July 1 marks the start of a new collegiate athletic year. With it comes the official transfer of numerous programs amid conference realignment.
There are several changes to the Football Bowl Subdivision landscape in 2013. Below is a rundown of the movement on Conference Realignment Day 2013.
Added: Pittsburgh Panthers, Syracuse Orange
Changes: Pitt and Syracuse joining the ACC via the Big East (which no longer exists as a football brand name) expands the divisions to seven teams a piece. They break down as follows:
• Boston College
• Florida State
• NC State
• Wake Forest
• Georgia Tech
• North Carolina
• Virginia Tech
Added: Houston Cougars, Memphis Tigers, SMU Mustangs, UCF Golden Knights
Changes: The former Big East leaves its old name with past members that do not play football. Thus, it would be incorrect to write that the Big East Conference longer exists — it just doesn’t play football any longer. The American Athletic Conference was forged of former Big East members, though it will lose more of its ranks after this year, when the Louisville Cardinals go to the ACC, and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights head to the Big Ten.
Got all that?
The American had Boise State and San Diego State lined up for membership, but both balked and remained in the Mountain West. As a result, the American has 10 members and no divisions, or championship game.
Gone: Houston Cougars, Memphis Tigers, SMU Mustangs, UCF Golden Knights
Added: FAU Owls, FIU Golden Panthers, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, MTSU Blue Raiders, North Texas Mean Green, UTSA Roadrunners
Changes: The 2013 season is a stop-gap between C-USA’s old look, and the alignment it will embark on for its future. The league loses Tulsa, East Carolina and Tulane after this season, but has Old Dominion, Charlotte and Western Kentucky waiting.
The two, seven-team divisions are:
• East Carolina
• Southern Miss
• Louisiana Tech
• North Texas
Added: Idaho Vandals, New Mexico State Aggies
Changes: The dissolution of the Western Athletic Conference left Idaho and New Mexico State scrambling for conference affiliation. Both found it in the Sun Belt, but not until 2014. That means in the coming campaign, two teams that finished the 2012 season with records near the bottom of college football must play independent schedules.
Their one-year independence will not put either program in any sort of dire straits, as both landed surprisingly strong schedules.
Added: San Jose Spartans, Utah State Aggies
Changes: The most notable change that the addition of two new teams to the Mountain West fold brings is a divisional split, which in turn means a conference championship game. The inaugural MWC championship will be played at the home of the highest ranked team in the BCS standings.
Utah State and San Jose State are both strong additions. They are logical regional fits, and both are coming off 11-win seasons and top 25 rankings. They lost their head coaches to BCS programs — USU’s Gary Andersen went to Wisconsin, SJSU’s Mike MacIntyre to Colorado — but return stocked rosters.
The divisions are as follows:
• Air Force
• Boise State
• Colorado State
• New Mexico
• Utah State
• Fresno State
• San Diego State
• San Jose State
Added: Georgia State, Texas State
Changes: Big change awaits the Sun Belt in 2014 when a raft of new members join from the former WAC and the Championship Subdivision. Still, the coming season brings considerable changes with four members and two in.
Texas State played its first season of FBS competition last year in the WAC, finishing 4-8. Georgia State is new to the FBS ranks — GSU football in general is still in its infancy, first competing in 2010.