Posted on: September 25, 2011 3:01 am
Edited on: September 25, 2011 3:22 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. After stealing headlines in Week 3, the ACC (and future ACC) struggled in Week 4. A week ago, I was writing praises for commissioner John Swofford for taking action to ensure the ACC had a place in the uncertain future landscape of college football. The ACC was gathering praise for their off-field transactions and on-field victories over Auburn and Ohio State. In a fashion typical of this fluid college football world we live in - things have changed in seven days. Florida State was so beaten emotionally and banged up physically after their 23-13 loss to Oklahoma they could not play to their potential against Clemson in Death Valley. Maryland got embarrassed 38-7 by Temple at home, Virginia lost to Southern Miss at home, and Miami followed their defeat of the Buckeyes with a home loss to Kansas State.
Making the perception even worse, incoming members Pittsburgh and Syracuse both embarrassed the conference on Saturday. The Panthers could not muster a single fourth quarter score in their 15-12 loss to Notre Dame at home while Syracuse beat Toledo in an overtime that should have never happened. The week wasn't all bad - the games certainly revealed new legitimate conference contenders in Atlanta and Death Valley - but in comparison to the praises showered on the conference a week ago this was a pretty weak encore.
2. Georgia Tech ready to challenge Virginia Tech for Coastal Division. After gaudy victories against Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee, we were intrigued by Georgia Tech. After decisive victories against Kansas and a talented North Carolina team, we know Paul Johnson's team is back and ready to compete for an ACC title. When Josh Nesbitt broke his arm last season, Tevin Washington took over and the offense struggled to maintain the level of production due to a rough adjustment period and an unhealthy habit of turning the ball over. The changes in the offense which the coaching staff has discussed all offseason have been clearly visible in the Yellow Jackets' 4-0 start. Not only is the triple option sharper with less turnovers, but Tevin Washington has gotten comfortable throwing the ball as well. With the physical Stephen Hill as his favorite target, Washington actually leads the nation in passing plays of more than 50 yards.
The Yellow Jackets dominated the Tar Heels on Saturday, much more than the 35-28 victory would suggest. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has not faced any opponents of note for comparison and has not looked particularly impressive offensively. While the Hokies defense seems to have found their grit back, holding teams basically no yards on the ground, Logan Thomas and running back David Wilson are still getting used to their new full-time starting positions. Virginia Tech is still the favorite to win the division thanks to a favorable draw, but the Yellow Jackets are right up there with a more convincing resume at this point for the strongest team in the Coastal Division.
3. Clemson's win does not put them in the driver's seat yet. Clemson's victory over Florida State in Death Valley was reaffirming. It was reaffirming to Dabo Swinney that his efforts to recruit players like sophomore Tajh Boyd and freshman Sammy Watkins would pay off for the program. It was reaffirming to offensive coordinator Chad Morris that his newly installed system could roll against the best defensive units in the nation when executed properly. It was reaffirming to a fan base who doubted their team's ability to beat two ranked opponents in a row, that the 2011 Tigers could compete for an ACC title.
But this "driver's seat" talk that is being tossed around? That's a little much.
Two wins over ranked opponents do not automatically erase several seasons of inconsistency within Clemson football in recent history. A 1-0 conference record with a win over Atlantic Division favorite Florida State does not pencil you in to the ACC Championship Game, but it does eliminate one of the most difficult obstacles on the schedule.
The Tigers faced Florida State at THE most opportune time. EJ Manuel out with a shoulder strain. Greg Reid and Bert Reed both out with injuries. The entire team coming down after losing the biggest game of the regular season 23-13 on the biggest stage. But those intangibles are not the sole reason the Tigers put up 455 yards of total offense on Florida State, in fact they are likely a small fraction. The Clemson defense, which has received very little attention so far this season, dropped back against a suddenly one-dimensional Florida State offense while the front four applied pressure to redshirt freshman quarterback Clint Trickett. They were able to come up with just enough stops to secure the 35-30 win and set up the Tigers with an incredible opportunity to jump ahead in the ACC Atlantic Division race.
