I originally wrote this several weeks ago but I have updated it because so much … and really nothing has happened just yet. First, let’s get two things straight: college football is the engine car and caboose on the college sports train. Whatever college football decides to do in the next few years in the world of expansion, other sports teams will figure out what to do because profits they pocket from football keep them afloat.
Mike Slive wants to order the murder, and not be the trigger man, because he doesn’t want blood on his hands. But at this point he might as well sit back and enjoy it. (A particular Bobby Knight quote would be extremely appropriate and inappropriate right here.) Slive is already guilty in the pre-meditated murder case of college football, so it’s no longer necessary to ride shotgun in a white Bronco on every major Interstate in the South and make every SEC athletic director sport an Al Cowlings mask. You’re guilty, Slive, so just go all in.
Don’t eyeball 13 or 14 teams and dismiss the idea of 16 teams. Finish what Roy Kramer started and go straight to 18 teams. If college football wised up a decade after the SEC went to 12, I can assure you it won’t take as long this time around if the SEC goes to 18. Everyone else will follow, I promise.
What does a season look like with FBS 72 teams?
- Four 18-team conferences, each with two divisions of nine.
- 12 regular season games.
- Every team in the division is played.
- Three rotating teams from the opposite division (home and home two-year series) are played.
- One out of conference game is played.
- Title game for each conference is played pitting divisional winners.
- NCAA tournament is created with 12 teams.
- Conference winners receive a first round bye.
- Eight at-large teams are chosen using something similar to the BCS points system.
How does the NCAA get to 72?
Step 1: If a team didn’t average more than 30,000 fans for home games it doesn’t deserve to play with the big boys. End of story. I removed several BCS schools and Independents: Washington State (24,000), Army, Navy, Duke (23,000), and Iowa State. But feel free to swap “borderline” teams that did/didn’t make the cut: Navy (32,653), Army (31,667), UCF (39,314), East Carolina (49,665), San Diego State (34,133), UTEP (29,350), Houston (31,100), and So. Miss. (29,400).
Step 2: Schools that don’t make the cut are “demoted” to the FCS. Would this be so bad when the only reason many of the schools left out only joined the FBS for guaranteed money and a guaranteed loss on their schedule? To soften the demotion there will be revenue sharing from the new 72. These new FCS schools realign in a shocking fashion… by sitting down at a table and looking at a map.
Who goes where?
A mere 31 driving turns and 1,591 miles away, TCU is in the same conference as Syracuse. Major realignment doesn’t make sense?
1) North Carolina
2) N.C. State
3) Wake Forest
4) East Carolina (or Duke)
6) Virginia Tech
9) West Virginia
2) Boston College
6) Penn State
3) Florida State
4) South Florida
6) Georgia Tech
8) South Carolina
3) Ole Miss
4) Miss. State
8) Oklahoma State
1) Notre Dame
5) Ohio State
7) Michigan State
4) Kansas State
7) Texas A&M
2) Air Force
6) Arizona State
4) Oregon State
7) Texas Tech
8) Boise State
9) Fresno State
Is it a perfect fit in some cases? No. Should a few teams be in a different conference? Maybe. Will fans get used to it after a few years? Do fans complain too loudly a year or two after joining a new conference? Welcome to the New World Order of college football, served up by none other than Mike Slive.
Tyler Beam works as a communications specialist for Brown-Forman in Louisville, Ky. A lifetime SEC fan – long before it became “acceptable” to cheer for every team in the conference – he plans on writing several books about college football that have a fantastic chance of never being written.