Sep 28, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Damien Williams (26) stiff arms Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson (2) at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Column: Laying the ground work for the Super Conferences, and expanded playoff


Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (right) and Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops talk prior to kickoff of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Only three days remain before the NCAA votes to change multiple rules. I’ve been critical of what is being called the “Saban Rule,” but on the flip side, the targeting rule modifications hold merit.

I don’t know that this would be classified as a rule change per say, however, the NCAA will be voting to separate the AQ conferences from the mid-major conferences, allowing them to be able to vote on their own legislation. However, I believe this means more than just that. Eventually, the NCAA at the major level will need to reorganize.

This goes hand and hand with the new College Football Playoff system. Separating the major schools into their own class; this is the beginning of the formation of the super conferences. The four team playoff is simply a test run for the full playoff system.

In order for an expanded CFP to work effectively, much like the NFL, the current landscape of College Football will need to be reorganized.

There are five conferences, with various number of teams per conference, which would make it difficult to organize a multiple team playoff, such as a ten team playoff.

There are also benefits to realignment, teams who normally would not play each other until a bowl game, would have to face each other on a regular basis. From not only the playoff stand point, that would allow a team to build a more impressive resume, but from the fans standpoint, we would have excellent out of conference match-ups on a regular basis.

I mentioned that there would have to be some reorganization for the conferences. Currently there are five conferences with 64 teams. However, we do run into a slight problem as Notre Dame would make 65 Teams. Hard to have 4 16 teams with a +1. Not counting Notre Dame, I have divided the other 64 teams into 4 new divisions/conferences. I have based this all on geographical locations.

Northeast:Boston CollegeDuke

Illinois

Indiana

Maryland

Michigan

Michigan State

Northwestern

Ohio State

Penn St

Pittsburgh

Rutgers

Syracuse

Virginia

Virginia Tech

Wake Forest

Northwest:ColoradoIowa

Iowa State

Kansas

Kansas State

Minnesota

Missouri

Nebraska

Oregon

Oregon State

Purdue

Stanford

Utah

Washington

Washington State

Wisconsin

Southeast:AlabamaAuburn

Clemson

Florida

Florida State

Georgia

Georgia Tech

Kentucky

Louisville

Miami

North Carolina

NC State

South Carolina

Tennessee

Vanderbilt

West Virginia

Southwest:ArizonaArizona St

Arkansas

Baylor

Cal

LSU

Mississippi State

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

Ole Miss

Texas

Texas A&M

Texas Christian

Texas Tech

UCLA

USC

I would surmise the following will happen concerning Notre Dame:

  1. They will remain to be an independent.
  2. Three additional teams are added to each division making a total of 68 teams. However, as to who the three other teams will be, I’ll address at another time.
  3. A team from the above list is removed, to be replaced with Notre Dame.

I don’t believe that the NCAA will remove a school from the list to replace it with Notre Dame. Notre Dame has been independent for right at a 100 years. However, I believe they will decide to become part of a conference.

Should the NCAA go OCD and have all the conferences the same size, that’ll remain to be seen. Good candidates should they add teams to make it four 17 team conference would be, BYU, Boise State, Air Force, Navy, and Army, just to name a few.

Once the conferences are realigned, the next phase would be to expand the playoff. Which is would be the ultimate goal of the conference realignment.

Most likely a 12-14 team playoff will be the final transformation of the CFP. Each division will play their championships, those four teams would be seeded 1-4. Runner ups in each division would be seeded 5-8, then a third tier for each division’s at large bids, and if a 14, two additional random at large bids.

College Football is on the precipice of being able to increase it’s popularity. A full playoff system could send the sport past the NFL. It would good for the fans, it would be good for the competitors. A true undisputed champion can be crowned, no questions asked. I for one, am looking forward for all of this to unfold.

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  • Onikuno

    Why does every single article I see on this subject make the assumption that the conferences would reshuffle? That’s NOT happening. No one is giving up their brand name. The SEC is a brand. The Big Ten is a brand. No WAY they break up teams already apart of their conference.

    • Christopher Long

      I’ll answer it with a question. What happens should the Big12 end up collapsing with in the next 5 years or so? We almost witnessed that several times in the past few years. If that does happen, we’ll see conferences snatching up the former Big12 schools in a heart beat. I feel like there would need to be some sort of reshuffle to aide with scheduling, seeding for an expanded play off etc. Every Conference in the scenario benefited with the teams they acquired. Sure they lost some good teams but, the replacements they gained in some cases were better than those they lost.

      I’ll admit you’re right, it is an assumption I am making all the conferences will realign, but I am simply doing the leg work, trying to make the Super Conference idea work as efficiently as possible, or at least how I think it will work. This is something that we probably wouldn’t see for the next 10 years or so anyway I don’t imagine.

      • Onikuno

        My point is that there is no way LSU is leaving the SEC or vice versa. Why would that HAVE to happen? Geography is not a prerequisite for being apart of a conference. The Dallas Cowboys are in a division with teams from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. Missouri is in the SEC East. The SEC and BigTen are powerful brands, Are they giving up their own TV networks next just because there has to be a reshuffle? The only way teams move conferences is if there’s a dispute i.e. Nebraska moving to the BigTen. If the power five conferences get autonomy then they’ll be able to make even more money. Whether the Big 12 dissolves or not is irrelevant. Those schools will find a home somewhere in the other power conferences. No one tells the power leagues what to do. It’s been that way for decades and it’s not changing anytime soon.

        • Christopher Long

          Money does talk. I don’t think the TV Network’s will be hurt by conference reshuffling. ESPN and FOX will make it work to where its financially beneficial for everyone. It is in their best interests. The quality match ups all season alone would produce even more revenue. Will it occur with a reshuffle or not is the question. I’m for sure looking forward to seeing how it plays out over the next several years.

  • Red Termite

    is there two teams in kentucky? Georgia Tech will not reenter the SEC. I think this is just wishful thinking on the OP’s part.