Are the Tigers in the "driver's seat?" No. But if they can do it again at Virginia Tech, we might have a different conversation on our hands.
4. Jury is still out on Miami and Maryland. Maybe it is because they played a memorable season opener against each other on Labor Day, but Miami and Maryland both have started the season in different yet equally confusing fashions. Miami bounced back from the loss to the Terps with a defensive showcase against Ohio State with four of their suspended players back in the lineup. Maryland has come back from making headlines with the Miami win and shockingly memorable jerseys with two straight losses to West Virginia and Temple. As we saw on Saturday night, West Virginia is a formidable opponent and far from an embarrassing loss. Temple, on the other hand, should be a cause for concern for Terps' fans.
Additionally, Miami's win over Ohio State was supposed to be a signature win for Al Golden and this new attitude in the Miami football program. But the defense that looked so sharp against Ohio State gave up 265 rushing yards to the Wildcats, and forced the Hurricanes offense to scramble just to get back in the game. On paper both of these teams should be among the best in the conference. But their performances have been inconsistent and difficult to interpret, making it tough for any fan to judge exactly how good these teams could be come November.
5. Gio Bernard is ready to be the feature back in Chapel Hill. Entering the season, it was expected that redshirt senior Ryan Houston would be the starting running back. A big bruiser with an ability to withstand the first and second hit, Houston was going to be featured with sophomore Giovani Bernard as the change-of-pace back. It only took two games before interim coach Everett Withers started splitting the workload more evenly, and when the Tar Heels faced Georgia Tech in their first road test of the season it was Bernard who was the featured running back in the offense.
The 5-foot-10 shifty back from Florida answered the call with an impressive performance that basically kept the Tar Heels competitive for our quarters against the high powered Georgia Tech offense. Bernard rushed 17 times for a career high 155 yard and two touchdowns. He was also a threat in the screen game, with 5 receptions for 47 yards. As sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner has become more conservative against tougher defenses, Bernard's role has increased. If he can replicate Saturday's performance on a weekly basis, it would make life much easier for the first-year starter under center.
Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Tags: ACC, Al Golden, Bert Reed, Bryn Renner, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Clint Trickett, Conference Realignment, Dabo Swinney, David Wilson, EJ Manuel Jimbo Fisher, Everett Withers, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Giovani Bernard, Greg Reid, Jacory Harris, John Swofford, Josh Nesbitt, Kansas State, Logan Thomas, Maryland, Miami, Paul Johnson, Stephen Hill, Tevin Washington, Virginia Tech, What I Learned
Posted on: September 22, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 11:06 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Eye on College Football: The latest conference realignment news
RapidReports: Up to the minute information on conference shifts
Chaos? Nah. We're all one big happy family.
Texas is in. Oklahoma too. Missouri has helped lead the charge.
That's the message that came out of middle America Thursday night. The Big 12 was saved and nine teams are committed to the future. Things were different, it was time to move forward.
Despite the Sooners flirting with the Pac-12 and the Tigers with the SEC, everybody was staying put. The other Big 12 schools pledged solidarity led by the two schools who had explored leaving more than anyone.
Make no bones about it, Oklahoma wanted to go West and the only way that could have happened was if they could have convinced Texas to make concessions. That didn't happen and the Sooners had to concentrate on saving the conference they had spend the past 16 years in.
"This is a positive development for our state," President David Boren said. "It's a win-win for all of us. I'm optimistic about the future of this conference."
Never has there been so much optimism about a conference that someone wanted to leave days earlier than there was Thursday night in Norman.
Commissioner Dan Beebe, as part of the demands made by the Sooners, was pushed out in favor of former Big Eight commish and current consultant Chuck Neinas. Beebe would likely have been looking for a new job regardless what happened this week after the Big 12 nearly imploded for a second time in just over a year. He was placed in an impossible situation - between a rock (Texas), a hard place (Oklahoma) and a vulture (Larry Scott) - but he did an admirable job considering the circumstances.
Beebe did, after all, keep the league together following the departure of Colorado and Nebraska and added a millions to every school's coffers with a big second tier rights agreement. The commissioner's best move might have been, however, giving life to a hilarious alter ego on Twitter.
