Realignment – What’s Happening Now?

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 29, 2012


Dizzy from all the big changes? Here's the deal for each league.


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As if it hasn’t been hard enough to try figuring out who’s going to what bowl and who’s about to win what conference championship, the world of collegiate athletics has decided to ramp up the difficulty level a few notches.

For the most part, since all the shuffling began, most of the conference realignment news has come in the offseason, with plenty of time to digest, analyze and break down exactly what it all means. It was easy to understand the ramifications of Nebraska bailing on the Big 12 for the Big Ten, and it wasn’t hard to grasp the implications of Missouri and Texas A&M moving to the SEC. Now, good luck trying to figure out what Boise State and San Diego State’s true intentions are, and have fun attempting to dissect all the zaniness of the Sun Belt comings and goings along with whatever alliance Conference USA and the Mountain West are putting together.

So, what’s the deal with your conference?

Before diving in, it’s vital to note that all the rumors and all the inside information you’re hearing and reading isn’t worth half a bag of Funyuns. No one has the true scoop on any of this.

I was told over the last several months that Louisville was a mortal lock to go to the Big 12. For a year, I had several deep, deep inside the Missouri program telling me it was just a matter of time before the call came from the Big Ten. The ACC had no clue Maryland was going to jet, and the Big East continually gets blindsided by teams choosing to take off. This entire process is as secretive as it gets, so the easiest thing to do is sit back, relax and see what comes next.

With all of that in mind, for now, in an attempt to make sense of the madness, while realizing that nothing here is a given and there’s plenty of dust flying around that needs to settle, here’s what’s happening, what happened, and what’s likely going to happen for each conference.

ACC

The conference in its current form: ATLANTIC: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest. COASTAL: Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: The division alignments will likely change, but the teams in the conference will be Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
What’s happening? Maryland is leaving for the Big Ten, and Louisville, Pitt and Syracuse are newcomers, and Notre Dame will have an affiliation to the conference and the league’s bowl tie-ins, but won’t be a full member for football.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt You name the big ACC program and it’s being rumored to go elsewhere. The Big Ten is looking at everyone with a decent TV market, and the ACC is the most fertile ground for Commissioner Jim Delany to go to with Georgia Tech, North Carolina – even with the statement from AD Bubba Cunningham stating that the program isn’t going anywhere – Pitt, Syracuse and Virginia making the most logistical sense. The Florida State to the Big 12 and Virginia Tech to the SEC talk has been on ever since the realignment process started.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what’s going to happen Don’t get comfortable. Four years from now, Florida State and Miami will end up in the Big 12 and North Carolina and Virginia Tech will be part of the SEC. Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia will also be gone.

Big East

The conference in its current form: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pitt, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Boise State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, SMU, South Florida, UCF, Temple and Tulane
What's happening? The ACC takes from the Big East, the Big East takes from Conference USA. Rutgers is leaving for the Big Ten in 2014; Louisville, Pitt and Syracuse are going to the ACC; East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane and UCF are leaving Conference USA for the Big East next year; Boise State and San Diego State are coming from the Mountain West next year, but are lukewarm; and Navy is joining in 2015.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt No one really wants Cincinnati or Connecticut. East Carolina and UCF are merely stopping by for a cup of coffee and might be destined for the ACC. Boise State and San Diego State really and truly will join the Big East, and they’re each going to hope BYU comes aboard.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen The Big East will be a beefed up Conference USA and will eventually start taking MAC teams to get up to 14.

Big 12

The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Same as above
What's happening? Nothing – for now. Louisville was supposed to be a lock, but that didn’t happen.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt Florida State has been rumored to make the move over to the Big 12 for a while, but it’s waiting to see just how the whole $50 million exit fee problem Maryland is facing works itself out.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen The Big 12 will have to battle to hold on to Kansas, but it will eventually strengthen itself with Florida State, BYU and Miami.

Big Ten

The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: LEADERS: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin. LEGENDS: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: LEADERS: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin. LEGENDS: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, however, there will almost certainly be some form of realignment after Maryland and Rutgers join.
What's happening? Maryland and Rutgers will join the conference in 2014.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt You name it and it might not be that far off. Remember, this is the conference that floated out the Texas-is-on-the-table trial balloon. Kansas, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech - if there’s a decent TV market, Jim Delany has been rumored to want it.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen Global domination. Maryland and Rutgers is hardly going to be the end of the fun. The money will be too astronomical and greedy heads will eventually prevail – Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Notre Dame will be part of the Big Ten within the next five years.

Conference USA

The conference in its current form: EAST: East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Southern Miss, UAB, UCF. WEST: Houston, Rice, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB, UTSA, UTEP
What's happening? Get comfortable and take a deep breath. East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane and UCF are all moving to the Big East. Charlotte and Old Dominion will be independents for a few years before becoming full members in 2015. Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas and Middle Tennessee are coming in from the Sun Belt, while UTSA is joining after spending one year in the WAC.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech are destined for the Big East, and a slew of Sun Belt programs are getting ready to make the jump.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen Conference USA will be the land of misfit programs, taking all the stars from the Sun Belt to make up for being a staging area for the Big East.

