This expansion talk is getting out of hand. I have been scratching my head for months trying to figure it out, to be the one that can say 'I told you so' to my football family when this whole thing shakes out in 1 (or 3 or 5 or 20) years. But quickly I'm realizing that this thing has transformed itself more times than Optimus Prime during a cocaine-induced seizure:
I've realized that getting this right can only happen two ways: guessing every possible scenario so that one of them has to be right, or actually being that autistic kid from Chicago that picked the first two rounds of his 2010 March Madness bracket correctly.
If I was the former, I'd be paid to write these articles. We all know that, when this whole thing shakes out eventually, there will be some writer somewhere that will gleam from ear to ear when he walks into the office knowing that one of his eleventy billion scenarios actually panned out. No, I am not the media. Further, my fiance is already wondering how I can possibly read as much as I do about a hypothetical situation. Clearly, she doesn't get it.
If I was the latter...well, I'm glad I'm not in that position.
Either way, I've been trying to hold out on writing a post until there was some actual FOOTBALL to write about. For now, I'm at my saturation point. So I broke down, looked at all of the teams and put together this HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO EVER HAPPEN, BUT IF IT DOES THEN SUCK IT expansion scenario.
DISCLAIMER: If you are looking for the most probable expansion scenario, look elsewhere.
First, the CHART. Explanation of changes following it immediately:
The above chart lists the 80 major programs. Generally speaking, the schools in their current conference alignment are toward the top, and the expansion schools file down toward the basement of each column. You'll see schools like Houston and Memphis made the cut. Frankly, I think they fall under "best of the rest" in my own little last-4 in/last-4 out judgement.
Let's start with the biggest story of the week, and assume it actually comes to fruition: the PAC-whatever. In this scenario, the PAC-10 adds Texas (with its saddlebags), Oklahoma, and OK St. They kindly explain to the Texas government that, if they love Baylor so much, they can just keep 'em. Colorado is in.
Nintendo 12 explodes. "xxSPLOOOSHxx". Midwesterners everywhere begin to cry, but soon realize that nothing has really changed. Then Nebraska and Mizzou, realizing they never were the captain anyway, abandon ship and join the Big TelevEN. Screw you, Beebe.
Rutgers sees the door begin to close, so they dart in like Indiana Jones through a big-ass stone booby-trap. Notre Dame realizes that the end is near. Riots ensue, and people begin quoting Revelations. Pitt realizes that only four have joined, and there's actually one more spot. They casually walk in and join the party. Everyone laughs at Notre Dame.
Simultaneously, the SEC and ACC realize they're fossilizing. So in a ridiculous melee, SEC poaches Miami and Florida St., further insuring (ensuring? i get those confused) that no game will ever be played outside the state of Florida. Alabama clears throat. The ACC, now down to 10, stops the bleeding and realizes that the former Big East is still floating 6. They fuse like Power Rangers and become the band of misfits conference. They realize they should have done this a long time ago. There's still no school in the conference that is going to win more than 9 games in any given season.
The SEC gets a phone call from the BigTelevesixteEN, and realize they're still two schools short. Stupid Mississippi math. They realize that Kansas and Kansas St are a package deal. This means at least one game played in Kansas every year. They panic at the thought of "travel." They grab Memphis, because Kentucky needs a basketball rival. Then they grab Houston so that LSU can compare oil slicked beaches and the size of their eh-hem "hurricanes."
Finally, the MWC offices see the smoke signals and realize that OMG-football Armageddon has happened. So they pull out their pens and papers and write their formal invitations on Pony-Express dispatches. They warn the delivery rider to ride fast, and watch out for "Injuns." The riders perform admirably, and all schools jump on the chance to join the last major conference. MWC pressures the NCAA to give them equal consideration for the National Championship. The other 4 conferences write letters to the NCAA, declaring that 4 conferences is the perfect alignment. The NCAA agrees that the symmetry proposed by the 4 major conferences just makes perfect sense. The MWC is granted their membership anyway.
Alas, we have major college football realignment. The map looks kinda cool. Interested? Thought so. Here you go. Green = PAC-16. Lt. Blue = MWC. Red = SEC umm...what's after 15?. Orange = Band of Misfits Conference (BoM). Dark Blue = Big TelevesixteEN.
So then, what becomes of the other 40 schools? Excellent question. If you're still reading this, I applaud your patience. The Final 40 realign themselves, as well. Here's a chart to show it:
As you can see, the realignment is geographic. Most of the former minor conferences keep their teams intact, because they were basically geographic anyway. The MAC picks up 4 schools. In the end, you have 5 minor conferences, each with 8 teams. The athletic departments can afford to stay afloat, since the schools are centrally located. There are no big fish remaining. All 80 worthy programs are already playing for the china. These 40 form their own "B" league, and have their own championship come season's end. The Big 80 now play THESE teams as their non-con lay-ups. FCS schools cry for a little, then realize they can compete with these schools pretty equally. Everyone is happy. Blowouts seize to exist...for the most part.
This all reminds me of a theory I used to propose when supporting my drinking habit. Buffalo theory. You see, the Native Americans used to live off the land effectively. When hunting buffalo, they would try to kill only the smallest, slowest, and sickest of the herd. Over time, the herd actually became bigger, faster, and stronger. Same applied for brain cells when drinking. I believe the same applies for college football as well. That is not to say that the FIU's of the world aren't good schools. They're great schools. My brother actually goes to FIU. But he's a Gator fan. Because they're just not good ATHLETIC schools.
**Please be understanding that the above culturally insensitive remarks are merely jokes. If you have a problem with them, go back to Louisiana.** Signed, the management.