Conference realignments for 2012: A handy guide

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

It's July 1 and although the 2012 college football season is still two months away, this is a rather important day for the season ahead. It's the day all the schools that changed conferences officially join their new conferences.

Now, unlike in previous seasons when only one or two schools would move and it was easy to keep track of what's going on, there are a lot of schools moving this season. Try as you might, it could be easy to forget who is going where. But lucky for you the Eye on College Football Blog has created this handy guide, where we'll break it down conference by conference.

ACC

Welcome: Nobody this season, actually. The ACC is one of only a few conferences not undergoing any changes this season. Though that will change in 2014 when both Pitt and Syracuse join the conference. Of course, it could happen in 2013 depending on what takes place in a few select courtrooms over the next 12 months.

Farewell: Nobody, but don't think for a second the rumors of Florida State and Clemson are going to die. We're not saying that either school is going to leave, we're just saying people love rumors.

BIG 12

Welcome: TCU and West Virginia. There have been many changes to the Big 12 over the last few seasons, starting with the defections of Nebraska and Colorado . For the first time since the conference formed from the remnants of the Big 8 and SWC, however, the Big 12 is adding schools.

Farewell: Missouri and Texas A&M. Yes, Missouri and Texas A&M have moved on to what they feel are the greener pastures of the SEC, leaving behind a couple of college football's most heated rivalries while doing so. Sure, they'll miss their old friends, but there are always new friends to be made and new fights to get into with them.

BIG EAST

Welcome: Come next season Big East realignment will need its own separate post, but for 2012 the only new addition is Temple. Yes, Temple has reunited with the same conference that kicked it out following the 2004 season after the Owls had compiled 14-80 record in conference play. It's like they always say, "time heals all wounds," except in this case, time is money.

Farewell: As documented above, West Virginia has left the conference for the Big 12. Meaning that the Big East has lost one of its most powerful football programs of the BCS era.

BIG TEN

No changes for the conference that got the latest round of realignment rolling when it lured Nebraska away from the Big 12. Now that it and the Pac-12 are both at 12 teams, the two conferences have decided they don't need anybody else just as long as they have each other and New Year's in Pasadena.

CONFERENCE USA

Nothing to report this season, but come back in 2013.

INDEPENDENTS

Welcome Georgia State? Sort of. The Panthers are about as independent as they come because they aren't allowed to compete for the Colonial Athletic Association conference title and they won't be playing a full Sun Belt schedule until 2013. So the school officially is in a transition year.

MAC

Welcome: The MAC is that awkward teen who is really awesome once you get to know him. It's only after being lab partners for a few months that you understand why the MAC feels the need to have 13 schools when everybody else wants a nice even number. So even though you may be confused and even somewhat leery of your new friend, Massachusetts, we think you'll like your new home.

Farewell: Goodbye to Temple which has left the MAC for its ex, the Big East. He's not as handsome as he used to be, no, but he's still pretty good at basketball.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Welcome: With all the changes that have been made in the Mountain West in recent seasons this conference has orientation down pat. So it won't be long until newcomers like Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii know their way around the place.

Farewell: TCU has departed the Mountain West to move back home to the Big 12. It will be sorely missed. So much so, in fact, that we can't help but notice Boise State looking out the window all day during class.

PAC-12

Too busy counting money and holding hands with the Big Ten to expand.

SEC

Welcome: Don't be scared, Texas A&M and Missouri. We know that your knew classmates look a little scary, can say some mean things, and may in fact be out of their minds, but as long as you love football they will love you too. Just don't make eye contact with Alabama. It needs to know it's the alpha.

Farewell: Who would want to leave the SEC?

SUN BELT

Welcome: South Alabama has not only moved on to a new conference, it's moved up a level like that gifted kid you knew in the third grade. The Jaguars had been living life as an FCS Independent, but now they're going to get FBS socialized.

Farewell: Nobody leaves the Sun Belt! Just listen to that name! The Sun Belt. It sounds like the happiest place on Earth!

WAC

Welcome: At the moment the WAC is that public school that has had its funding slashed so many times there's only one football to be shared between each of its members. Hopefully Texas State and Texas-San Antonio will bring their own.

Farewell: Or I suppose they can hope that Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii left their old footballs behind.

 
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