Happy Conference Realignment Day! July 1 has marked the transition of teams across the college landscape coming to and from conference from the top to the bottom of college sports.
But are we done yet? While technically there are a few conference changes that trickle down in the next few years, there are still changes that are likely to come in the next few years that could offset the landscape even more.
Why conference realignment may not be over –
The biggest reason why conference realignment is not over is that the Big 12 still sits with just 10 teams. It is the lone power conference remaining at 10 teams, trailing the SEC and ACC by four and the Big 10 and Pac-12 by two.
There are still some decently sized fish out there and a few pending court cases that will decide the future of the teams moving to the ACC and American Athletic Conference, that was berthed officially at midnight.
If, and likely when, the Big 12 goes fishing in the pond for new members there is still a selection of a few keepers not to throw back.
Geographically, the Big 12 has options in and around the state of Texas, as well as a few options that would make sense for a team like West Virginia, who is isolated on the east without a rival or travel partner for smaller sports when it comes to scheduling.
There are three that were left behind in all of this mess; Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida. The first two options would make the most sense for the Big 12 to make a move. Cincinnati makes sense in most sports, Connecticut especially in basketball and South Florida comes in third because of location.
On the other side, there are options in Texas and to the west that could help the Big 12 start the next wave.
In-state, Houston is just about the only option that could make sense. While it is not a big power and came within a win of the BCS recently, it gives the conference an option to compete with Texas A&M and the SEC. No, it is not going to be a winning argument when it comes to who is the better brand, there is history with the teams in the Big 12 and it makes sense regionally having a team in Houston.
Next is BYU, Colorado State and Boise State. BYU is hanging onto its own television brand and staying independent for now. But Provo offers an atmosphere and a good brand of athletics. Boise State is Boise State. They have football and a blue field, while the blue field would have to likely be removed for a move, it is a brand. Colorado State is thrown in here just to really give something competitive to Colorado of the Pac-12. The Rams compete with the Buffaloes on the field and could steal away a Colorado market by finding success.
Why we may be done for the time being-
If the Big 12 doesn’t make a move, it is likely that everyone stays happy for now. The American Athletic Conference will have some time to grow and brand itself for the future before likely being poached against in 10-15 years.
If the 10 teams can remain happy in the Big 12 without a conference championship game and realistically have a shot each year and having a team in the new College Football Playoff beginning in 2014, there won’t be additions anytime soon.
The schools in the Big 12 have a contract that will generate more revenue with TV and bowl deals that will give more money to each school with 10 teams.
Also, looking around the landscape everyone seems happy with where we have finally found ourselves (not that they wanted to get here). The SEC has its 14 and looks better than ever. The ACC has good fits, the Big 10 is the same and the Pac-12 is regionally locked in to what it has.
There doesn’t seem to be interest in adding to the Pac-12 as Utah is going to block a BYU move, and Boise State does not offer much outside of the football program to make it a consideration to the conference.