The Pac-12 or the Big 14?

It’s the offseason so we are talking expansion yet again. There’s nothing else going on for the most part now that the draft is over. So let’s look at how things have gone the past few months in the expansion scene. The Big Ten said they are still on track to expand, possibly to 14 teams now. The Pac-10 has confirmed they are looking at expansion (ie: stalling until the Big Ten expands). The SEC has even said expansion isn’t off the table if that’s what it takes to be the self-perceived “awesomest” conference in college football. But what is really going to happen? One things for sure, we’re either getting a Pac-12 or a Big 14.

Let’s look at the Pac-10 first. Great conference, great schools, great sports and great academics…but no championship game, so not great revenue (at least not as great as it could be). You know the new AD is looking at those SEC, Big 12 and ACC championship games and wondering what it would take to bring in that kind of money each year, along with the enhanced credibility and BCS rankings. The answer to that is simple: invite Utah and BYU into the conference already.

You need to keep two natural rivals as all other teams in the conference are rival pairs. You need to keep good sports teams. You need to keep strong academics. There’s absolutely no other set of two schools in the pacific region that could fill that criteria. Utah and BYU are as good as in the Pac-12…most certainly coming to you in 2012. Imagine the great advertising- Pac 12 in 2012! I can see it now…

But what about the Big Ten? Jim Delany says they’re still taking their time (ie: drawing out the media attention as long as possible) and weighing their options. And here they are: Option 1- become twelve teams. Option 2- become 14 teams. Option 3- become 16 teams. Which is more likely and which teams do they take if it goes that route?

I would say the Big 14 is a strong possibility. Top contenders there are Missouri, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Uconn, Rutgers and Louisville. Maybe even Notre Dame, but I’m not sure they’re up for joining a conference. A move to twelve teams would most certainly bring in Missouri or Syracuse. A move to 14 teams would bring in Missouri, Syracuse and Rutgers. A move to 16 teams would add Pitt and West Virginia if they were willing. But I think we’re likely to see Syracuse boggie out of the Big East and head to the Big Ten.

So what must the Big East do to respond? Well, if the MWC keeps Utah and BYU and picks up Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State or whoever else, they will be a BCS conference, and will likely get 12 teams so they can have a championship game. Meanwhile, the Big East will surely lose at least Syracuse if not more to the most lucrative conference in college sports. In order to survive they will need to essentially poach the whole CUSA. That means Memphis, Central Florida, Marshall and who knows how many others are headed to the Big East pretty soon.

Mark my words, 2012 is going to be the year of the great conference realignment. This is of course to coincide with December 21, 2012, which is the supposed galactic alignment and end of the world. The Mayans and others foresaw that day. My guess is that the galactic alignment with the black hole will suck all the BCS executives into the oblivion of space and that we will finally get a playoff. That would be the end of the old college football world and beginning of a new dynasty. Hey you can always dream, right?