“I have been honored to serve the Big 12 Conference for the past eight and one-half years, including the last four-plus as its commissioner," Beebe said in a statement. "I care deeply for these fine institutions and the citizens they represent. It is satisfying to know the Big 12 Conference will survive, and I congratulate the members for taking strong action to ensure a bright future as a premier intercollegiate athletics conference."
Beebe's next move is anyone's guess. He'll be well taken care of after negotiating out of a new contract that was signed just last year. Perhaps he should head back to the NCAA, where he once was an investigator on staff, and help President Mark Emmert navigate the murky waters of college athletics he knows all to well.
"The bottom line is we achieved substantial reforms," Boren said. "We feel extremely good."
Yet, in a move reflective of how dysfunctional the conference still was, confusion reigned before, during and after Missouri and Oklahoma's dueling press conferences to announce those reforms. At one point, Boren's voice came through while Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton was speaking on his call. One school leader said one thing, another school's leader said something slightly different.
Boren filibustered - he is a former senator - about the Big 12 agreeing to a six-year grant of right for each all first and second tier media rights. Everybody was putting their faith in the conference for the next six years. Television revenue would be shared equally for the first time in the league's history. All for one (conference), one for all.
But that wasn't what the Tigers said. A spokesman told the New York Times that there was only "an agreement to pursue the grant of rights." Oklahoma's general counsel later told the Associated Press no contracts were signed.
The Big 12 schools wanted to imprison themselves to a conference hours from breaking apart but they couldn't even do that properly. To say that was this whole saga in a nutshell would be doing it a disservice. Wednesday and Thursday were supposed to be about saving something but what, exactly, was that?
Everybody was moving forward together, but are they really? Sschools were concerned about Texas and ESPN's Longhorn Network yet they had just gotten engaged to be married the next six years without any promises in return about LHN. Boren later added that it "was very possible" Oklahoma would be the second school with their own network. Instead of working on a problem, it appears the Sooners would rather double-down.
Texas has always been about Texas. The Pac-12, under Scott, has always been about the conference and the biggest reason as to why they wouldn't budge to meet the Longhorns' demands. The same is true in the Big Ten where just a few years ago they extended their grant of rights at least 20 more years. Schools have gone all in on their conferences while Texas hasn't. They've gone all in on Texas.
And that's their right. But if it looks like an independent (The Longhorn Network), walks like an independent (exploring life after the Big 12 numerous times) and talks like an independent (DeLoss Dodds), then the Longhorns might just be an independent.
And that's what needs to change. We'll see how firmly committed to the Big 12 Texas really is over the coming weeks and months.
"There are a number of trust issues that have to be discussed," Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said earlier in the day. "I think there is a commitment that has to be discussed long-term."
Trust or no trust, the Big 12 schools are about to sign a binding agreement no one wants to sign.
"The University of Missouri is going to continue to work for what is best for the University of Missouri," Deaton said. "We have seen that aligned with the Big 12 Conference and we will continue to work with the various issues we have within the conference to carry it forward."
Conspicuously absent from all the activity was the one school that everybody was upset at. Accused of running the conference via proxy, ruining the Sooners' hopes of heading west and driving rival Texas A&M to another conference, one didn't hear much - if anything - about the Texas.
"The University of Oklahoma has no decision to drive the train anywhere. We have no desire to dominate the Big 12 conference," Boren said. "I hope no one will write in the future that anyone is driving the train in this conference."
Boren's right, it's not time to write, it's time to toast. The Big 12 has been saved.
To six more years of hating Texas!
Posted on: September 22, 2011 7:32 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 7:32 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While the era of the superconference seems to have been pushed back a bit in recent days, for a while it sounded like the first one to form would have been the Pac-12 after the conference accepted Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. Well, now that we know that won't be happening, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott went on KJR-AM in Seattle on Thursday afternoon to talk about how close his conference came to expanding.
Turns out, it wasn't as close as everybody believed.
"It wasn't nearly as close as the media painted it out to be," said Scott. "If you paid attention to where the media reports where coming from that it was imminent, it was all out of Texas."
