Hiya folks, new on the board. Here's what I see as a plausible scenario for the next round of realignment. I'm definitely no expert, so feel free to poke holes in it!
The dominoes fall when the Big 12 GOR expires in 2025. The Pac-12 is first to strike, becoming the Pac-16 by acquiring Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. The rest of the Big 12 is up for grabs. The Big Ten invites Kansas to make 15. Iowa State is a suitable add but offers nothing new. Instead, the Big Ten scores a coup by poaching Missouri from the SEC. West Virginia is added by the SEC to replace Missouri. Although the SEC already has a foothold in Texas with A&M, they could become the dominant conference in the state by adding any two of Baylor, Houston, and TCU. The latter two are invited, while small-market Baylor is shunned. The ACC must keep up by moving to 16 as well. Notre Dame is at last compelled to join as a full member. Cincinnati is chosen as #16 over Connecticut in order to improve the football strength of the now-weakest P4 conference. Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas State fall down to the American.
Each P4 conference divides its teams into four pods, which rotate annually between divisions to allow each team to play all other 15 teams in the conference within two years (based on a 9-game conference schedule). In one year, you have the Northeast (North + East Pods) and Southwest (South + West Pods) Divisions, and the next year, you have the Northwest and Southeast Divisions. The four winners of the conference championship games automatically receive bids into the CFP.
So here's what we get:
East Pod: Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech
North Pod: Boston College, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
South Pod: Florida State, Miami, NC State, Wake Forest
West Pod: Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville
Permanent crossovers: Duke/Wake Forest, NC State/North Carolina
East Pod: Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
North Pod: Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin
South Pod: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue
West Pod: Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
(Yes, the South Pod isn't very "south," but there's no help for it.)
Permanent crossovers: Illinois/Northwestern, Michigan/Ohio State
East Pod: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech
North Pod: Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State
South Pod: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah
West Pod: California, Stanford, UCLA, USC
Permanent crossovers: none
East Pod: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia
North Pod: Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
South Pod: Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss
West Pod: Houston, LSU, TCU, Texas A&M
Permanent crossovers: Alabama/Tennessee, Auburn/Georgia
This really only works if Texas and Oklahoma go to the Pac. I'm not confident that Missouri would defect, even though they originally preferred the Big Ten and the SEC has no exit penalties. And the SEC simply might not choose to move from 14 to 16.
So what does everyone think? Any questions, just let me know!