The SEC’s decision to add Oklahoma and Texas has sparked another round of realignment, expansion and the potential for college football super conferences. With the first 16-team Power 5 league coming in the next few years and rumors about expansion in other leagues, that era may not be far away. The Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC are all likely evaluating options in the wake of the SEC’s move to 16.
The recent expansion and super conferences discussion got us at Athlon Sports thinking: What if every college football conference was a super conference? We need to stress this is strictly for fun.
The parameters were pretty simple: Make as many 16-team super conferences as possible using the current structure of college football and 130 teams. To get all 130 teams accounted for, we had to bend the rules to have one conference at 18 teams. We attempted to maintain the basic structure of the current conferences and use some shuffling in the leagues to consolidate everything into super conferences.
What if College Football Only Had Super Conferences?
The Power Conferences
Analysis: Remember, this is a fantasy exercise, so we make the rules. Notre Dame is forced to join a conference, so the ACC is the natural choice with the grant of rights tied to the league until 2035-36. West Virginia is the easy choice for No. 16. We moved Georgia Tech to the Atlantic and insert the additions of the Mountaineers and Fighting Irish to the Coastal.
Analysis: This is essentially a combination of the Big 12 and American Athletic Conference. Army joins its service academy rival Navy in the East, with Cincinnati, Memphis and UCF forming a power trio in the division. The Lone Star State dominates the West, as Baylor, TCU and Houston should combine for some entertaining matchups.
Analysis: With Notre Dame tied to the ACC, the Big Ten is forced to look elsewhere to fill out its league. With its strong fan base and geographic fit, Iowa State is a natural pick to join the West Division. Kansas doesn't offer much for football, but the Big Ten will bank on improvement over the long haul, as well as a strong basketball program. Purdue slides from the West to the East Division in the revamped 16-team league.
Analysis: Geography was a driving force in many of our league decisions, but we had to bend the rules a bit here to get Oklahoma State and Texas Tech into the Pac-16. Boise State and BYU are strong additions to the North Division. The Cougars are a better fit for the South Division, but the conference will mandate a crossover game against Utah to make sure these two programs play every year.
Analysis: This one is easy. College football's first 16-team super conference is set. Alabama and Auburn shift from the West to the East, while Texas and Oklahoma join the West Division. Missouri also swaps divisions to reunite with a couple of its old Big 12 rivals.
The Group of 3
Analysis: The MAC has a strong regional group of teams and there aren't a ton of easy fits at the FBS level. However, bringing Marshall back into the fold is huge, and WKU is a solid program to add to the regional connections.
New Mexico State
San Diego State
San Jose State
Analysis: The Mountain West stays largely intact in our shuffling, but Boise State was a big loss to the Pac-16. We've added a few teams from the state of Texas here and placed two in each division, which will help all teams with recruiting.
Analysis: For every conference to have a round number, we had to bend the rules a bit to get 18 teams in the Sun USA Conference. However, we've tried to group by geography as best as possible, which should keep the travel costs down. Liberty should be a good addition to the East, setting up annual games against Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina. Also, this setup allows us to get an annual Louisiana versus Louisiana Tech game every year in the West.
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