Scott went on to say that a deal could never be reached with Texas because the school just wasn't willing to share its revenue from the Longhorn Network, which he fully understood. Scott also went on to say that while Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were interested in joining the Pac-12 with or without Texas, it just wouldn't have worked.
"Oklahoma wanted us to do that [go to 14 teams] so we looked at it, but 14 never really made sense to us. A 16 team conference could have been a blockbuster with Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State."
Scott also said that adding only the Oklahoma schools by themselves wouldn't have been as attractive, as Texas was the market the Pac-12 was really interested in adding to the fray.
As for whether or not his conference will once again be exploring the idea of expanding again in the future, don't count on it.
"We're not trying to send a signal that the door is open. We're thrilled with what we've got, we hope the world stays the way it is with 12-team conferences.
"I don't see any scenario in which we're going to be having this conversation anytime soon again."
It's a pretty interesting interview in its entirety, as Scott goes further into the dealings of the Pac-12 beyond just expansion. If you'd like to listen to the whole thing, you can find it here.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 3:54 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
With conferences seemingly finished playing musical chairs -- for now -- CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy sits down with Adam Aizer to talk about what's next for the Big East, and what plans the ACC has in store. They also manage to talk about football, specifically Braxton Miller's ascent to the top of the Ohio State depth chart, the Oklahoma offense, and the showdown in Morgantown between LSU and West Virginia that Brett will be attending this weekend.
Will McMurphy burn any couches on his trip? You'll have to listen to find out.
Listen below, download the mp3, pop out the player to continue browsing, and subscribe to the CFB Podcast in iTunes if you like what you hear.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 1:45 pm
Posted by Matt Norlander and Chip Patterson
Conference realignment has temporarily slowed down, at least for the time being. With Texas A&M leaving the Big 12, and Syracuse making a move to the ACC with Pittsburgh, it seems as though we have seen most of the moves for 2011. But the threat of a complete shift in the college landscape got us at CBSSports.com thinking: "How will this all look in 2014?"
We selected that end date because that is when the current agreements between the BCS and the AQ conferences expires. At that point, each conference will be re-evaluated to determine their status as an automatic qualifier for the Bowl Championship Series.
In a joint meeting of the minds between the college football and college basketball writers and bloggers, we mapped what we believe to be the most likely landscape for the six major conferences in 2014 for both sports. For some explanations on how the moves have/might come to be you can check out these realignment columns from Brett McMurphy and Jeff Goodman.
The 16-team superconferences is not something we envision happening before 2014. With the commitment from Big East and Big 12 schools to sticking together along with the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences sitting perfectly content with their current membership, it is unlikely there will be enough shuffling in the next two years for two whole conferences to completely dissolve from the BCS picture.
With the future conference rosters set, Matt Norlander and I took on the task of ranking the six leagues in our future conference power rankings. You can read his take on the future of the basketball conferences at the Eye on College Basketball, while I break down the football side at the Eye on College Football.
Our rankings, as expected, don't exactly line up. But we decided to make our judgements for the joint future conference power rankings based on a combination of football and basketball dominance, fan base, and conference stability.
It should come as no surprise then, that No. 1 on our joint power rankings is the Big Ten. With some of the most storied football programs in the game and four top-tier basketball programs, the conference is a leader in both major revenue sports. The conference was the first to pioneer their own television network, and will begin raking the revenue from their first football conference championship in 2012. Conference commissioner Jim Delany has stressed that the league will look for "quality not quantity" when it comes to expansion, and that's because - at least in our opinion - they are leading the way in college athletics.
Based on the projected movements, here are the CBSSports.com Future Conference Power Rankings
1. BIG TEN (FOOTBALL RANK: 2, BASKETBALL RANK: 2) - One of our criteria for the joint power rankings was stability, and it is hard to get more stable than the oldest Division I conference. From a football perspective they already had a history of greatness on their side, and then in their most recent expansion boosted their stats even more with the addition of Nebraska. By 2014 Ohio State and Michigan will be out from the cloud of uncertainty in football, joining the Cornhuskers, Michigan State, and Wisconsin to lead the Big Ten elite.
