Conference expansion: Another new model
We haven't talked much here about potential conference expansion and how it might USF -- we'll have a lot more on that in the next few weeks -- but there was an interesting new vision of how the "megaconferences" could shake out when all the realignment is finished. Today's Newark Star-Ledger envisions five megaconferences for football, with USF as part of a new "Big Atlantic" conference, with remnants of the ACC and Big East merging for 16 teams for football and 20 in basketball.
Here's how their new NCAA order shakes out, with an 80-team BCS of sorts ...
-- The Big Ten raids the Big East for Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Syracuse, then takes Nebraska and Missouri from the Big 12.
-- The SEC answers by raiding the ACC's four southernmost teams: Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech and Clemson.
-- The Big 12, which also loses Colorado to the Pac-10, adds seven teams -- five from the Mountain West: TCU, BYU and Utah ,along with New Mexico and Colorado State, plus Houston and Tulsa from Conference USA.
-- The Pac-10 adds six -- Colorado, plus UNLV from the MWC and four Western Athletic schools: Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and San Diego State.
-- The new "Big Atlantic" has the remaining eight ACC teams, the other five Big East football schools, plus UCF, Memphis and Temple. (I'd be surprised if Temple gets in over East Carolina.) The league also expands to 20 teams for basketball, with Georgetown, Notre Dame, St. John's and Villanova. That means four Big East basketball schools are also out -- DePaul, Marquette, Providence and Seton Hall.
Again, it's just one model, but it's another conversation piece -- you'd arguably have a new 81-team I-A of sorts (with Notre Dame), because the best teams of the lesser conferences are included.
That means 39 teams currently in I-A would be relegated to outsider status -- the big 81 would want them for home games, but they'd have limited value beyond that.