Expansion talk has died down now that actual games are being played. I’ll leave the game analysis for another post. I just had a thought that I can truly see play out that could be good or bad for college football, depending on how you look at it. And it has to do with the possibility of mega conferences.
It’s no secret Mike Slive of the SEC wants to make a mega conference. It’s also no secret the Pac-10 is looking to do the same. The Big Ten of course will always follow the lead of whatever the others are doing. And the ACC/Big East will just try to keep up. So just how could said super conferences come to be?
Let’s first make one thing clear: The WAC and MWC are walking very thin ice. The MWC television contract with the mountain is over after this season since Utah and BYU have left the conference. Good luck getting a new deal without the SLC market. The WAC has only 6 teams in 2 years, so they won’t be able to compete in the FBS. And no, you don’t just promote Montana, Sacramento State, UC David or Cal Poly. That’s not how the FCS to FBS move works. So the WAC can’t get any more teams and the MWC is struggling since they don’t have any draw in any significant market.
Just had to get that out there first. Now, the first domino to fall in the next wave of expansion will happen just after the 2012 season I predict. This will be Texas announcing they are going independent in football. This will set the Big 12 in a tailspin. Without the real money maker in the conference, the other schools will get pretty scared. At this point, you know the SEC would love nothing more than to come knocking at the door of Texas A&M once again. The fertile recruiting grounds of Texas would be great for the SEC. But they wouldn’t stop there. Oh no, why stop there when you could also grab Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? Then throw Missouri in to cap it at an even 16. That opens up Texas markets, all of Oklahoma and the St. Louis market. Not too shabby at all. Good schools and good revenues to be had there.
With the Big 12 being poached by the SEC the Pac-12 will be quick to react. They will try to snag Kansas and Kansas State and make it an even 14. And believe me, Kansas and Kansas State will be all about that. They may make a play for Texas Tech and TCU as well, but I wouldn’t think it very likely. This leaves Baylor and Iowa State to find new homes.
The Big Ten would finally kick it into gear and pick up 4 more schools themselves- Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and West Virginia. This leaves the Big East completely plundered, so the remaining teams, Cincinnati, Uconn, South Florida and Lousiville would all move to the ACC and the Big East would stop competing in football altogether.
This leaves us with the rest. The MWC and WAC would have to get things figured out. This means a play for Iowa State and Baylor potentially, and a merger of the schools. Don’t count out C-USA in all of that though, they may try to expand in this too. Look for them to pick up LA Tech and Baylor, maybe Iowa State as well. Then the rest of the WAC and MWC merge to remake the old WAC. I suppose this then means the new/old WAC would also be a mega conference, but only Boise State and maybe TCU would have any significance there.
I for one think this could work out really well. The conference championships then turn into a playoff of sorts. It wouldn’t be long until a true playoff came around after that. But I’m not sure colleges will think its best for the schools. It’s best for the bottom line as big conferences get big TV contracts, but is it worth it? We’ll have to wait and see after Texas goes independent, and you better believe that one is coming in the next 2-3 years.
What do you think?