There have been some rumors about Maryland possibly being invited to join the Big Ten so the Big Ten could expand its TV network into the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore markets. Let’s assume for a second Maryland is invited. If anything beyond dollars matters, Maryland will not join.
The Terps struggle enough with ACC football, moving to the Big Ten would, with near certainly, leave the Terps consistently at the bottom of the conference. As for basketball, Maryland has its ACC rivalries and would not want to give those up. Even with Michigan State and Ohio State being consistentlt good year after year, meeting them on a basketball court would mean little. Maryland is a charter member of the ACC and I do not see them leaving. There is no benefit in switching conferences except if the school could make millions more a year from the Big Ten Network.
There have also been a lot of theories about what would happen if conferences start poaching from each other, starting with the Big Ten making the first move. Below is my view of how things could shake out if drastic realignment occurs. My plan calls for the Big East and Big 12 to simply vanish. The ACC, Big 10, Pac-10, and SEC would all become 16-team conferences. The leftovers programs of any consequence would be put into a new 16-team Conference USA. My realignment plan tried to put schools in a conference that makes geographic sense. Granted with 16-team conference things can get a bit out of control but that is why Miami leaves the ACC to go to the SEC. Without further ado, my new conferences.
The only ACC team to get bumped is Miami. Quite simply, it’s too far south and has no history in the ACC. The drive from Boston College to Miami is 25 hours. The drive from Syracuse and Florida State is 20 hours. This new ACC gains some strong football programs like Penn State and Pittsburgh, and it also becomes a much stronger basketball conference.
The only school the Big 10 lost was Penn State. I’m allowing the Big 10 to keep its name because this Big 10 pulls teams from 10 states. The Big 10 benefits greatly from this realignment because it adds name football schools like Notre Dame and Nebraska, and it adds the Kansas basketball team.
The SEC does not lose any of its teams in this plan. It just gains Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, not too shabby. And it also gives some schools a new in-state rival, like Florida and Miami, and Kentucky and Louisville. The SEC, the best football conference in the country, only gets stronger at the top. The SEC does the best out of any conference in my realignment.
The PAC-10 also keeps its entire pre-merger roster. It adds Colorado, which should have sort of always been in the conference. The PAC-10 also manages to grab five Texas schools which should help with recruiting a bit. TCU is the only school out of all 64 in these four super conferences that works its way into from a non-BCS conference. No Boise State and no Utah or BYU, just TCU.
In case you haven’t noticed, there are some schools from the former Big East that failed to make it into one of the four superconferences. On one hand they’re being jilted but Cincinnati and West Virginia have never really gotten much respect for their recent successes anyway. The West Division is top-heavy with schools that routinely serve as major conference spoilers so maybe some of these teams could still make a name for themselves.
As for my playoff scenario, each division winner qualifies for a 16-team playoff. The BCS system would decide the next best eight teams, including Conference USA now, and then you have a 16-team playoff. Gone are conference title games. They’re meaningless and too much now that there’s a playoff system in place.
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