We’ve long discussed how the Big 12 Conference is on life support and needs some sort of miracle to survive. What happens next? Let’s pretend that it didn’t survive and the teams went to other conferences to form four 16-team power conferences. Imagine we could speed up that process and start next year. Here’s an idea of what it could look like, and if I had my way, what it would look like.
STEP 1 – Deal with the Independents
The PAC 12, SEC, ACC, and Big Ten try to get Notre Dame and/or BYU to join their conference.
In my mind, the PAC 12 would love BYU, considering their other options, and the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC will fight for Notre Dame. I’m going to assume that Notre Dame joins the ACC. They already have a scheduling relationship with the ACC, play ACC basketball, and the ACC needs Notre Dame more than Notre Dame needs the ACC.
STEP 2 – The Big XII leftovers
In my scenario, I had the Big XII leftovers going to the following conferences –
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the Big Ten
Kansas, Kansas State, and Texas Tech to the PAC 12
Texas and TCU to the SEC
West Virginia to the ACC
This leaves out Iowa State and Baylor. You can obviously make an argument for Baylor over Kansas or Kansas State or Texas Tech, but I’m in charge here, and I’m no fan of Baylor.
STEP 3 – Split each of the 4 power conferences into two 8-team divisions
- South Carolina
- Mississippi State
- Texas A&M
BIG TEN EAST
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
BIG TEN WEST
- Oklahoma State
- Notre Dame
- Virginia Tech
- West Virginia
- Boston College
- North Carolina
- North Carolina State
- Florida State
- Georgia Tech
- Wake Forest
PAC 12 NORTH
- Oregon State
- Washington State
PAC 12 SOUTH
- Kansas State
- Arizona State
- Texas Tech
STEP 4 (this is where it gets fun) – SCHEDULING
Rule 1 – Power 4 conferences can only play each other.
Rule 2 – Scheduling is NFL style, and rotates each year.
Rule 3 – 11 game regular season, 12th game for conference championship, 12 team playoff.
I’ve generated a proposed schedule for 2018. Here’s what it looks like.
Week 1 is an “invert week.” Your entire division plays another division, and based on last season’s standings, you match up 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5. Your entire division will either open at home or on the road, but it rotates each year.
BIG GAMES – LSU at Florida, Texas at Auburn, Nebraska at Miami, Wisconsin at Georgia Tech, Northwestern at Florida State
Week 2 is a random draw week. Every year, there is a televised draw. In year 1, all 64 teams are put in the hopper. The first four drawn from each division get home games. This gives you 32 home teams and 32 road teams. They will be randomly drawn to see who plays against each other. You aren’t allowed to play a team from your division or your conference or that you’re scheduled to play in an invert or match week.
In the second year, the home and road teams flip. Every 2 years you draw 32 new home teams and 32 new road teams.
BIG GAMES – Penn State at Tennessee, Clemson at USC, Stanford at Oklahoma, Miami at Northwestern, Ohio State at Oregon
Week 3 is a “match week.” Just like Week 1, your division matches up with another division. If you were on the road for the invert week, your entire division will host the match week. If you hosted the invert week, your entire division would be on the road for the match week. This would be a colossal day in college football as all 8 divisions would match up, based on last season’s final standings, 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, etc.
BIG GAMES – Clemson at TCU, Miami at LSU, Florida State at Texas A&M, Georgia at Notre Dame, Alabama at Virginia Tech, Auburn at Louisville, Stanford at Ohio State, Washington at Penn State, Oregon at Michigan, Oklahoma at USC
Week 4-6 are conference games
Week 7 is set aside for non-division rivalry games. This would still allow OU/Texas, South Carolina/Clemson, Florida/Florida State, etc., to still continue to play each and every year. For teams that don’t have a non-division rival, they can schedule a home and home to be played in consecutive years, or they can go into a separate random draw to select their opponent for the following season. You will rotate home and road games, although each 2 years, the schedule resets, and you may rotate home and road games in a different order (Translation: You’ll get 2 home games and 2 road games in a 4 year span).
Week 8-11 are conference games
Week 12 you play your in-division rival (OU/OSU, Alabama/Auburn, Ohio State/Michigan, Florida/Georgia, Texas/Texas A&M, etc.). Whatever week you were originally scheduled to play them becomes a bye week.
Putting all these factors into play, here’s what OU and OSU’s schedules would look like (the random draws were much kinder to OSU).
at Oklahoma State
* Division games
^ Neutral site
at Kansas State
at Arizona State
* Division games
STEP 5 – 12 Team Playoff
The 4 Conference champions receive first round byes and a home game in the quarterfinals (not allowed to play the team they played in the conference championship).
The 4 Conference runners-up receive first round home games.
The 4 at large teams (50% human vote, 50% computers average) play first round road games.
This guarantees that every division gets a postseason home game every year.
With this year’s teams, the Playoff would look something like this…
9 Alabama at 8 TCU – Winner plays at 1 Clemson
12 Penn State at 5 Ohio State – Winner plays at 4 USC
10 Auburn at 7 Notre Dame – Winner plays at 2 Oklahoma
11 Wisconsin at 6 Stanford – Winner plays at 3 Georgia
Will any of this ever happen? Not likely, though it would dwarf anything the NFL does and make the 64 power conference teams so much money they wouldn’t know what to do with it.
Next year when you look at the schedule and you see Mercer/Alabama, UTEP/Oklahoma, OSU/South Alabama, Citadel/Clemson, know that it could be better. It should be better, and it can be better. Just put me in charge.