Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Angry Rant: College Football Conference Realignment is the Worst!

by John Huffstetler

Much to the detriment and confusion of fans, the major conference power struggle in recent years has completely shuffled the structure of college football. Not only are some teams way outside of their geographic regions (see West Virginia in the Big 12), but the divisions established within these new conferences usually make no sense at all. Why can't each team be in their own geographic region and in  divisions that actually make sense? Would it be too difficult for the ACC and Big Ten to organize their teams into two divisions that people can actually remember? Why is Missouri in the SEC East even though they're located further west than 5 SEC West teams? The rest of this rant will break down the annoying nuances of conference realignment conference by conference and fix College Football's terrible newly established divisions.

Big 12

First of all, you have 10 teams now. It reminds me of my brother claiming he's 5'8" when he's clearly 5'6" at best. They were down to 8 before adding TCU and West Virginia. TCU makes perfect sense. They're a school from Texas with the potential to be a perennial top 25 team nationally. They fit in already as natural rivals with Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. West Virginia, however, is ridiculous! There were multiple teams that made more sense than WVA that the Big 12 could have invited to join the conference.

First of all, West Virginia is a terrible state and has an overrated football team. Making teams in your conference travel to West Virginia once every two years is basically a prison sentence. Nobody wants to go to West Virginia. Not even West Virginians. Secondly, they are located NOWHERE NEAR EVERY OTHER TEAM! Would Houston have been that terrible to get instead? Their football program is strong and they're located in Texas where 4 other Big 12 teams reside. How about Boise St.? They obviously would have turned down the Big East and joined the Big 12 instead. I could go on, but the point remains that there were many viable options that were more geographically suitable for the Big 12 that don't involve the worst state in the US. Here's what the Big 12 should look like (let's actually give them 12 teams too):

My Big 12

Oklahoma St.
Kansas St.
Iowa St.
West Virginia
Boise St.

Texas Tech

Wow, great job ACC. These make perfect sense.

With the ACC, at least the teams in the league make sense, but the divisions are total nonsense. I'll pay anyone $100 if they can name every team in each division. You might remember that Clemson and Florida St. are on the same half and that Miami and Virginia Tech are on the other half, but you'll probably have to double-check on where the dogshit teams like Duke, Virginia, and Wake Forest fall. Plus, the division names are infuriating! Atlantic and Coastal. That's almost as pathetically lame as Legends and Leaders (see the Big Ten). Why couldn't the ACC just structure the divisions based on geography? Oh, now I remember. They originally wanted Florida St. and Miami to be on opposite sides of the conference so they could play in the conference title game. Only problem is that they've both been mediocre for the last decade. Here are the conference championship game results over the 7 years the game has existed with Florida St.'s and Miami's appearances in bold:

2005- Florida St. over Virginia Tech
2006- Wake Forest over Georgia Tech
2007- Virginia Tech over Boston College
2008- Virginia Tech over Boston College
2009- Georgia Tech over Clemson
2010- Virginia Tech over Florida St.
2011- Clemson over Virginia Tech

Notice the lack of bold. Florida St. has been to the title game twice and Miami ZERO Times. You CAN'T organize a conference based on the possibility of two teams meeting in the title game. That is a short-sighted approach. The ACC should have been geographically organized, and this lack of geographic organization has completely crippled their conference's rivalries, and undoubtedly stifled them in recruiting. Now, Pitt and Syracuse will be joining this mess and the proposed North and South divisions STILL have Miami and Florida St. in opposite divisions! Did they learn nothing from this current alignment? Here is the way the divisions should look right now:



Boston College
Virginia Tech


Wake Forest
NC St.
Georgia Tech
Miami Fl.
Florida St.

So much simpler! Split up the North Carolina teams and put the Northern teams together and the Southern teams together. So what if one half looks stronger. Just divide it up logically.

Big Ten

Hey guys, my team is in the "Rainbow Fairy Division"
Two words: Leaders and Legends. These are the names of the divisions? Why? First of all, there are exactly zero "Legends" from Minnesota, and the "Leaders" at Penn St. and Ohio St. have proven to be complete scumbags. Plus, the division names are so cheesy. As a Michigan fan, it's hard to say we're in the "Legends" division without sounding like a gigantic pussy. Just like the ACC, the divisions make no sense based on geography or rivalries either. Also like the ACC with Florida St. and Miami (and we've seen how that has turned out), the Big Ten wanted to put Ohio St. and Michigan on opposite sides of the conference so they could potentially play in the title game. This throws everything else in the conference out of whack. It's not as big of a mess as the ACC, but the divisions could still improve. Swapping Wisconsin and Illinois for Michigan and Michigan St. would essentially solve the problem and create "East" and "West" divisions. This would give the added bonus of not feeling ashamed to say what division your fucking team is in! Oh and by the way, I'm changing the conference name from the Big 10 to the Big North.

My Big North

East (How awesome does this division look to watch by the way)
Penn St.
Ohio St.
Michigan St.



This line looks a little crooked
I'm going to keep this one short: Your conference was already fantastic. Why are you adding Big 12 trash and throwing off your perfect East/West balance? Missouri in the East? Gross. Plus, if you put Missouri in the West, the only sensible geographic move would be to split up the Alabama and Auburn rivalry, which is unacceptable. My solution is to go back in time and tell Missouri and Texas A+M to fuck off and stay in the Big 12. Why mess with perfection.

No Complaints Pac-12

Every other conference botched it in some way except the Pac-12. They added two teams: Colorado and Utah. Although both teams aren't particularly good, they at least make sense geographically. There is a clear North/South dividing line. They didn't try to put two teams on opposite sides so they can play in a title game once every 5 years if they're lucky. They just divided the teams up geographically and moved on. If only every other conference would have done the same. We wouldn't have to deal with teams in ridiculous conferences with terribly named divisions.

Is this nightmare salvageable? Probably not. Unfortunately, the perception of monetary gain drives the conference expansion and division of teams rather than logic and order. Next year, Boise St. will be in the Big East and West Virginia will remain in the Big 12. There is something just so wrong with that. It just feels dirty. And why hasn't the ACC learned that rigging divisions so Miami and Florida St. play in the title game didn't work? They're about to make the same mistake again with their proposed divisional alignment for next year. It might be over a decade before Miami and Florida St. happen to meet in the title game. That's not worth bastardizing your conference's divisional alignment. Learn from your mistakes and set the new divisions up correctly.

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