The Great Expansion Debate

Today’s post comes courtesy of the Virginia Tech Blog “Fight For Old D.C.”

Considering the current debate going on with regards to conference expansion, I found myself trying to figure out the best scenario for the future of college football and basketball. What would I do if I could make the decisions? What’s best for the sports? I’ve decided to take complete artistic control of the NCAA and their Division I conference set-up. My rules, my conferences, my scheduling. This is only a hypothetical scenario, and not in any way how I expect expansion to play out. However, I would like to spark a little debate on here. Please chime in with any critiques or improvements you would offer if you had control.

My plan tends to focus more on football because the conference setup seems to be of greater concern in that area. Considering that basketball has a far more flexible scheduling process (and capacity), I’m assuming that will fall into place with my football plans.

Starting out, I tried to keep certain rivalries alive as well as tried to revisit a few old ones. I’ve broken the country down into four mega-conferences of sixteen teams with eight-team divisions and four-team “pods.” Here’s how the schedule will work out:

For Football:

Each team plays 12 regular season games: the seven divisional games, two “rivalry games” from the opposite division and one rotating game in the other division. From there, teams will also be required to play two teams from another major conference (one home, one away) each year. The regular season will run as-is and continue through November. The final week of November will be conference playoffs. The top two teams in each division will play on the normal championship week and the conference championships will be played the week after (winner of each game). All teams are able to become bowl-eligible, but the BCS bowls will make up the de-facto playoffs. The BCS games will have the four conference champions in two games (national semi-finals) and four at-large teams in the other two bowls. The national championship will take place during the same week as it currently does, but it will be at a traditional bowl site, also rotating among the BCS games. I’ve also thrown the Cotton Bowl into the mix with the BCS bowls for tradition’s sake. So in effect, those five bowls (Cotton, Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta) will rotate for the national championship with the others filling in the week before. The most games a team can play in any given season are sixteen, which is an increase of two games from before.

For Basketball:

The tournament exists as it does now, and each team plays six conference pod games, and fourteen out-of-pod games. With twenty conference games, the conference tournament will be compressed to eight teams (top four out of each division).

Now, here are my conferences. Essentially, the Big 12 and Big East are dispersed among the other four conferences with a few wrinkles thrown in. The current BCS schools left out of the mix were Baylor, Iowa State, Louisville, South Florida, and Cincinnati. Oh well.

Big North Conference (formerly Big Ten)

Western Division
Pod #1
Iowa Hawkeyes
Wisconsin Badgers
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Nebraska Cornhuskers

Pod #2
Missouri Tigers
Kansas Jayhawks
Illinois Fighting Illini
Northwestern Wildcats

Eastern Division
Pod #1
Purdue Boilermakers
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Michigan Wolverines
Michigan State Spartans

Pod #2
Ohio State Buckeyes
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Penn State Nittany Lions
Indiana Hoosiers

Atlantic Coast Conference

Northern Division
Pod #1
Boston College Eagles
Connecticut Huskies
Syracuse Orange
Pittsburgh Panthers

Pod #2
Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia Tech Hokies
West Virginia Mountaineers
Maryland Terrapins

Southern Division
Pod #1
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Duke Blue Devils
Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Pod #2
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Florida State Seminoles
Miami Hurricanes
Clemson Tigers

Southeastern Conference

Eastern Division
Pod #1
Kentucky Wildcats
South Carolina Gamecocks
Georgia Bulldogs
Florida Gators

Pod #2
Tennessee Volunteers
Auburn Tigers
Alabama Crimson Tide
Vanderbilt Commodores

Western Division
Pod #1
Louisiana State Tigers
Arkansas Razorbacks
Mississippi Rebels
Mississippi State Bulldogs

Pod #2
Texas Longhorns
Texas A&M Aggies
Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma State Cowboys

Pacific Coast Conference (formerly Pac-10)

Southern Division
Pod #1
Arizona Wildcats
Arizona State Sun Devils
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Christian Horned Frogs

Pod #2
UCLA Bruins
Stanford Cardinal
California Golden Bears
Southern California Trojans

Northern Division
Pod #1
Washington Huskies
Washington State Cougars
Oregon Ducks
Oregon State Beavers

Pod #2
Kansas State Wildcats
Colorado Buffalos
Brigham Young Cougars
Boise State Broncos

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