College Football is its own little world and sometimes is unusual. From the obscure traditions, strange trophies, and even some conferences don’t make sense. The Big Ten has 14 teams while the Big 12 only has 10 teams. The traditions no matter how strange are a part of what makes college football great but what if we fixed the conferences. I understand that academics can play a part in realignments, but for this hypothetical let’s just throw those details out the window.
The first thing we are doing is getting rid of the names. The conferences will be named after the geographical location of the teams. College football will have 5 Power conferences. West, North, Midwest, East, and South. I tried to keep most rivalries intact, and also had to bump up some group of 5 teams to even out the conferences the best I can. Each conference has 14 teams splitting them up into two separate divisions.
North- Boston College, Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, West Virginia
South-Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
The EASTERN conference takes teams from the east coast. Stretched as far south as Clemson and as north as Boston College. I tried to keep the majority of the old BIG EAST with some ACC that geographically made sense. In the Northern division West Virginia, Penn State, Maryland, Syracuse, and Pitt get to play each other every year like the glory days before 1993. Penn State fans may be disappointed that they won’t be playing two other blue blood programs (Michigan and Ohio State) every year but will be excited to be the perennial power in their division. The Southern division is a mixture of both Coastal and Atlantic divisions in the ACC. All North Carolina teams are in the same division and will play each other every year.
West- Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
East- Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Miami, South Carolina
The old SEC with two of the most recognizable programs in college football in Miami and Florida State. The divisions are almost the same with Tennessee and Vandy jumping to the west. The East keeps Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina while adding Georgia Tech, Miami, and Florida State. “Good Old Fashion Hate”, along with the major Florida schools all get to play each other for a divisional game. This will now open up their non-conference schedules to branch out and play schools they normally would not.
West-Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Wisconsin
East- Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue
Here is the major downfall of this whole realignment. Notre Dame joins the North conference and is put in the west division. The good news for them is that they have the chance of playing rivals such as Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue in cross over games. It also gives Wisconsin more competition for that divisional crown. Add Louisville and Cincinnati which now can renew their rivalry for the Keg of Nails.
South- Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas Tech
BIG 7- Colorado, Kansas, Kansas State, Mizzou, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
This realignment will make old school fans lighten up with joy. The Big 7 division is constructed from the BIG 8. The South division is created with all major programs from Texas and Arkansas. Why Arkansas? They were a major player in the Southwest Conference which mostly featured schools in Texas and Arkansas. We also get Nebraska Texas A&M and Mizzou are all playing their Midwest rivals again, and back where they belong.
North-Boise State, BYU, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Washington, Washington State
South-Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Fresno State, Stanford, UCLA, USC
The west doesn’t change too much. The divisions are almost identical. It is the current Pac-12 minus Colorado but adding Fresno State, Boise State, and BYU. Boise State has been one of the best group of 5 teams for longer than a decade and it would be excellent to see them in a major conference. BYU has a rich history and can continue its rivalry with Utah in a divisional game. Fresno State was the last team I added to this conference to make 14 teams. Fresno State hasn’t been in the public eye like Boise, they are pretty much their “little brother”, but they have always been a respectable program. Keeping all the California teams in one conference is an extra element I believe west coast fans will thoroughly enjoy.
GROUP of 5
A lot of you might be asking. “Well, how will this affect the Group of 5 conferences?” I have an easy fix. The AAC loses Houston and Cincinnati. The solution is Marshall will leave Conference USA, and join the AAC giving the AAC 10 teams. Marshall has enough popularity that it should be an easy transition to the AAC. Conference USA will survive with 13 members. The Mountain West will lose Boise State and Fresno State, which are in separate divisions. Mountain West would then have 10 teams, and there would be no need to add any more.
College football is truly one of a kind. Having bragging rights over your friends and family from neighboring states adds to the college football fun. This realignment gives us old school rivalries, along with a common-sense geographical structure that makes it easier for fans to travel to away games, and enhance their college football experience.