On June 29th, Pat Forde published an article for Sports Illustrated titled “America, Realigned: A Radical Reimagining of the NCAA Landscape“. The idea was there as far as a reimagining, but his execution was poor.
He brought up North Dakota State, but then cut 11 FBS programs; UTEP, Texas State, UTSA, South Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Bowling Green, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Coastal Carolina, Troy, and Liberty all got the ax but he gave no reasoning. He also ended some rivalries by only allowing one non-conference game.
As we have stated countless times in the past, college football has never been about fairness or equal access to the College Football Playoff. It’s about keeping the big names big and the big conferences big. What’s the easiest way to fix this problem? Blow it all up and reimagine the sport as we know it.
We settled upon this.
- We’ve got a 144 school ecosystem, including everyone currently in the FBS as well as 14 FCS schools to balance out the math and geography.
- There are 12 conferences with 12 teams each, heavily based on geography to try to minimize travel. There are no more Power Five or Group of Five conferences. They’re a thing of the past. We gave the new conferences fun names too.
- Teams will play 12 games, with 10 conference games and two non-conference games in order to keep rivalries together if they are separated by conference (ex. Air Force, Army, and Navy).
- All 12 conference champions make the playoff. Seeding is chosen by a mix of the BCS system and the CFP committee. The top four seeds receive a first-round bye, while seeds 5–8 host seeds 9–12 at their home stadiums. The semifinals and championship game are conducted under the current CFP format.
A bunch of schools in the North East and then Liberty sneaks in because we had nowhere else to put them. Trust me, if we were cutting FBS programs, they’d be first on the list despite their deep pockets.
Do you know that band that was popular a while back and made that one song with Nelly? Yea we stole their name. South Alabama and Troy sneak in due to their closeness to Tallahassee.
Say “Carolina” with a thick southern accent and you get this name. We added the Carolina-adjacent Georgia teams to even out the numbers, which means that a conference with a bunch of interesting rivalries now gains App St versus Georgia Southern, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
Turns out there are exactly 12 FBS football programs in the state of Texas. The geography isn’t perfect, because the state is THIS BIG, but I can see this conference being appealing to most Texas-based fans of Texas-based teams. Also preserved that all-important UTSA/Texas State rivalry so, go us.
My fellow east coast people know about the pains of a midnight kickoff to watch Hawai’i play. Also, pray for San Jose State because… yikes.
Don’t forget the “THE” or they might throw a fit. A conference that’s half MAC schools and has Ohio State in it? I’ll enjoy watching them win the conference and complain the whole time until one of WVU, WKU, Marshall or Cinci gets hot and takes them down.
This is a delightfully compact conference, and it both maintains several rivalries and makes some good opportunities for new ones (looking at you, Tennessee and Memphis). Even the divisions look great if you wanted to go that route, as the geography splits rather seamlessly.
This one got itself a Suh’thun feel to it. The best of the SEC West intact? Check. Making Alabama play UAB annually as a conference game? Double-check. Postgame interviews with Coach O after losing to Tulane? Here. For. It.
Directional and non-directional Michigan unite! Michigan gets a road game that’s still a home game in Ypsilanti! There are some strong rivalries maintained here, and Notre Dame gets to let teams outbid each other for who gets to fill their two annual non-conference slots.
You take New Mexico State (who schedules like a Mountain West team anyway) and pair them with five MWC schools, plus some centrally located Utah schools and the folks in Arizona to round it out. What more could you want than a merger of #Pac12AfterDark and #MountainWestAfterDark?
Oklahoma taking a trip to the UNI-Dome? Say no more. Also shout out to Arkansas finally being forced to play Arkansas State, which should make a number of people in Jonesboro happy.
Shout out to Tom Petty. There’s a zero percent chance Wisconsin agrees to be with six FCS schools but hey, NDSU could probably hang with them. The teams in the heartland are so spread apart that they had to get broken up somehow, and the resulting geography meant that bringing up half the Big Sky to join NDSU made the most sense.
This is the quickest way to even out college football. You could create more money with an expanded playoff too. The only difference is the blue-bloods have to share money and air-time with everyone else now.
Gone are the days of 65% of the FBS being eliminated from playoff contention before they even play a game.
With this plan, college football reaches its peak potential.