Hey guize, Lurker here. I've been working on one final conference realignment scenario. It'll contain usual Lurker shenanigans -- fawning over Delaware and British Columbia, etc.. -- though it's a bit more downplayed here. I'll be posting this is parts, starting with the BCS and continuing into D-1A and the 'power' mid-major basketball conferences. I'll also write a little explanation on why I think this situation is plausible.
So this is what College Athletics will look like around ten years in the future.
The marbles will start dropping when the Big Ten makes the obvious move. Spurred on by rampant speculation about a raid on the Big East, Notre Lame jumps ship and heads to the most powerful and smartest conference in the nation. Missouri is the obvious choice since ND covers New York pretty well on its own.
Bison Atheltic Association:
Nevada Las Vegas
Hey, It's Lash's TOP TEN CONFERENCE YAY! Oh, wait nine schools for scheduling. First, I think the massive changes and Texas' power will lead to a suspension of the NCAA conference membership rule temporarily (though the NCAA can be rightful jerks).
Texas and Lebron share something in common: They want to take the path of least resistance. However, In Texas' case they should achieve this in the opposite way: By surrounding themselves with the west-coast schools instead of the more football oriented east coast. 1st) As a resident of Tennessee and in constant contact with UT football, I think the hiring of Lane Kiffin, combined with the probation from TV, is going to knock USC down a notch. The guy can flat out NOT coach. So I look for them to be a still consistent bowl team on the level of a UCLA.
Colorado, UNLV and Arizona are what I like to call 'Houston' schools. What is a Houston school? Why, it's a school in a big market that may not draw well, but provides exposure and a free W. Colorado has a history as a football school but has fallen on hard times. Arizona provides solid Bball. Now, the wild card here is UNLV. I think that this school is often underrated because A) Nevada grows quickly and B) the lack of BCS schools or even Pro Sports teams within 100 miles. Due to the RPI rating system, longer season and intense out-of-conference schedule, it's NOT a good idea to have 2 good Basketball teams and 8 bad ones. UNLV fits the profile of a model member of the Texas and the White Dwarfs.
The big question: How did Texas and A&M manage to ditch Tech? Well, they parlayed the help of a school with growing influence by promising them a BCS slot, the 40,000 strong giant that is the .... Houston Cougars. Soon, the university will be tier 1. The recent upswell of support, highlighted by this effort: http://www.dailymail.com/Sports/ConfrenceUSASporta/201006180044
... will allow the Texas Two to power play Tech and Baylor out of the picture for good. But who will be the taker?
Second, Why Niether Cal? Well, Lawsuits are bad, and the Oregon and Washington schools will be mighty ticked if the last California public is taken away from them, ending the PAC Ten and forcing a Fresno State-esque school upon them. Plus, Cal stretches a conference that already expands from Austin to Boulder to LA.
Southeastern Conference (West):
Southeastern Conference (East):
Spurned on by the *NEW* Big Twelve, the SEC will also consider expansion. Texas has been a priority for the SEC for a while, so why not go with the largest and now academically best school on the market? The best thing though, is that compared to schools like Auburn, Alabama and Louisiana State, the cougars are well.. sort of a pushover? This conference will be absolutely brutal, so relief with a school that is not a long term power is quite a fresh drink of water indeed.
Florida State will jump at the opportunity to leave a woebegone but still rich ACC for greener pastures, and the always football oriented Virginia Tech will come with them, not preferring to stay home in a ACC conference that is no longer a football powerhouse on any level. I moved Mississippi State over to balance out the conferences. In the first three years, the bulldogs will achieve over 20 conference losses.
Lower Tier BCS:
Well, normally I would decide that the Snobby Ten would go ahead and turn its nose up at the supposed lower peons at Boise and BYU, but when options include Nevada, Hawaii and... New Mexico, you really have to consider some more betterer options. Again, Nine will become the new twelve due to scheduling, and we will have a.. STABLE AND SENSIBLE NINE TEAM CONFERENCE WITH A DEFINED FOOTPRINT? WHAT!? Boise and BYU are obvious choices even with the academic intensity of the PAC-Ten, especially when there are no more AAU schools left for the picking.
Southern Ivy Association:
Now this is what actually started all the marbles. First, it was rumored that Florida State would leave the ACC, causing a hostile NERD TAKEOVER from the powers at be in Chapel Hill. Also, by ditching Florida State and Virginia Tech, the conference maintains a link in Florida (Miami) all the while adding THREE AAU schools and a basketball powerhouse, allowing them to have academic bragging rights over everybody but the Big Fourteen. Also, they become the dominant conference all along the east coast except Florida and have a balanced lead.
Oh, and the promise of an easier schedule combined with the fraternity of academic colleagues will trump cash money for Vanderbilt.
Why ditch Boston College in the process though? Well.. The school is tiny, they travel like crap (as seen in their record-low ACC championship draws) and they aren't particularly good at... anything.
The Big East Conference:
North Carolina State/Clemson
Saint John's (NY)#
Here, we have the good ol' suspension of NCAA conference guidelines at work. First, SUNY-Buffalo brings a good academic institution and a replacement for lost New York exposure. UMASS is still better IMHO, but Boston College brings that market anyway. Temple is pulling out the stops on its football program and bring a solid market. The Big East will temper its anger when it happens into NC State, Boston College and Clemson, making it a very solid football conference.
Saint John's is the third best Private in the Big East, and allows a direct link to the NY market. Georgetown provides DC and very good basketball. With Temple on board, the need for Villanova fades.
The Big Nine:
Colorado State/Oklahoma State
Texas Tech/New Mexico
The last of our BCS brethren is the leftover Big Twelve schools. This is a very solid conference on the level of ye old C-USA. Colorado State brings Denver to the table, New Mexico is a solid school and Memphis brings Fed Ex, a bowl and solid hoops. TCU provides a slice of Dallas.
Notice Iowa State is missing. They stretch the conference badly and also happen to bring very little market wise. So they are doomed to a future MAC.