MAC

The conference in its current form: EAST: Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Massachusetts, Miami University, Ohio. WEST: Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Same as above
What's happening? Not much, UMass joined the league last year and Temple left for the Big East, but the conference is in a relatively nice place. The schools aren’t big enough revenue-wise for anyone to poach, and unless the Big East comes calling, there’s no real plus for anyone to go to Conference USA.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are newcomers to the Sun Belt, and while they might not be a perfect geographic tie-in, they’re not all that far from Ball State and a slew of the Ohio teams. However, they might be destined soon for Conference USA.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen Conference USA is going to raid the league. The MAC is the one untapped area for low-level conferences to drill, and Northern Illinois, Toledo and Ohio are attractive.

Mountain West

The conference in its current form: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming
What's happening? San Jose State and Utah State are coming in from the WAC, and Boise State and San Diego State are absolutely, positively leaving for the Big East – sort of. The Pac-12 doesn’t want the Broncos or the Aztecs, and the Big East came calling, so despite the bizarre geography issues, it’s money-grab time. However, neither school has exactly been doing cartwheels over joining a dying league, but they both reaffirmed that they’re not going to be a part of the Mountain West.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt BYU will return. Life as an independent is fine, but there’s only so much the program can do without going unbeaten. The football types quickly realized that being locked in to the Poinsettia Bowl sort of stinks.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen At some point over the next five years, the Big 12 will grab Colorado State, Fresno State and Nevada to bulk up the base. Boise State and San Diego State will then bail on the Big East and join the Big 12.

Pac-12

The conference in its current form: NORTH: California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, Washington State. SOUTH: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC, Utah
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Same as above
What's happening? Nothing. The league has been silent for the moment, but ...
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt The Pac-12 isn’t going to sit this one out. Geography is a problem, but the league isn’t above getting creative. It made a huge push for Oklahoma and other Big 12 teams a few years ago, and Kansas is on the radar because of basketball. There’s no interest in the Mountain West teams, and BYU just isn’t going to happen, so look out for one more shot at seeing if a few Big 12 programs might want to move.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen If it’s not a big move, it won’t happen. If the Pac-12 wants to go after the Big 12, it has to happen immediately or else the incentive won’t be there for a program like Oklahoma State or Kansas to take off.

SEC

The conference in its current form: EAST: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt. WEST: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Texas A&M
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Same as above
What's happening? There are plenty of rumors, but nothing is happening. The SEC powers-that-be are settling in with their new additions, Missouri and Texas A&M.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt Virginia Tech. It’s the right move to expand to a new and different area. There isn’t much smoke around the idea of bringing in seemingly natural tie-ins - Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami – but North Carolina and NC State have the potential to join.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen Virginia Tech is going to come on board within the next three seasons bringing with either North Carolina or NC State. A big pitch will be made for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as a pairing.

Sun Belt

The conference in its current form: Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, South Alabama, Troy, Western Kentucky
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, Western Kentucky
What's happening? Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee and North Texas are leaving for Conference USA this year. Georgia State is moving up into the FBS and the Sun Belt, and Texas State is coming over from the WAC.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, ULM, Texas State and WKU are going to hang around for about 35 more minutes before they leave for Conference USA.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen With all the top teams destined to leave, the Sun Belt won’t be around as an FBS football conference five years from now.

WAC

The conference in its current form: Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Texas State, UTSA, Utah State.
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Pining for the fjords.
What's happening? It’s over. Louisiana Tech and UTSA are leaving for Conference USA; San Jose State and Utah State are going to the Mountain West; and Texas State is leaving for the Sun Belt. Idaho and New Mexico State are the only two programs left.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt The WAC is trying to find a way to reboot with a slew of FCS teams.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen It has been a fun run, but the WAC will eventually be an FCS football conference.

Independents

The conference in its current form: Army, BYU, Navy, Notre Dame
The conference in 2015 form, as of right now: Army, BYU, Idaho, New Mexico State, Notre Dame (sort of)
What's happening? Notre Dame is dipping its toe in the ACC. Navy is going to the Big East in 2015, and Idaho and New Mexico State are trying to figure out what to do after life in the WAC and with no other conference extending invites.
Wacky rumor and scuttlebutt Independence is always the nuclear option when it comes to leverage for Texas. With its own network and with the reach and alumni base, Texas doesn’t need the Big 12 as much as the Big 12 needs Texas.
Throw-it-at-the-wall guess on what's going to happen BYU will eventually join either the Big East or the Mountain West. Notre Dame will align with a conference at some point in the next five years, and Army will end up in the Big East to join Navy. Idaho and New Mexico State will become a part of the hemorrhaging Sun Belt.