From the Bird’s Nest: If I Could Do Re-alignment
Make me the czar.
Let me (and me alone) decide how conferences should shake out.
Let the big guys decide their own (greedy) fate...and I'll align what's left.
Now, let's start with some givens: The ACC is going to sixteen teams. Pitt and Syracuse are in. UCONN and Rutgers are going to follow.
The Pac is going to sixteen. Texas, Texas Tech, OU and OSU. Go west, old men.
The SEC will go to fourteen. Texas A&M enters. So does (according to my sources,) Missouri.
Now, what happens with the rest?
There's talk about the leftovers from the Big XII (Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor) merging with the castoffs from the (back to basketball-only) Big East. (Cincinnati, West Virginia, USF, TCU, Louisville.) Now, that would make for a good hoops league, but there's no way that league will get Automatic Qualifier status to the BCS, which would be the only plausible reason for them to merge.
So throw that out. I have deemed it so.
Now, let's take what's left and do something that actually makes sense.
Let's start with the Mountain West. The castoffs from the Big XII would be much more suited here than merging with the other guys. Add Baylor, the two Kansas schools and Iowa State. TCU might as well come back since the Big East is gone. That gives you fifteen schools. Not a great number. Add Utah State to the mix, giving the Mountain West the Utah presence they lost when Utah and BYU defected. But there's one more thing: Hawai'i is football only. We need a basketball school. Seattle, you're it.
THE NEW MOUNTAIN WEST:
Hawai'i (football only,) Fresno State, Nevada, Boise State, UNLV, San Diego State, Air Force, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State, TCU, Utah State, Seattle (non-football).
They won't be an AQ conference, but they'll be the closest thing to it. Solid basketball with Kansas, Utah State, K-State, Baylor, New Mexico and San Diego State.
Now, let's let geography, for the most part, decide the rest. As you read this, you cannot say "I don't want so and so in my league." Remember, I'm the czar.
All conferences now have new names, except the Mid-America, which will remain virtually intact. After all, perception is reality, so everyone gets a clean slate. Let's start in the East:
THE METRO CONFERENCE
Yep, we're going to bring back the old name. Why? Because we're going to reunite some former conference mates: Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, UAB, West Virginia, USF, UCF, FAU, FIU, East Carolina, Marshall, Temple.
Temple doesn't really belong in the MAC (where 13 football schools isn't cool), and this lineup would allow them to leave the Atlantic 10 (14?) for other sports. Everyone is in the eastern time zone except Memphis (who needs to be here for basketball purposes) and UAB (who was in the old Metro.) Twelve schools.
THE MID SOUTH CONFERENCE
Houston, Rice, Tulane, Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Southern Miss, Troy, South Alabama, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee, WKU, UALR (non-football)
The 13 for basketball isn't great, but it's doable. (I'm not demoting any non-football school that's already in a football league, or who has agreed to join one.) All schools are in the Central Time Zone. And, wow, what a baseball league this would be. Yeah, Tech, I know, you don't want to be with ULM. Neither do the Cajun fans. Too bad. I'm the czar.
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
This one isn't easy because of geography. But someone has to go west.
Idaho, San Jose State, New Mexico State, UTEP, Tulsa, North Texas, SMU, UTSA, Texas State, Denver (non-football), Texas-Arlington (non football), Utah Valley State (non-football).
Nine football schools, which is a good number. UTA and Denver make eleven. I added UVU to get to 12. If you don't like them, Texas Pan American and Houston Baptist are available.
Now, all of this probably won't happen. How do I know that? Because egos run rampant. And some schools act like others have leprosy. But what a great world it would be if egos didn't run conference re-alignment.
And I did, instead.