Let's say that 16 is the max for the upcoming Power 4 Super Conferences ------------

--------------------- which I think is a good assumption because any more than that is just too unwieldy for one conference schedule. Who are the Pac12, Big10, & ACC likely to add to achieve 16? A separate question is, after that dust settles, could those left out of the Power 4, get 16 teams together that are good enough to claim to be the 5th Power Conference? Even if they could make that claim, would the first 4 accept them as equal enough to be included?

Here are my guesses. Academics are big in the Pac12, Big10, & ACC, but they might stoop a little to try and keep up with the SEC.

  1. Pac12 adds Texas Tech & TCU to form a Pac12 South Division and to get into the Texas recruiting market more strongly. This adds some TV revenue as well. This is more beneficial than Boise State and BYU.

  2. Big10 adds Kansas and Pitt. This is slumming academically but it gets two rent-a-wins in some major sports and it gives the Big10 equal status to the SEC in numbers. Plus, they don’t need the money as much as some so TV enhancement is not a high priority.

  3. ACC adds West Virginia to reach 16 when Notre Dame is counted in. Not a great benefit but this is the easy choice for the ACC and a godsend for WVU.

  4. So, who is left for 16 teams to claim to be the fifth Power conference? There are no national powers, but there are some pretty good mid-level teams that could contend occasionally for national honors:

a. Baylor
b. Houston
c. SMU
d. Kansas State
e. Oklahoma State
f. Boise State
g. BYU
h. Iowa State
i. Nevada
j. Memphis
k. Cincinatti
l. UCF
m. Tulane
n. Louisiana Tech
o. Louisiana Lafeyette
p. Colorado State

So, you take that bunch, form east and west divisions and you just travel like West Virginia has been doing and that can work.

There are others that could be on that list instead of the ones I suggest. Will that bunch get enough TV revenue to be competitive enough with the other four? Probably, ESPN will do the Roman Emperor thumbs up or down on this concept and that will be that. You got to think that AD’s at all of these last 16 and others are scrambling to try and not be left out by this new power structure of super conferences that seems inevitable. JMVVVVVVHO

I don’t think there will be five superconferences. The Orphan Eight is the most likely to go away. But it’s also possible that the four survivors will go beyond 16 to 18 or 20.

AAC would like to replace the OE but if the orphans scatter as you suggest in your scenario there won’t be much for the AAC to scoop up.

It’s hard for me to imagine LaLa, LaTech, or Tulane making the cut into a power conference. All those are Louisiana schools. Of course, Tulane was once an SEC program. SMU is like Tulane. Once in a major conference but relegated to mid-major status over the past 30 years.

The rest of those look like they could make the cut for a 5th “Power 5” conference, but unless something drastically changed they’d clearly be the weakest of the 5. A very distant 5th place. The ACC, BIG, PAC, & SEC look to be the survivors although it’s still hard for me to think any of them are going to take any of the schools you mentioned. If football isn’t the overriding consideration, I guess somebody could take KU. OK St is a good program, but unless it can somehow wrangle its way into the SEC, I don’t see much good happening for it. Same with KSU.

None of the remaining Big 8/Big 12 schools are in a good position. I don’t see anyone wanting any of them. If so, they need to hang together, try to add somebody like Boise, BYU, Col St., Memphis, Cincy, Houston, maybe SMU & Tulane to become their own lesser 16 team league. The TV money wouldn’t be as good, but at least they could probably command something & perhaps be part of a 12 team CFP.

I don’t know that there is a max number. You have assumed something that I don’t know to be true. You know what they say about assuming. I do not think there has to be a fifth power conference.

I don’t see anything that suggests “power” in the teams you have left. Power would be an indication that ESPN (or maybe Fox) covets such a conference. I don’t think there would be much excitement to pay any big rights fees for those teams.

I think it could even end up with two big alliances, with each alliance containing more than one conference, with some scheduling/media rights cooperation. For example, the Big Ten and the PAC could agree to schedule two or three games a year with teams from the other conference, with the conferences sharing media rights to those games and some also-ran bowl games involving the two schools. Everybody else will be scrambling but likely will have some media money coming in.

I think the two alliances could be the SEC/ACC and the PAC/Big Ten, or more appropriately, US vs. THEM.

1 Like

The Remaining Big 12 (8 total, very confusing) could be folded into various conferences and have four 16-team super conferences…but that assumes that the existing conferences want those teams. West Virginia was already turned down once for the ACC for academic reasons.

Folks need to remember that the B1G, in particular, and the Pac12 to a lesser extent, have academic standards that trickle down to sports teams. While OSU and Tech have been linked with the Pac12 (first I’ve seen TCU mentioned), Tech (KU and Iowa State also) is the only one with academic credentials that easily meet the standard. KState can’t make the B1G standards (that is the Tech, KU, Iowa State standard), so they and KU would be separated, ala OSU and OU.

Four teams in a pod helps with the geographic displacement. But, West Virginia only fits with Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech (Virginia as the hesitant fourth in that pod?) in a pod anywhere, really. And, the ACC would have to vote to take them when they didn’t before.

Crazy how geography is being blown up for this thing. Makes sense, though. Money talks.