Norlander referred to Indiana as a "sleeping giant" in basketball and I think he's absolutely correct. The Big Ten fields the second-most NCAA tournament bids in this future conference landscape, only trailing the ACC. Tom Izzo hasn't discussed retirement anytime soon, and the Spartans will lead the way on the court while a slew of football powers will try to end the SEC's streak of national championships. The reason Delany is not stressed about quantity is because this conference does have the most quality. -- Chip Patterson
2. SEC (FOOTBALL RANK: 1, BASKETBALL RANK: 6) - You see the power that football has in our overall conference rankings evidenced right here. Because for as amazing as the Southeastern Conference is on the field, it’s downright dour on the maple. No matter, the league is arguably the most stable of any conference because it’s so comfortable with its identity. Winning half a hundred football titles will do that. The SEC will continue to dictate the tempo and story of college football so long as its storied programs keep outrunning the rest of the country with that Es Eee Cee Speed.
Kentucky can carry the load in hoops, and all will be well. – Matt Norlander
3. ACC (FOOTBALL RANK: 5, BASKETBALL RANK: 1) - From a football perspective, the ACC is adding three schools that combine for only three Top 25 finishes in the last decade. Additionally Virginia Tech's projected exit takes away four of the last seven conference championships. But in hoops? The expansion gives them 9 of the last 13 national champions and arguably five of the top programs in the nation. The increase in membership to 14 schools also adds stability to the conference, should there eventually be a shift to the 16 team superconference model. Losing Virginia Tech is a huge blow to the conference's football strength, but that fall-out is overshadowed by the new dominance in basketball. The combination puts them in the middle of the road for both sports, but opposite ends of the spectrum in each. -- CP
4. PAC-12 (FOOTBALL RANK: 3, BASKETBALL RANK: 4) - The Pac-12 is poised to eventually climb higher on this list thanks to its leadership and foresight into how to expand its brand and make loads of billions in the next decade. For now, the conference falls fourth in our overall rankings because its across-the-board quality in football and basketball, while solid, lacks the true dominance the SEC has in football, the ACC in basketball, and the utter balance the Big Ten owns in both.
But the league is secure. That we know. And no matter what happens down the road with conference tectonic-plate shifting, the West Coast will always need and demand representation. The Pac-12 will never fold. It may change names, but the conference will exist so long as we’re turning on the lights and rolling the ball out there. -- MN
5. BIG 12 (FOOTBALL RANK: 3, BASKETBALL RANK: 5) - The stability of this conference relies on Texas and Oklahoma. As the last several weeks have shown us, that is not a very comforting situation for the rest of the conference. But Longhorn Network be damned, this conference survived the Realignment Scare of 2011. With schools reportedly content with a 10-team football roster, BYU will bring some intrigue with their first opportunity in a BCS conference. The exit of Texas A&M does cause the conference to lose some of the traditional rivalries college football fans have come to know and love, but the Cougars will have a chance to carve their niche in the conference's history. Kansas is the cornerstone of Big 12 basketball, but it has been hard for any other teams to remain dominant over an extended period of time. Texas and Oklahoma will have to play nice with the new leadership in the conference office for this conference to survive past 2014. -- CP
6. BIG EAST (FOOTBALL RANK: 6, BASKETBALL RANK: 3) - Just as the SEC hangs near the top of our power rankings because of football, the Big East lives down below because its football side is not only dismal, it’s on the verge of barely qualifying as a major-conference worthy. Plenty would argue that’s already the case. And with Syracuse and Pitt now gone, in addition to the fact we’re envisioning UConn bolting for the ACC any time now, the basketball product takes a tremendous hit.
