Four New SEC teams Would Have Killed 40
Five things stand out after all the dust has settled:
1) Mike Slive “joked” he could add about 30 teams in 30 seconds (my words and not his), and only weeks later he would actually be put to the test to find just one in about 48 hours.
2) Because two invitations would have been accepted by nearly any school asked, the NCAA must have been on the verge of tears because it would have set the wheels in motion to change NCAA football forever. It didn’t happen because Slive didn’t want an ocean of blood on his hands, so now the NCAA and Mark Emmert owes the SEC in a HUGE way.
3) The SEC is eyeing 14 teams and not 16. I assume 14 is the magic number because the SEC can sign new contracts without blowing up the entire system if it went to 16. Adding four instead of two would lead to a massive realignment and potential revenue sharing, thus diluting the SEC’s annual take.
4) I’m calling Slive’s bluff. He knows full-scale realignment is eventually coming, but he didn’t want to set off the fire alarm just yet.
5) NCAA Armageddon was stopped, but 80 FBS teams in 2020 is reality.
Let’s review SEC options I thought were on the table one last time…
Option 1 – Pick with the left hand
Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri. The SEC brand expands into the Midwest and Texas. Missouri opens the St. Louis market, and relieves Arkansas of the adopted son tag some 20+ years later. This is also a win-win since Arkansas is already a natural rival. Collateral Damage: The Big-12 disintegrates within seconds.
Option 2 – Pick with the right hand
Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Georgia Tech. Perfect from a geographical and rivalry standpoint for existing SEC teams, exclusive of moving into Virginia the conference is adding teams in states it already owns. In a world all about eyeballs watching television this collection makes the least amount of sense. Collateral Damage: The ACC disintegrates in milliseconds and the self-proclaimed Ivy League schools of the south no longer have a home.
Option 3 – Pick with both hands
Neatly place Texas A&M and Missouri in the West and Florida State and Virginia Tech in the East. Ultimately, the SEC gets nearly everything it wants without totally destroying the conferences it borrowed its new teams from. (I write the word borrow on purpose.)
The SEC in 2014
The NCAA in 2020 – What does it look like?
With TCU now in the same conference as Syracuse – a mere 31 driving turns and 1,591 miles away – the shape of college football is becoming so oblong it will no longer be passable in a few years. Simply put, the NCAA has yet another problem weighing heavily on its slow-moving hands. The problem is not having one football team join another conference half way across the country to catch the BCS money train, it’s all the other non-revenue sports teams that must travel the same path to play their games without a money train.
Outside of March Madness college football owns the NCAA, so with that in mind here’s the plan.
Step 1: Only 80 NCAA teams will play FBS football in 2020. Teams will be divided geographically into four conferences, each with two divisions of ten teams. I reached the magic number of 80 with the 2010 college football home attendance figures. If a team didn’t average more than 30,000 fans for home games it doesn’t deserve to play with the big boys, end of story. *I was generous enough to keep two current BCS schools in even though they didn’t hit 30,000: Duke (28,750) and Washington State (24,532). Actually, I take that back. Maybe we swap East Carolina for Duke since nobody likes the Blue Devils.
Four Independents and 10 or so non-BCS teams join the 80, and “borderline” teams that can be swapped out for others.
|Air Force 40,093
||Boise State 33,629
|Fresno State 34,120
||San Diego State 34,133
|East Carolina 49,665
||*So. Miss. 29,400
||(I) BYU 61,000
|(I) Army 31,667
||(I)Notre Dame 80,795
Step 2: Schools that don’t make the cut will be “demoted” to the FCS. To soften the blow there will be guaranteed games against the new FBS 80 and revenue sharing, too. All new and current FCS schools realign themselves the best possible way… by sitting down at a table and looking at a map.
Step 3: All NCAA teams in every sport besides football remain in their current conference unless it makes sense for a particular team to return closer to home. (See TCU returning back to Texas.)
That’s it. Is it a perfect fit in some cases? No. Will it be strange to have one conference for football and one for all other sports? The BCS started us down this path of football separation in its first season.
1) North Carolina 11) UCONN
2) N.C. State 12) Boston College
3) Wake Forest 13) Navy
4) East Carolina 14) Maryland
5) Virginia 15) Syracuse
6) Virginia Tech 16) Army
7) Vanderbilt 17) Rutgers
8) Tennessee 18) Penn. State
9) West Virginia 19) Pittsburg
10) Louisville 20) Cincinnati
1) Miami 11) Alabama
2) Florida 12) Auburn
3) Florida State 13) Ole Miss
4) Central Florida 14) Miss. State
5) South Florida 15) Southern Miss.
6) Georgia 16) LSU
7) Georgia Tech 17) Arkansas
8) Clemson 18) Missouri
9) South Carolina 19) Oklahoma
10) Kentucky 20) Oklahoma State
1) Notre Dame 11) Iowa
2) Indiana 12) Iowa State
3) Purdue 13) Kansas
4) Illinois 14) Kansas State
5) Northwestern 15) Nebraska
6) Ohio State 16) Texas
7) Michigan 17) Texas A&M
8) Michigan State 18) Baylor
9) Minnesota 19) TCU
10) Wisconsin 20) Houston
1) Colorado 11) Cal
2) Air Force 12) Fresno State
3) BYU 13) San Diego State
4) Utah 14) Oregon
5) Arizona 15) Oregon State
6) Arizona State 16) Washington
7) Boise State 17) Washington State
8) USC 18) Hawaii
9) UCLA 19) Texas Tech
10) Stanford 20) UTEP