The Realignment Endgame

Submitted by UMFootballCrazy on November 21st, 2012 at 5:17 PM

As the addition of realignment is thrust upon us, I remember a diary I wrote a couple of years ago contemplating four conferences of 18 teams, each with three divisions and a playoff.  Lets call it for what it will become, the NFL minor leagues.  The details are largely irrelevant.  Saban's desire to shrink the number of D-1 participants and let only the big boys play each other seems to be well on its way to happening.  I am confident that the four mega-conference concept will come to pass in some form or another.  Teams are getting in now rather than be left out of the party 



November 21st, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

I don't see mega-conferences as NFL minor leagues, anymore than they are today.

I'd fully advocate for an 18 or 20 team conference if one division approximates the "old" Big 10 and each team in that "divison" plays each other.  That way the Big 10 is essentially what it used to be, with an agreement to play a "championship" with another conference, errr division.  Michigan and Ohio State play at the end of the year for a chance to advance, etc.


November 21st, 2012 at 6:39 PM ^

I had a question about the proposed theoretical structure of an 18-team conference in your diary post. Would it have to be 11 conference games? It seems fairly evident to me that, in the event of 16-team conference, we would ideally be looking at a nine-game conference schedule  from a structural standpoint. With an 18-team conference, you could do the same thing, but with a three-year cycle of schedules. Hypothetically, it would look like this (underlined teams - we play them, and strikethrough - off the schedule):

Division W Division C Division E Year 1
W1 Michigan E1  
W2 C2 E2  
W3 C3 E3  
W4 C4 E4  
W5 C5 E5  
W6 C6 E6  
Division W Division C Division E Year 2
W1 Michigan E1  
W2 C2 E2  
W3 C3 E3  
W4 C4 E4  
W5 C5 E5  
W6 C6 E6  
Division W Division C Division E Year 3
W1 Michigan E1  
W2 C2 E2  
W3 C3 E3  
W4 C4 E4  
W5 C5 E5  
W6 C6 E6  

That's all theory, of course. I don't know if ADs in the current Big Ten would really want only one OOC game, much less in an even larger version of the conference. One thing that I would think comes into play as well is that this does seem to lead to a two-week playoff - hypothetically, division winners and the team with the next best record and/or the team with the head-to-head win in the event of a wildcard tie. I have to wonder if academic schedules would give schools pause for such a concept though.  

Mich Mash

November 21st, 2012 at 7:30 PM ^

...everything was spot on, until I got to the part about:

"I have to wonder if academic schedules would give schools pause..."

That's funny, in a sad kind of way.  This thing has absolutely ZERO to do with academics, student-athletes, integrity of whatever.  Seriously, man, this is about the money.

I really do like your reply as well; I think the 3 divisions with a 3-year rotation looks really good.  You'd play every school at least once every 3 years.


November 21st, 2012 at 6:45 PM ^

your original post, and yes, I think that something along those lines is on its way.  JUST MAKE SENSE, whatever it is, and I will be happy.  College football does not make sense right now, I just want something that I at least understand.


November 21st, 2012 at 8:10 PM ^

Since expansion and realignment is here to stay, I was thinking of some ideas that would be somewhat palatable to us traditionalists who care about the young whippersnappers walking across out finely manicured lawns. Here goes:

1. 4 "mega conferences" of either 20 or 24. That keeps between 80-96 teams in the mix of the "BCS" (or whatever it is called).

2. Each mega conference has 2 divisions of 10-12 teams.

3. Here is where I think it gets palatable. Each division represents one of the old traditional conferences. Obviously that would only account for around 6 divisions, so the remaining 2 divisions (which I see being in the same conference that ultimately is least cared about) can be made of a mix of whichever independent, sunbelt, Mac, WAC, etc. Conference teams want to ornate selected to join.

4. As to conferences and divisions, I see the B10 (including psu and Nebraska) and the PAC forming divisions of the same conference, so I will use that conference as an example. (perhaps the sec and the big 12 could form another, the acc and the big east another). Within the B10 division, you play all of the other 11 teams, with 1 out of conference game to start the season. That game counts towards your ranking, but obviously not your standing in your division (not unlike current system).

5. Winner of the big ten division plays the winner of the PAC division in the rose bowl, just like old times.

6. Winner of the rose bowl wins the big/PAC conference.

7. Each of the other conferences gave a similar structure with a conference championship in one of the other BCS bowls.

8. The 4 bowl winners play a playoff with ranking determining the matchups with 1-4 and 2-3. Winners of each of these games obviously play in a non-mythical national championship game.

9. Teams that do not win their division can still play in the lesser bowls.

I like this system for the following reasons:

The traditional conferences are maintained in the form of divisions within mega-conferences.

Keeps the integrity of the BCS bowls, and places real value on winning your conference.

Even keeps the lower tiered bowl structure in place.

Allows for a legit determination of a national championship. Everyone has their shot. If you didn't win your division, no crying because you had a shot to play everyone. All division winners get a chance to advance. Instead of arbitrary computers, the decisions Are all settled on the field.

Same number of games as current, except for 4 schools that advance. Even for those schools, only 2 more games.

Would generate tons of extra revenue in the form of 3 extra playoff games, so execs and tv will be happy.

The only downside that I see is that we diminish ooc scheduling. I can live with that, though.

Have at it, mgobloggers. I am curious for your take.


November 22nd, 2012 at 12:17 AM ^

you are describing the traditional format plus a playoff. I'm not sure if you are joking, but it is a good joke.Two "divisions" that exactly resemble our current conferences would effectively be two conferences with some superficial connection that nobody cares about.