While the Big 12 and the Big East really seemed to wobble for a week or so there, the possibility of both leagues collapsing into each other becoming more likely until the Pac-12 stopped that, we rank the Big East lower than the Big 12 based off football alone. Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman talked about with me on the podcast Wednesday, and we discussed when the Big East will eventually come to accept that it’s not a football league, it’s never been a football league, and it’s never going to be one. And no matter how good your basketball schools are, if you can’t even look worthwhile compared to the rest of the big boys, then you probably shouldn’t even be at the table. -- MN
(Photo Credits: US Presswire)
Posted on: September 22, 2011 1:06 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Wasting no time attempting to get their foot in the door left open by Pitt and Syracuse, East Carolina announced Wednesday they had applied for membership in the Big East. From a statement by ECU athletic director Terry Holland:
"East Carolina University will always maintain a proactive approach in regards to positioning itself for future success, and the fluidity of current conference realignment possibilities is no exception."Openly announcing that you've applied to a different conference is a curious definition of "remaining focused" on succeeding in Conference USA, we'd argue, and when we say "openly" we mean it. Contrast the continued (open) secrecy of, say, West Virginia's attempt to join the ACC or SEC with e-mailing 50 different media members the news of your application before the Big East has even had a chance to give it a serious thought -- it arrived the same day ECU announced they'd put it in the mail -- and you'll see how badly the Pirates want to be taken as a serious candidate for Big East expansion.
But this is nothing new for the Greenville, N.C. school. Back in 2008, the Hartford Courant reported that ECU officials would be willing to make a stunning number of concessions if the Big East would give them their big break at the BCS level.
Among the offers allegedly on the table: that ECU would forgo entirely their share of Big East revenue on a "trial basis," so that conference revenues for the res tof the league remained constant; forgoing any shared BCS bowl revenue until the Pirates made a BCS bowl themselves; provide its own television contract so as not to interfere with the league's existing deal; guaranteeing the sale of 2,500 tickets to their Big East away games; and possibly more.
"We would agree to all of that and others," a "prominent ECU supporter" told the Courant at the time. "Our partnership could be described as a 'hand-in' partnership rather than a 'hand-out' partnership. We wouldn't be asking for anything except the opportunity to prove ourselves as good and productive partners of the eight institutions playing Division I-A football."
Would the Pirates still be as desperate today? With the Big East in a position of lesser strength and stability, then-Pirate head coach Skip Holtz now at South Florida, and the economy making finances more tricky for football programs outside the BCS, it seems far less likely ECU administrators would be willing to make quite that big a gamble on a league with so many question marks still to be answered.
But it nonetheless goes to show that Wednesday's application announcement isn't the first time the Pirates have attempted to beat down the Big East's door. And if the conference once again passes over the Pirates (this time in favor of teams like Navy and Air Force), expect ECU to try again whenever the opportunity presents itself again.
For more on Conference Realignment 2011, follow our RapidReports on the subject by clicking here.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 12:07 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
In the most recent episode of the Emmy Award-winning drama Conference Realignment, the Big East leadership emerged from a three-hour meeting in New York City with plans to "aggressively" pursue replacements for Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
The message from the conference has been a plan to hold the two departing schools to the 27-month withdrawal period required in the conference by-laws. However, according to a Sporting News report some of the Big East's current members would like to see the two programs leave "as soon as possible."
Part of Marinatto's "aggressive" plans for replacement reportedly includes extending football-only invitations to Navy and Air Force. The conference's membership still includes their seven non-football schools, and adding the service academies to the gridiron slate would be an easy transition. Other suggested moves for expansion include looking towards Conference USA, where schools like UCF, Houston, and ECU have expressed interest in joining the Big East.
A big piece of Tuesday's meeting was also getting TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte on board with the future of the conference. TCU is scheduled to move to the Big East in 2012, but the threat of violent realignment in the college football landscape had the school's leadership nervous about the future of the conference. For the Big East to remain attractive to the BCS, a perennial contender like TCU will be a necessary component.
But regardless of when Syracuse and Pittsburgh leave, it does seem as though the realignment shift has begun to slow - at least for the moment. The Pac-12 expressed no interest in expanding at this time, and it does not appear that the Big Ten has any desire to either. With Texas and Oklahoma recommitting themselves to the Big 12 under new leadership, it is likely that Missouri will not be making any moves to the East anytime soon.
Click here for all the latest updates on Conference Realignment.
Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: September 22, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: September 22, 2011 1:27 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
In our CBSSports.com realignment crystal ball, Brett McMurphy and the rest of the Eye on College Football team broke down each conference landscape and the division of power after the current wave of realignment settles and the college football ship sails forward. But what about the entire college football landscape? How do the six major conferences stack up against each other when it comes time for the BCS contracts to renew in 2014?
