The last twelve months have shown us an unprecedented amount of activity in schools changing their conference alliances. It all started when Colorado and Nebraska decided to leave the Big 12. Colorado headed to the Pacific-10, now the Pacific-12, with Utah from the Mountain West Conference. Nebraska would head to the Big -10.
Both of these moves gave the Big-10 and Pac -12 the ability to have a conference championship game to decide their Bowl Championship Series bid. This started a sequence of events that consisted of schools constantly jumping ship from their respective conferences.
Most recently, Texas A&M announced that it is leaving the Big 12 to become the 13th member of the Southeastern Conference. Having 13 teams, the SEC now has unbalanced divisions in the conference for football. This leads to the question; will they look to add a 14th school?
Oklahoma has also expressed interest in leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-12 but the Pac-12 refused to take Oklahoma without a deal that included Texas. So for now, the Big-12 has been spared. But the Big-12 is not the only conference having a hard time keeping its schools together.
The Big East also erupted with at least two of its schools officially leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Syracuse and Pittsburgh both announced they are leaving the Big East. While this move was mostly determined because of the basketball programs it might end up effecting Big East football more than anything. With Pitt and Syracuse leaving, the conference will be down to seven Football Bowl Subdivision football programs, because of the addition of TCU for the 2012 season.
To be eligible as a FBS conference, at least eight programs are required. So, in order to stay eligible, the Big East has to add at least one more team. However, this might not be the end of teams jumping off the Big East bandwagon.
UCONN has expressed interest in heading to the ACC in which there would also be incentive to add Rutgers to even out the divisions, giving the ACC 16 teams. There have been rumors that other conferences have reached out to West Virginia and Louisville.
So could this be the end of Big East football? They could pick up Villanova’s FCS football program and maybe bring Temple back but without another power name to the resume, the Big East doesn’t have much football appeal. So this leads to another big question. What is going to happen to the BCS?
The Big East Champion has always gotten an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game. Naturally, if there isn’t a Big East football conference, there is no one to take the automatic bid. Even if the Big East does manage to survive; will the BCS really be interested in giving the conference an automatic bid over another ACC or SEC school that almost doubles the Big East in teams?
The SEC, ACC, Big-10, and Pac-12 will most likely have at least two teams that could be BCS eligible. Maybe this will be incentive to leave the BCS computer system and move onto a playoff system. It’s something that college football fans have been raving about for years now.
It’s hard to find people that are really in favor of the BCS anymore. So maybe all of this chaos will end up not just being about money. All of these realignments might end up being the straw that breaks the back of the BCS. So to all you college sports fans panicking about the conference changes, realize that maybe it is worth it at the reward of finally getting a college football playoff.