I could see that, too. After all, when a conference becomes too big, it stops being a conference & just becomes a business alliance. 16 already stretches it about as far as it can go. If the SEC splits into two 8-team divisions, it becomes essentially 2 conferences with a business alliance. If it goes with pods or just gives each team 3 permanent opponents, there can be enough intra-league play that the conference affiliation is more meaningful.

There’s no need for the SEC to expand even if it wants to expand its influence. It could enter into an alliance such as you suggest and accomplish the same thing as it would by expanding to 20+ teams. At that many teams even basketball becomes unwieldy.

The next big step I see coming is whatever organization the top 60-80 schools put together to replace the NCAA to govern themselves. Then the only question is to what extent it wants to include the smaller schools for occasional participation. It might exclude them altogether for football, but allow them for other sports.

Certainly have been a victim of that many times.

It just seems that, using either pods or divisions with permanent rivals, you lose the ability to play the rest of the league enough to be one conference when you go beyond 16. It becomes two separate conferences with a business arrangement for their champions to play and you play the other side’s teams once each every four or five years.

PAC-12 adding TX Tech and TCU only gets them to 14. If you’re assuming the 4 power conferences get to 16 members, they’d have to take 2 more.

I could see Baylor and BYU in addition to the 2 you named. You could have a Coastal Division of Washington, Wash St, Oregon, Oregon St, USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford, then a Mountain Division of Arizona, AZ St, Utah, Colorado, TX Tech, TCU, Baylor and BYU.

I think Notre Dame finally gets in bed with the Big Ten.

18 or 20 with permanent rivals and rotation can still connect as a league somewhat. It’s not going to be the current B12 with an actual round robin in football but you’ll see everyone else within a reasonable amount of time. In fact it will probably be more of a conference than the current 14-team SEC, where we haven’t played at Vandy in 10 years and Georgia still hasn’t been to College Station.

You could do 20, for instance, with five four-team pods (or three permanent rivals) and rotate six of the other 16 through every year. You’d play everyone home and home no worse than every sixth year and mostly every fifth.

The two big schools in the country the Pac-12 WON’T take ever are Baylor and BYU, because of their attitudes about LGBTQ+ students. And faculty for that matter.

The only way ND breaks down and joins a conference is if NBC dumps them and nobody else wants to pick it up, or if the CFP becomes conference-only. And I don’t expect either one to happen.

1 Like

I will agree with Jeff on ND not being pulled into the B1G. Domers AD was a member of the working group that came up with the 12 team playoff scenario and he was there to ensure they were protected from a competitive angle. Also, I’ve read “opinions” at a couple different sites in the past couple weeks that the PAC12 may have some work to do to keep USC in the fold. The thing in favor of them standing pat is the fact that the B1G commish was caught flat footed by all of this realignment. Keep in mind that he is still newly returned from the NFL. My guess is that a couple PAC12 schools might hope to be courted by B1G. I sense that nobody in what was P5 conferences were too concerned then or now about travel distances. JMO of course, but I offer up what pundits have written.

I don’t pretend to know what the PAC 12 wants or might do, but I can’t understand how any school, including USC would benefit from joining a conference whose nearest member is half a continent away. LA to Lincoln is probably 1200 miles by air. 1500 if you drive. And that’s the close one.

If USC stays pat, it’s still the big dog on the block, has a cross town rival, UCLA and two more just up the coast, Stanford & Cal. It’s not terribly far from LA to Phoenix or Tucson. It is a long way to Wash., WSU, Oregon & OSU, but closer than any BIG campus. That’s also true of Utah & Col.

Seems to me the PAC is strong enough (if they start playing better) to absorb a couple of other programs. It was the PAC 8 and added AZ & ASU. Both of those were WAC at the time & neither was a major football program. Joining the PAC 8 to form the Pac 10 helped all parties. Utah wasn’t a major football power at all until Urban Meyer put them on the map. By taking Utah in, the PAC improved Utah’s standing. I suspect it could do the same for Nevada or UNLV or Boise. I guess it could consider going as far east as T Tech or Okie St. I never thought it would take Colorado, but it did. Regardless, I’d be surprised if USC treats the PAC the way TX & OU treated the Bib XII

The almighty dollar papers over a lot of geography. If SC perceives that it can make $35 million in the P-12 versus $70 million in the B1G, and furthermore that that situation out there is not likely to improve… that’s why P-12 observers are talking/concerned about it. George K walked into a minefield out there. The P-12 network is terrible (about one-fourth as many subscribers as BTN or SECN) and he’s largely stuck with Fox until 2024. He needs to figure out some way to monetize streaming real fast. Maybe Amazon Prime? George used to be the CEO of Hulu so he’s got that experience in the streaming world.

Thanks Jeff. Yours is a fair assessment based on what I have read elsewhere. Money is boss today no matter what someone’s logic may tell them. Of interest perhaps, Washington is another possible target of B1G according to some. Have no idea myself. The question to be answered is "what is the value " of that potential addition. Has nothing to do with geography.

Have to concede you’re right about the money. I suppose ESPN could decide it wants USC in the BIG—or at least would pay much more to the BIG with USC in it

This topic was automatically closed after 30 days. New replies are no longer allowed.