By our best guess, no conferences will implode we will still have six major conferences. There has been some expanding, replacing, and in the case of the Big East even further separation between football and basketball. As a reminder, here are our projections for further conference realignment once this current wave of transition is complete.
Big Ten - remains at 12 teams
Pac-12 - remains at 12 teams
SEC - Adds Texas A&M and Virginia Tech
Big 12 - Adds BYU to replace Texas A&M
ACC - Adds Connecticut, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh. Loses Virginia Tech to the SEC
Big East - loses Connecticut, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh. Adds TCU, Houston, UCF, Villanova, Navy, and Air Force as football schools.
Based on these projected movements, here are the CBSSports.com Realigned Football Conference Power Rankings
1. SEC - Based on our projections, the rich get richer. The almighty SEC, holder of the last five national championships, adds the passion and history of Texas A&M along with a Hokies program that has won four ACC titles in the last seven years. Since joining the ACC Virginia Tech has been the most dominant team in the conference, and adding Frank Beamer's squad along with the Aggies is nothing but an upgrade to an already dominant conference.
2. Big Ten - The reason Jim Delany is comfortable with his current membership roster is because he doesn't need any more members to survive. The most important pieces in the makeup of the Big Ten are some of the most storied programs in history, and he only increased that status with the addition of Nebraska. The Big Ten Network pioneered conference-wide television rights, and this conference is till among the best in the nation even after sitting out this last round of realignment.
3. Pac-12 - Larry Scott opts to stay at 12 in this wave of realignment because there is no reason to expand. The possible additions of Texas, Oklahoma, and their in-state counterparts was beginning to look like more of a headache than the conference wanted to deal with at this point. The Pac-12 has annually fielded at least one national title contender, including a top three AP finish in three of the last four seasons. But while the Big 12 can also claim title contenders, the Pac-12 offers depth where the Big 12 does not. Briskly brushing over Washington State, schools like UCLA, Cal, and Arizona State all have the potential to field a competitive team on a yearly basis. The same cannot be said for the likes of Iowa State and Kansas.
4. Big 12 - After being days away from possible implosion, this conference likely survived because Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said "no." With Oklahoma getting the reform they wanted from the conference, and Texas getting to keep the Longhorn Network, all the conference needed to do was replace Texas A&M. BYU doesn't bring enough to the table football-wise to boost their stock over the Pac-12, but tossing the Cougars into the mix isn't too much of a downgrade either. Bronco Mendenhall has delivered six bowl appearances and five Top 25 finishes since taking over as head coach in 2005, and the upgrade from independence will only boost exposure and recruiting.
5. ACC - From a football perspective, this wave of realignment will only add to the national criticism of mediocrity in the ACC. Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Syracuse have only three COMBINED Top 25 finishes in the last decade - all three are Pittsburgh, and none of them is higher than 15. Additionally, losing Virginia Tech to the SEC strips some of their recruiting presence in the Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach area and erases their greatest recent benefactor in the BCS formula. These additions secured the conference's future, but did not boost their overall status among the other BCS conferences.
6. Big East - The addition several non-AQ schools will boost the excitement and intrigue for Big East football. Do not confuse this excitement and intrigue for an upgrade in performance, where you can likely expect a similar situation to the state of the conference since the last ACC raid. TCU and West Virginia will carry the banner for the conference nationally, while come combination of USF, UCF, Louisville and Navy will beat each other up to the result of the occasional national ranking and numerous 8-win seasons. The Big East's current membership boasts their "competitiveness," but after this realignment it will be TCU, West Virginia, and everyone else clawing to 7 wins for bowl eligibility.
Tags: ACC, Air Force, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Big Ten Network, Bronco Mendenhall, Conference Realignment, Connecticut, Florida State, Frank Beamer, Houston, John Swofford, Larry Scott, Louisville, Mike Slive, Navy, Pac-12, Pittsburgh, SEC, Syracuse, TCU, Texas A&M, UCF, USF, Villanova, West Virginia