It is time for change.
For too long we have seen subpar football conferences attempt to compete with legitimate, competitive conferences that actually produce top rated football teams. This problem must be resolved; it is time to realign collegiate athletic conferences.
When the ACC pillaged the Big East some five years ago, many believed that a new era of a dominant east conference was upon us, but this has not been the case. The ACC has only won one BCS game since the expansion, and the ACC conference title has been relegated to the same importance as the last game of the Pittsburgh Pirates season, no one cares and the outcome does not really matter.
The winner will most likely play the Big East champion in the Orange Bowl, and the loser will go to some other less than prominent bowl game that will be over looked by everyone who does not have a direct relationship with the school.
The Big East, or more appropriately the Little Least, is not even a skeleton of its former self. The conference started with no teams in the top 25, and as it stands now Cincinnati and South Florida and the two most prominent programs the conference. Not exactly the most impressive top end schools for a conference that is currently held in the ranks with the SEC and the Big 12.
So the easy way to solve this problem is to get rid of these two leeches of conferences, and create four 16-team super conferences. First the SEC would pick up Tech, Florida State, Miami and Clemson. These four teams would fit well into the conference, as three of the schools already have their primary rival in the SEC, and geographically speaking are already woven into SEC territory.
The Big 12 should reform the old Southwest Conference, minus Arkansas, as its southern division, leaving the old Big 8 as the North division. This would allow teams like TCU and Houston to compete in a major conference, which would seem more appropriate given their recent success. SMU and Rice would be the other two teams that would need to join, which, granted, not exactly football powerhouses, but time, and a better ability to recruit by being in a major conference, could help the ailing programs.
The PAC-10 would pick up Fresno State, Boise State, Utah, BYU, Nevada and another team, which could be any number of mediocre teams, but could possibly see major improvements for the same reason as SMU and Rice.
The Big 10 is the big problem. Out of all the conferences they would be the most reluctant to change, but here is what they should do: pick up Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Louisville and Notre Dame. They would also need one more, but, they should improve over time.
It might seem strange to try to include mediocre teams and exclude other teams from the ACC such as North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia Tech, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made: they are out.
The current model is not working. The football programs of Duke, N.C. State and Syracuse, to name a few, have benefitted from the exploits of being a part of a major football conference, but seemingly refuse to make significant contributions to the football side of their conferences, which as can be seen from the recent contracts negotiated between major conferences and major networks is where the majority of athletics revenue is coming from.
There is nothing wrong with being a basketball-focused school, but there is something wrong with not having at least one winning season in 15 years. In world of college sports, football is God, and keeping the Sabbath holy should be of utmost importance.
The new super conferences would allow the schools stronger positions at negotiating tables with major networks when hatching out broadcasting rights and with major corporations for advertising contracts. The bowl games could also find the new arrangement beneficial, preventing the abomination that was the 2007 Orange Bowl between Wake Forest and Louisville. Larger conferences will allow for wider, and more equally dispersed quality of teams, leading to better post-season matchups
The scenario discussed is certainly just one of many that have been thrown out there, but they all come from the same idea, that if the weaker two conferences do not begin to produce results more fitting of a top tier football conference, then they run the risk of not existing at all.