Moonlight Graham

November 21st, 2012 at 9:13 PM ^

Would allow for 20-24 teams. That would mean the B1G would need to "reach" for another 6-8 teams somewhere within its footprint. They could add Kansas, GT, and every other AIU school within shouting distance, but that would leave the other conferences with scraps from the MWC, Big East and C-USA. 

Also notice that your original post completely overlooked Maryland in the Big Ten "East" -- no fault of yours, this is how much of a shocker Maryland has been. 

I like your idea but I think it will be four sixteen-team POWER conferences whose champions get playoff auto-bids; a Big East-Mountain West hybrid that could get into the "access" BCS bowls and potentially an expanded 8- or 16-team playoff; a C-USA-SunBelt hybrid; and the MAC. 

With 64 autobid teams, the Big XII gets pulled apart; the Big East disentegrates and its last remnants join the MWC; and unfortunately Cincinnati, USF, AIU member Iowa State and non-AIU member but BCS-bound Kansas State get screeeeewed. 

Here's how it'll go down in 2013

The ACC takes West Virginia from the Big XII, and UConn and Louisville from the Big East. They also lose Virginia to the B1G (see below). ND joins permanently, and they have 16 teams...

Boston College
Florida State
Georgia Tech
NC State
North Carolina
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest
Notre Dame
W. Virginia

The B1G goes from 14 to 16 by adding Kansas from the Big XII and Virginia from the ACC. 

Michigan St.
Ohio State
Penn State

The SEC goes from 14 to 16 by adding Oklahoma and Oklahoma State from the Big XII

Mississippi St.
S. Carolina
Texas A&M
Oklahoma St.

The Pac 12 goes from 12 all the way up to 16 by adding Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor. 

Arizona St.
Oregon St.
Washington St.
Texas Tech

If the ACC and Pac 12 were benevolent, they could add Cincinnati/USF and Kansas St./Iowa St., respectively, and land at 18 teams. I wouldn't count on that though. Instead, I see a Big East-Mountain West alliance forming, with 24 teams and four divisions of six. 

East: Cincy, USF, KSU, ISU, Navy, Memphis (Temple returns to the MAC)

Central: SMU, Houston, LaTech, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Colorado St.

West: Utah St., BYU, Nevada, Air Force, Wyoming, Nevada, UNLV

Pacific: Hawaii, Boise State, Fresno State, San Jose State, San Diego State, Idaho

Sunbelt and C-USA merge to form a very geographically clean conference in the mid-south. To round it off at 18 teams they pull up Appalachian State from FCS...

Arkansas St.
Middle Tenn.
North Texas
Southern Miss
Western Kentucky
E Carolina
Appalachian St.

And the MAC simply goes from 14 to 16 by adding Army and Temple. 

And there you have it.


Red is Blue

November 21st, 2012 at 10:01 PM ^

I have yet to see a decent explanation about what is so magical about 16 teams.  With 8 conference games that leaves 1 non-division game (9 conf games = 2 non-division...).   Makes for difficulties in achieving balanced strength of schedules.

The best idea i"ve seen is 4 pods, where teams within pods always play each other and pods pair up to make divisions, with the pod pairings rotating.  So that in year 1 pod a + b make a division, yr 2 pod a + c...  That way you play everyone in your conference once every three years.  I actually think this concept works best with 20 teams and 9 conference games. So, you play everyone in your division each year but no one outside of your division.

Want a "protected" rivalry game -- get in the same pod.


November 21st, 2012 at 10:25 PM ^

I agree with questioning the magical 16....  wih 2 -  8 team divisions it creates a very unbalanced conference schedule even before considering the non-conference schedule. 

In regards to rivary games... I fear there will only be a handful that will continue being scheduled on an annual basis and new less traditional "rivalry" games will be forced on the fans.


November 21st, 2012 at 11:54 PM ^

Need to remove about half the teams that compete in Divison 1A (FBS).  Too many schools losing money every year trying to compete at the highest level of college football. 


November 22nd, 2012 at 12:05 AM ^

Rumors of VaTech and SEC talking are starting to surface. This is not a coincidence. You can book it that UVA and the B1G already have an agreement that is contingent on VT finding a good home. So then who does the SEC take to get to 16? Who does the B1G go after? What does ND do? Honestly,at this point ND is the decider.

If ND goes full ACC, the Big XII blows up. If ND goes Big XII, the ACC blows up. If ND goes B1G, ACC becomes the new big east. Given the size of the ACC buyout, my bet is ND becomes a full member, and Big XII is dead.


November 22nd, 2012 at 12:28 AM ^

Not sure I follow that logic.

First off, why would ND choose to go full ACC?  How has the ACC gained any leverage over ND in the last week?

Second, why would that cause the Big XII to blow up?  The Big XII has yet to lose anyone.  Unless you are assuming Kansas is coming to the B1G?


November 22nd, 2012 at 1:27 PM ^

ND can't be independent if CFB goes to 4 super conferences with guaranteed tie ins to a 4 team playoff. It has said so much itself. If B1G takes UVA and UNC, and SEC grabs VT and Clemson, the ACC will implode. FSU and GT will go to Big XII, and the ACC will literally be filled with ex big east members. ND will be forced into the Big XII, and have to share power with Texas. If ND joins ACC as a full member, it can hold FSU and replace UVA and VT with WVU and other Big XII schools. The PAC, SEC and B1G might grab some Big XII members, forcing Texas and Oklahoma to join PAC.

In other words, there's no room for five super conferences in a 4 team playoff.


November 22nd, 2012 at 9:47 AM ^

 It is my understanding that China has agreed to pay off our National debt -- In return Delany has agreed to not go into  Shanghai and take over there TVs.  Beijing is still under negotiations...