Monday, June 14, 2010

NCAA Division 1-A (FBS) Less-Than-Super Conference Realignment

Now that everything has sort of slowed down on the conference expansion front (we all knew Utah was going to the Pac-10 for the past three days at least), we can proceed to sit back and examine what's happened, and what will happen as a result. The Pac-10 has 12 teams. The Big Ten has 12 teams. The Big 12 has 10 teams. The Mountain West has nine teams again. And the WAC is still in what outsiders have described as panic mode (understandably so). With that, I'll amend my post from last week, and realistically reexamine the issue of conference realignment as is currently presented, rather than the eight 16-team conference doomsday scenario. And yes, I'm much happier with this arrangement than what could have been (namely a disintegration of the Big East and its status as best basketball conference in the nation). Enjoy below:

Big Ten
East- Indiana, Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St., Penn St., Purdue
West- Nebraska, Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa
North- Washington, Washington St., Oregon, Oregon St., Utah, Colorado
South- Arizona, Arizona St., USC, UCLA, Stanford, California

Big 12
Kansas, Kansas St., Iowa St., Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor

East- Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina
West- Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Auburn

Atlantic- Clemson, Boston College, Florida St., Wake Forest, North Carolina St., Maryland
Coastal- Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, Miami (FL), Virginia

Big East (*football only)
East- Syracuse, Rutgers, Connecticut, South Florida, Navy*, Army*
West- Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Louisville, Memphis, UCF

Mountain West

North- BYU, Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado St., Boise St., Hawaii
South- TCU, Fresno St., Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego St.

East- ECU, Southern Miss, Marshall, UAB, Louisiana Tech, Tulane
West- North Texas, Rice, UTEP, Tulsa, SMU, Houston

East- Ohio, Temple, Bowling Green, Kent St., Buffalo, Akron, Miami (OH)
West- C. Michigan, N. Illinois, W. Michigan, Toledo, Ball St., E. Michigan

Idaho, Utah St., New Mexico St., San Jose St., Sacramento St., Portland St., Montana St., Montana, UC-Davis

Sun Belt
Troy, Middle Tennessee St., La.-Monroe, La.-Lafayette, Arkansas St., FIU, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Florida Atlantic

Further Expansion Explanations:

*The Big East could add Army and Navy as football-only counterparts (similar to their C-USA arrangement in the 90s-2004). Then UCF and Memphis to shore up the Orlando and Memphis markets, respectively. Basketball could and should toss DePaul and Seton Hall (DePaul much more likely than Seton Hall to fly with the other schools, of course).

*To try and gain back some of the numbers for BCS inclusion lost with Utah going to the Pac-10 (12), the Mountain West could add Hawaii. From there, they could either stay at 10, or grab Fresno St. and Nevada to both add more western destinations for Hawaii, and for UNLV and San Diego St. as well.

*Seeing the ship sinking around them, and realizing how little sense it made for them to be in the WAC in the first place, Louisiana Tech could go to C-USA to fill one of the holes left by UCF and Memphis's departure. The other whole could be filled by North Texas, who has spent $100 million on athletic renovations since 2004, and has always been out of place in the Sun Belt as the only Texas team. For both schools, travel costs would be reduced drastically.

*With just four teams left, the WAC could decide to bring in five teams to complete their membership. FCS powers Montana and Montana St. would be the top targets, along with Sacramento St., Portland St. and UC-Davis in order to grab some larger television markets (Sacramento, Portland and San Francisco, respectively). Another option would be re-merging with the Mountain West for the nation's lone superconference, but the MWC might not even take the four teams left in the scrap heap if it came down to it.

