsewhere.
Also, in my hypothetical scenario 2, we give Notre Dame the finger and they stay independent.
We're creating eight eight-team conferences. I read today that one of the Pac 10 officials said that they will not have a conference championship game and instead push for two BCS berths, one for each division champion. Assuming the Big Ten does the same thing, (and the SEC and ACC/Big East superconferences do too) the BCS games will be between all the division champions, and any at-large teams are left out.
This happening could be the scenario that forces Notre Dame into a conference, so they can potentially get into the BCS games.
It also sets up well for a potential 8-team playoff.
Now comes Martin Manley, blogging in the Kansas City Star, harrumphing that all the football schools can do all the expanding they want. When all is said and done, that will leave the Jayhawks, K-State, and about 78 other basketball schools to form their own superconference for basketball, so nyaah nyaah. Then, football schools, just try getting into March Madness.
Ok, so we have 4 divisions: A, B, C, D. Each team has 3 protected rivals. In Michigan's case this would be OSU, MSU and either ND or Minnesota depending on whether ND joins the Big16. Those 3 rivals are spread across the other 3 divisions. So, Michigan is in A, OSU is in B, MSU is in C, ND/Minn is in D.
In this particular year, A and B get paired together to make Division 1 and C and D get paired together to make Division 2. Every team plays every team in their conference and one game against either rival in the other division. This makes for 9 games.
At the end of the season there is a pseudo tournament in each Division between all bowl eligible teams to determine the winner. The seeding is determined by the number of points that you have from your cross-division rivals. For each win against your cross division rivals, you get (9 - N) / M points where N is your rivals rank in their division and M is your rank. This makes it extremely important for you and your rivals to be ranked highly and for you to beat your rivals each year. Once the brackets are set, the bracket is simulated by the outcomes of the actual matchups throughout the season. The winner in each division plays in the championship game. The division which accumulated the most rivalry points in the above method gets homefield advantage.
So, lets say that Michigan is #2 in the division, OSU and ND are #1 and #2 in the other division and Michigan beats them both. Michigan gets 4 points for OSU and 3.5 points for ND. The #1 in our division beats both of their rivals which were ranked 4&7 in the other division giving them 7 points. Michigan would then get the #1 seed in the playoff.
I like this format because, like I said, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on teams to win the division and to beat rivals. Rivals being bad in a particular year won't necessarily hurt you (especially if you win all of your games in the division). It also possibly hurts teams like OSU who beat everyone, except that low team like Purdue. If they were matched up in the playoff, Purdue would have taken OSU out of the tournament and a team like Iowa or PSU could be given a chance at the championship game, which means beat ALL teams and you won't have to worry about it. It also only takes 9 games during the regular season, adds the benefits of a playoff without adding any more games, and adds some of the randomness of the playoffs.