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NCAA Conference Realignment Notes And Predictions

Maryland and Rutgers have committed to the Big 10, making this cluster**** of conference changes that much more confusing. According to Josh Helmuth, here is how the conferences will look by 2015 and beyond.

What Is Already Official By 2013-14:

ACC
Bring In: Pitt and Syracuse

Big East
Bring In: UCF, Houston, Memphis, SMU, San Diego State and Boise State. However, SDSU and Boise State are considering going back to the Mountain West before they ever play a game in the Big East. With the new four-team playoff system announced that will be in play by 2014, the Mountain West will be part of the 'plus one-wild card' conference that the Big East will also be part of; equalizing the conferences. Then again, keep reading and I forecast these teams won't be in either.

Peace Out: Pitt and Syracuse

Conference USA
Bring In: Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio from the WAC; FIU and North Texas from the Sun Belt; and Old Dominion, who is coming in from the FCS sub-division.

Peace Out: UCF, Houston, Memphis, SMU — essentially the only good football schools the conference had.

Mountain West
Bring In: Utah State and San Jose State

Peace Out: Boise State and SDSU….for now


Sun Belt
Bring In: Georgia State and Texas State

Peace Out: FIU and North Texas

WAC
Bring In: No one

Peace Out: Everyone.

ACC
The conference has 13 teams set for 2014, so adding one more is inevitable. Of all the names being passed around, Louisville and South Florida make the most sense; if they're available and not snatched up by a bigger conference like the SEC or Big 10. If so, UCONN is likely.

Peace Out: Maryland

Big Ten
Bring In: Maryland and Rutgers. They've already taken Nebraska out west, now they're branching out to the east coast. They're dead set on becoming the first 16-team power conference.

Peace Out: No one

Big East
The conference is down to 11 teams. They need 12 at minimum to hold a conference championship. East Carolina wants in; Navy makes sense but no one is sure if they'll actually join a conference at all. No doubt this conference is in big trouble football wise.

Peace Out: Rutgers

What will happen 2015 and beyond?

You're guess is as good as mine, but because of money hungry administrators looking for that BCS bonus / TV share, I think that 16 team-power conferences are inevitable. The Pac 12, Big 12, SEC, Big 10 and ACC will survive, but there are too many questions after those conferences. While it's hard to predict whom will go where in the next 3-7 years, the following wouldn't shock me:
 

  • Florida State and Virginia Tech join the SEC — both schools have built traditions with SEC schools over the years and it seems like a great cultural fit. The SEC is at 14 teams now and will eventually want two more schools.
  • The Big East essentially merges with the ACC — While one conference is losing everyone, the other is gaining but still struggling. The ACC is going to need 4-6 more schools before it's said and done. I can see schools like South Florida, Louisville, Cincinnati, Pitt and UCONN all going to the ACC; heck, even Syracuse could make a return. A merger seems logical.
  • Notre Dame joins the Big 10 — Sooner or later they won't want to be kept in the BCS playoff dark. They have a tentative scheduling relationship with the ACC, but when they see they won't be able to compete with the quality of schools they're accustomed to they'll have to make an official switch.
  • The Big 10 branches out to yet another market — They'll want two more schools to have the predicated magical 16 teams. Many expect them to go after the Big 12 market along with going further south or northeast. Schools like Kansas, NC State, Boston College and Georgia Tech could be suitors.
  • The Mountain West runs to the Pac 12 and Big 12 — No doubt the Pac 12 and Big 12 will need to add a plethora of teams to contend. Expect BYU, Boise State, Fresno State, SDSU and possibly some conference USA schools like SMU to make the jump.

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
 

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