*After competing with eight teams for two years, the Sun Belt would (as scheduled) add South Alabama in 2013. Merging with the four remaining WAC teams really isn't an option due to travel logistics (the closest Sun Belt team would be in Louisiana-- not really an option).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NCAA Division 1-A (FBS) Superconference Realignment

I've decided to return from my blogging hiatus to weigh in on a topic that threatens to possibly shake the foundation of college sports as we know it. The talk about the seemingly imminent conference shakeup in the following weeks and months has become as omnipotent as its ramifications. Anyone involved in college sports, from players, coaches and administrators, to fans and bloggers have no choice BUT to care about each and every slight development, because no team will be unaffected if the dreaded "superconferences" become a reality. As an avid fan, and recent Syracuse alumnus, I can't help but also consider what it will mean for my school and its conference, the Big East. Though there is no doubt one or both will be shuffled in the aftermath, I've come up with a best-case solution for the conference and school, as well as the remaining entities as well. Check out my "least damage possible" eight superconference scenario below for the would-be 131 schools of Division I-A (FBS), and a possible postseason format to go with it. Also note that the only way this could ever shake out is if one of the biggest dominoes (Notre Dame) fails to fall. The next blog post will detail the restructured Division I-AA (FCS).

Big 16
East- Indiana, Michigan, Michigan St., Penn State, Ohio St., Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern
West- Iowa St., Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas St., Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

East- Arizona, Arizona St., Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma St., Oklahoma
West- Washington, Washington St., USC, UCLA, Stanford, California, Oregon, Oregon St.

Mountain West
North- BYU, Utah, Boise State, Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado St., Colorado, Utah St.
South- TCU, UNLV, San Diego St., New Mexico, Nevada, New Mexico St., San Jose St., San Diego St.

East- Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida St., Miami (FL)
West- Alabama, LSU, Mississippi, Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi St., Georgia Tech, Clemson

East- Boston Coll., UNC, Duke, Syracuse, UConn, Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest
West- Virginia Tech, Virginia, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Rutgers, Louisville, Pittsburgh, USF

East- Houston, SMU, Tulsa, UTEP, Rice, North Texas, North Colorado, Weber St.
West- Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, Montana St., Sacramento St., Eastern Washington, Idaho St., Portland St.

East- Temple, Ohio, Bowling Green, Toledo, Buffalo, Akron, Miami (OH), East Carolina
West- Kent St., Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Ball St., Marshall, Memphis

Sun Belt
East- Mid. Tennessee St., FIU, Florida Atlantic, Appalachian St., Western Kentucky, UCF, Southern Miss, Jacksonville St.
West- Troy, La.-Monroe, La.-Lafayette, Arkasnas St., Louisiana Tech, UAB, South Alabama, Tulane

Independents- Notre Dame, Army, Navy

From here, the BCS standings could still work-- alleviating any potential legal or logistical issues there. The winners of each of the eight conference tournaments would be seeded by their BCS ranking, along with four at-large schools, one of which could be Notre Dame if they win 10 games and have a BCS ranking above 12. These schools would then be placed into a 12-team single-elimination tournament, with the top four seeds getting a bye. Similar to the past rule, no more than two teams per conference can enter the tournament. All games would be held at current bowl sites, no team can face a conference foe in the first round. An example of what last year's postseason would have looked like under this format:

1. Alabama (SEC)
2. Texas (Pac-16)
3. Cincinnati (ACC)
4. TCU (MWC)
5. Florida (SEC at-large)
6. Boise State (MWC at-large)
7. Oregon (Pac-16 at-large)
8. Ohio St. (Big 16)
9. Houston (WAC)
10. Iowa (Big 16 at-large)
11. Central Michigan (MAC)
12. Troy (Sun Belt)

Round 1
(5) Florida over (12) Troy
(6) Boise st. over (11) Central Michigan
(7)Oregon over (10) Iowa
(8)Ohio St. over (9) Houston

(1)Alabama over (8) Ohio St.
(2)Texas over (7) Oregon
(6) Boise St. over (3) Cincinnati
(5) Florida over (4) TCU

(1) Alabama over (6) Boise St.
(5) Florida over (2) Texas

National Championship Game
(1) Alabama over (5) Florida