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The latest round of Power Five realignment created an interesting challenge for conference offices, some of which could totally revamp their approach to scheduling. Oklahoma and Texas' move to the SEC (by no later than 2025) started the shuffling, which resulted with the 10-team Big 12 adding four schools to compensate for the departures of the Sooners and Longhorns. 

Luckily, the NCAA is doing something to help these conferences by lifting restrictions on league title games, clearing the way for them to decide on their own how to determine a champion. This will allow conferences to alter their formats and hold championship games without round-robin scheduling or divisional splits. That has sparked plenty of debate over what college football regular-season schedules will look like moving forward. 

There's no reason to out-think the room. We need to streamline college football and make all five Power Five conferences play similar schedules. Eight-game conference slates will allow teams to play, at worst, every other season. Yes, some rivalries will disappear on an annual basis, but the eight-game model will also allow for more intriguing nonconference games -- many of which are already on the books. It will also give teams opportunities to play lower-level opponents that depend on those paychecks to fund their entire athletic departments. 

With the 2022 season on the horizon and divisions still in place for the fall, we instead look toward 2023 and beyond -- when many conferences plan on adding new members. Here's a snapshot at how those conference schedules should look with permanent rivals listed below. The goal here is to: 

  • Eliminate all divisions without using pods
  • Have each conference plays eight league games
  • Ensure teams play every conference opponent at least once within two or three seasons, depending on structure


The ACC has multiple intra-state rivalries, as well as the affiliation with Notre Dame, which will make all of these schedules fairly loaded with Power Five foes. The conference discussed a 3-5-5 model at its spring meetings, with three permanent rivals and five rotating games per season. Here are the three permanent rivalries that could work in that format: 

  • Boston College: Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Virginia Tech
  • Clemson: Florida State, Georgia Tech and Syracuse
  • Duke: NC State, North Carolina and Wake Forest
  • Florida State: Clemson, Miami and Virginia
  • Georgia Tech: Boston College, Clemson and Pittsburgh
  • Louisville: North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia
  • Miami: Florida State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest
  • NC State: Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest
  • North Carolina: Duke, Louisville and NC State
  • Pittsburgh: Georgia Tech, Louisville and Syracuse
  • Syracuse: Boston College, Clemson and Pittsburgh
  • Virginia: Florida State, Louisville and Virginia Tech
  • Virginia Tech: Boston College, Miami and Virginia
  • Wake Forest: Duke, Miami and NC State

Big 12

The additions of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will make the Big 12 an interesting conference, but not much has to change from a scheduling standpoint. Currently a 10-team league, the Big 12 prides itself on having a round-robin schedule matrix. That will be impossible in the post-realignment era, but each member institution will cycle through the entire conference in three years in a 2-6 model with a pair of permanent opponents and six rotating opponents. Here are the permanent rivals for that format:

  • Baylor: TCU and Texas Tech
  • BYU: Iowa State and Kansas State
  • Cincinnati: Iowa State and West Virginia
  • Iowa State: BYU and Cincinnati
  • Houston: TCU and UCF
  • Kansas: Kansas State and West Virginia
  • Kansas State: BYU and Kansas
  • Oklahoma State: Texas Tech and UCF
  • TCU: Baylor and Houston
  • Texas Tech: Baylor and Oklahoma State
  • UCF: Houston and Oklahoma State
  • West Virginia: Cincinnati and Kansas

Big Ten

Like the ACC, we are going to make this as simple as possible. The 14-team league will play a 3-5-5 schedule with three permanent opponents and five rotators. The Big Ten has approximately 149 rivalries (sarcasm intended), so some will have to be played every other year. That's the price you pay in this new era. Here are each Big Ten team's permanent opponents: 

  • Illinois: Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue
  • Indiana: Michigan State, Purdue and Rutgers
  • Iowa: Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin
  • Maryland: Northwestern, Penn State and Rutgers
  • Michigan: Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State
  • Michigan State: Indiana, Michigan and Rutgers
  • Minnesota: Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin
  • Nebraska: Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • Northwestern: Illinois, Maryland and Michigan
  • Ohio State: Illinois, Michigan and Penn State
  • Penn State: Maryland, Ohio State and Purdue
  • Purdue: Illinois, Indiana and Penn State
  • Rutgers: Indiana, Maryland and Michigan State
  • Wisconsin: Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska


The Pac-12 membership won't look different in the new-look Power Five, so the biggest rivalries are easy to maintain in a 2-6 model. As is the case with the Big 12, teams will get through the entire conference every three years. That will provide the college football world a good glimpse on the true landscape of the conference.

  • Arizona: Arizona State and Utah
  • Arizona State: Arizona and USC
  • California: Stanford and UCLA
  • Colorado: Stanford and Utah
  • Oregon: Oregon State and Washington
  • Oregon State: Oregon and Washington State
  • Stanford: California and Colorado
  • UCLA: California and USC
  • USC: Arizona State and UCLA
  • Utah: Arizona and Colorado
  • Washington: Oregon and Washington State
  • Washington State: Oregon State and Washington


The SEC has narrowed its possibilities down to a 1-7 model and a 3-6 model with the goal of rotating through the entire conference every two seasons. We are going to keep the eight-game schedule -- again, for continuity's sake -- and give each team one permanent opponent with seven rotating games. Yes, some really big rivalries won't be played on an annual basis, but that was inevitable with the additions of Oklahoma and Texas. Those two will remain rivals with Texas A&M playing Texas every other season.

  • Alabama: Auburn
  • Arkansas: Missouri
  • Auburn: Alabama
  • Florida: Georgia
  • Georgia: Florida
  • Kentucky: South Carolina
  • LSU: Texas A&M
  • Mississippi State: Ole Miss
  • Missouri: Arkansas
  • Ole Miss: Mississippi State
  • Oklahoma: Texas
  • South Carolina: Kentucky
  • Tennessee: Vanderbilt
  • Texas: Oklahoma
  • Texas A&M: LSU
  • Vanderbilt: Tennessee