I've read so many articles about Big 10 conference expansion and how it will affect the college football landscape, my head is spinning with all of the ideas flying around in there. I recently dumped all of it, opened my mind, and gave the idea some serious thought. I think it would be good for college football as a whole if the major conferences (Big 6) combined into four super conferences with 16 teams each divided into two 8-team divisions. We currently have 120 FBS teams in division one, and to me, that is way too many. The FBS is watered down, and needs a good streamlining to make it more credible. No disrespect to those such as the WAC, Sunbelt, etc., as they have some pretty competitive games (and fun to watch) within the conference, but enough is enough. 120 is too many, and 64 is more like it. Yes, there will be some that are left out of the super conference idea (that's all it really is right now...an idea), however in the end programs like Houston, East Carolina and UCONN would have a real chance at playing for and winning a national championship in a newly formed division of the FBS, the way Appy State and Richmond have as of late in the FCS. Right now, they don't stand a chance of winning a BCS national championship, let alone get there. So, from my mind to yours, this is how I would like to see all of this pan out.
Four super conferences representing four regions of the country, the northeast, midwest, southeast and the west. 64 of the nation's top programs split by region into four super conferences could lead to great things on the college football landscape. A new division would need to be created to identify these 64 teams as the top division in football (although that would be obvious to the rest), which would allow some kind of national championship series or rankings for the new mid-major division. FBS-A and FBS-AA respectively comes to mind. This "mid-major" division (FBS-AA) would continue to be eligible for bowl games against each other or against teams from the top division (FBS-A). A few teams from current Big 6 conferences would transition down to FBS-AA as the current non-AQ conferences would combine or simply add other teams. We are talking about 56 programs here, combining into four or five conferences. The BCS could still exist, but the BCS rankings would not determine the national championship game participants...a playoff would. Each super conference in FBS-A would have a conference championship game between the champions of each 8-team division. The playoffs start here, the first Saturday in December. The conference champions would then be seeded 1-4, and would use the current BCS bowl structure to play the round leading up to the national championship game on January 1st. The winners are the national championship game participants, obviously, and the current format for determining location and date of the game would be the same as it is today.
The bowl system would remain intact, however the tie-in contracts may have to be renegotiated.
Here's how the conferences could be set up:
South East Conference SEC
North East Conference (Big 10)
Midwest Conference (Big 12)
West Conference (PAC 10)
San Diego State
Teams would play everyone in their division and one team from the other division on a rotating basis, or the same team every year (to continue rivalries). Four out-of-conference games would be scheduled, mainly from other FBS-A conferences, however FBS-AA teams could also get scheduled. Teams could schedule not more than one FCS team per season, and no more than two in a five season period. FBS-AA teams could schedule up to five FCS opponents in a five season period, and no more than two per season. However, when scheduling two FCS teams in a given season, the FBS-AA team must have at least six FBS-A or FBS-AA wins to become bowl eligible.
The super conference championship would pit the two division champs against each other for the right to be seeded and play for a national championship with the other conference champions. In the event of identical division records, the head-to-head result would determine the division champion. In the event of a three-way tie and head-to-head results don't clearly determine the champion, the highest BCS ranked team would be considered the division champion.
The four conference champions would be seeded according to final BCS ranking, and those teams would be pitted 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 to be played within the current BCS bowl structure (Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, Rose). The locations would be rotated, like the national championship game is today. The two BCS bowls not included in the playoff would take turns picking teams based on BCS rankings, more than likely the highest ranked runners-up from conference championship games. The other bowl games would be filled according to conference tie-ins and would include teams from FBS-AA. The BCS would also rank FBS-AA teams separately from FBS-A teams. The #1 and #2 teams in the final FBS-AA BCS poll would play for the FBS-AA national championship at a pre-determined bowl game site.
Wow, that was a lot to think about. I know there are many other ideas out there, but in my opinion, this type of structure would benefit college football. That's not to say other ideas wouldn't. A structure such as this gets us to something that resembles a playoff without putting the bowl structure at risk.
I haven't looked into the issue of money, but I'm sure the revenue would almost double especially if each conference had their own network. Basketball, and all other sports associated would fall under this conference concept as well. No Notre Dame football independence, and Big East in basketball, as an example. Hockey would still be aligned as it is now.
I'm interested in your ideas, so let me have it.
Conference Expansion Talks - Time to Act
Posted on: April 15, 2010 4:04 pm