I’ll leave it to other to figure out if this is a feasible idea, but here is what I came up with…
- Mississippi State
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
The idea is that traditional rivalries, such as Alabama-Auburn, LSU-Arkansas and Florida-Georgia can be continued through guaranteed crossover match-ups, in the same way the Big Ten is keeping Michigan and Ohio State paired, as well as Wisconsin and Minnesota and a new series between Nebraska and Penn State. Two in-state rivalries (Ole Miss-Mississippi State and Tennessee-Vanderbilt) would be kept in the same division, which could also open up the possibility of keeping Tennessee-Florida going too.
Anyway, it’s just an idea.
As for the Big 12, it looks to just be a matter of time before the conference loses its fourth member in two years (Colorado, Nebraska and Texas A&M) once Missouri makes their inevitable move. So where does this fragile conference turn? BYU? Boise State? The Big East?
As we have discussed on multiple occasions, the Big East is the conference that should be the most alarmed moving forward. After losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC the conference is officially on red alert as the future looks bleak. Rutgers and Connecticut are looking for a way out, and if the conference is depending on those schools to stick in the conference what hope does that leave for commissioner John Marinatto in all reality? With news that Missouri is entering conference free agency, the Big 12′s best moves may be to look to some current Big East members to get back to at least ten schools. TCU (supposed to join in 2012), Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia all have reasons to be considered in this equation.
And what if the conference wants to go to 12 members?
Picking up four members could go a few different ways. If the conference wants to stay close to home and secure that regional dominance, then adding TCU, SMU, BYU and Boise State looks to be a pretty good deal. It would add a pair of programs (TCU and Boise State) that have proven themselves on the big stage in college football, and would give each that automatic qualifying status they have been after for a while now. It also gives the conference a bigger boost in terms of BCS review status than Texas A&M and Missouri ever provided, despite what SMU and BYU would add or lack. To me, that seems like a great way to go about expanding in the conference.
But if Louisville is interested, then that looks to be a pretty solid way to go as well. The Cardinals may lack a top caliber football program but what would be gained in basketball would certainly be a nice addition. Adding Louisville would need to have something else to look forward to though on the football side of things, which is why West Virginia and TCU would be nice additions. West Virginia lacks the television cache though that conferences seek in realignment though, which is why they may have been turned away by the ACC (and yes, academics would have played a role here too) and SEC (even though the conference does not rely on top media markets).
I am sure we will be talking about this topic plenty in the days and weeks, and possibly months to come. We’ll try to stay as much on top of all of this as possible.