A Modest Proposal
With the impending rise of Western Kentucky to the ranks of Division I-A, the division will soon have 120 teams. With all the chaos of conference realignment, BCS or playoff arguments, and the general disorganization of Division I-A, I've come up with an idea of how to solve the problem. 15 8 team conferences, with a 16 seed playoff of the 15 conference champs and one at-large bid, to be determined by something approaching the current BCS rankings. Said rankings would also determine the seeding of the playoff. The conferences will be put together geographically, with as much balance as possible while also trying to maintain rivalries. This setup would provide a true conference champion, with only 7 conference games, allowing 5 games a year to be played against traditional rivals now shipped off to another conference and anyone else. I have attempted to maintain, where possble, the geographically based conference names, whether active or not, and even some Division I-AA conference names may crop up. Purely fantasy, I know, but here is my modest proposal for the realignment of Division I-A football.
So, with no further ado, here are my conferences for Division I-A football:
Big East: Buffalo, Syracuse, Army, U Conn, Boston College, Rutgers, Maryland, and Navy
Atlantic: Temple, Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Marshall, Virginia, Va Tech, and Kentucky
Ohio Valley: Akron, Ohio, Ohio State, Miami (OH), Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Toledo, and Kent State
Midwestern: Michigan, Mich State, Central Mich, Eastern Mich, Western Mich, Notre Dame, Purdue, and Indiana
MAC: Ball State, Louisville, Illinois, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Western Kentucky
Blue Ridge:Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, East Carolina, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State, and Vanderbilt
Southeastern: Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Auburn, UAB, and Southern Miss
Sun Belt: Florida, FSU, UCF, USF, FIU, FAU, Miami (FL), and Troy
Southern: Ole Miss, Miss. State, Memphis, Arkansas, Arkansas State, LSU, Tulane, and La Tech
Bayou: ULaMo, ULaLa, Rice, Houston, UNT, SMU, Tulsa, and Baylor
Southwest: Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, UTEP, Oklahoma, Ok State, and Missouri
Great Plains: Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and Colorado State
Mountain West: Air Force, New Mexico, NM State, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, BYU, and Utah State
Big West: UNLV, Nevada, Idaho, Boise State, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State
WAC: Cal, Stanford, San Jose State, Fresno State, UCLA, USC, San Diego State, and Hawaii
Some preliminary comments on this arrangement. Yes, it does lead to some unbalanced conferences, with the Southeastern and Southwest being particularly brutal, and the Ohio Valley and Bayou being particularly easy for the one good to average team in them. However, even the two brutal conferences have only 4-5 teams that each year would be top flight, as opposed to the real SEC, with pretty much every team but the Mississippi teams (and maybe Vandy) being highly competitive this year. On the other hand, even the powder puff conferences are more reminiscent of the FSU ACC years of the early 90's, as opposed to the actual Sun Belt.
So there you go - one man's solution to the mess that is Division I-A football. Not that it will ever happen.