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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Why Conference Realignment Really Doesn’t Matter

The writers and bloggers and sports talk show hosts of the world are absolutely going nuts about this conference realignment.  It has swamped nearly all shows and columns around the country.  This team may go here or leave here or get bought out by this league.  And it’s all fine and exciting.  It is like watching a soap opera, where greed is nearly always the issue behind the drama.  But I think one misperception that seems to be overlooked is just how big of an impact these moves could have on the college football landscape.  And let’s be honest, it is all about football.

I think it may have been Matt that I heard quoted (and sorry if I am wrong) as saying that the moves of the next couple weeks will have an effect on college sports for the next 100 years.  The problem with that is that history tells us there is no way that will be the case.  It will have an IMMEDIATE impact on lots of schools, especially in the checkbook.  But to suggest that the long term impact will last decades and decades just doesn’t play out for me. 

Major college football as we know it was basically created in 1978, when 2 divisions were created, thus eliminating all the small schools and highlighting the large programs of America.  And interestingly enough, there were 6 major conference in 1978, although most of which are very different today.  Take a look below at the the setup in 1978 and all of the changes that have occurred since then.  Pay close attention to the years.   

1978
ACC: Clemson, Maryland, NC State, Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia
Big 10: Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern
Big 8: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Kansas
Pac-10: USC, UCLA, Stanford, California, Arizona, Arizona St, Washington, Washington St, Oregon, Oregon St.
SEC: Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi St, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
Southwest: Houston, Arkansas, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, SMU, Baylor, Rice, TCU
(The MAC and WAC conferences also existed, but on a less major basis.  There were also 25 Division 1-A independents)

1980
ACC: Adds GEORGIA TECH

1991
ACC: Adds FLORIDA STATE
Big East conference CREATED
Southwest: Loses ARKANSAS
SEC: Adds ARKANSAS and SOUTH CAROLINA

1993
Big 10: Adds PENN STATE

1996
Southwest conference DISSOLVES (SMU, Rice, Houston, TCU fail to get into major conference)
Big 8 conference DISSOLVES
Big 12 conference CREATED

2004
ACC: Adds MIAMI and VA TECH
Big East: Loses MIAMI, TEMPLE, and VA TECH
Big East: Adds UCONN

2005
ACC: Adds BOSTON COLLEGE
Big East: Loses BOSTON COLLEGE
Big East: Adds LOUISVILLE, CINCINNATI, and SOUTH FLORIDA

2011
Big 10: Adds NEBRASKA
Big 12: Loses COLORADO and NEBRASKA
Pac 10/12: Adds COLORADO and UTAH

2012
SEC: Adds TEXAS A&M
Big 12: Loses TEXAS A&M

In the almost 34 years since Division 1-A football was created, the longest time between major conference change was 11 years.  The longest time since 1990 is 8 years.  The longest time without change since 2000 is 6 years.  The point is, college football has become a fluid system.  These college presidents and athletic directors are always looking for better opportunities to make more money.  They are never satisfied unless their name is Texas.  Does all of this conference change matter?  Of course it does.  It is very significant.  But let’s not act like all of these changes will last for the rest of our lifetimes.  In fact, I would be STUNNED if we get through 15 years with the system that is about to be created.  And since I will be a lifetime writer for KSR (suck it), you all can bring this back up in 2026.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

16 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Why Conference Realignment Really Doesn’t Matter



  1. TSlone08
    9:11 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    So how does the ACC add a Clemson that was already in the ACC?



  2. btowncatfan
    9:13 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    1978 ACC has Clemson, Maryland,… in 1980 the ACC adds CLEMSON (????)



  3. Levi
    9:23 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    You sound a little defensive there BTI.



  4. rhftwo
    9:25 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Good editing BTI, a founding member is re-added?



  5. hey bti
    9:27 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Check out huffington post’s 10 best colleges for sports list that failed to mention Kentucky. Tear em’ a new asshole!



  6. Bastard Yak
    9:28 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    fact checking/editing would’ve been good, but the premise behind what he is saying is true. this isn’t gonna matter that much in 5 years.



  7. bluesince66
    9:28 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Haven’t read any other comments yet, but the big and Pac 12 should just tell Texas to go to hell and play as an independent. They went out on their own and signed a deal with ESPN which in turn gave them an unfair advantage, so let them have their deal and play as an independent.



  8. Jimmy Buffett
    9:39 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    #5: UK had no chance for this list if FB was one of the criteria.



  9. bti sucks
    9:44 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    despite the clemson oversite, this is the most insightful post by bti yet (aka the first insightful post)



  10. Facts dont matter
    9:57 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I listened to the podcast and Matt comments that realignment effects will span the next 20 years. Perhaps at another time he said the next Millennium and yet in another statement the next hundred



  11. Major
    10:00 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I had forgotten about Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU in the old SWC. That’s the easy solution for the Big 12. If they lose A&M and Missouri, they just need to invite those four back. They’ve been in a major conference before and would probably like to return to the spotlight.



  12. facts? who needs facts?
    10:01 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Um…Big East was founded in 1979. How could three Big East teams have been in the ’85 FF in Lexington before the conference was chartered?



  13. facts? who needs facts?
    10:04 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Ok, I’ll admit that I didn’t pay attention that this was a football conference timeline. Big East football is only 20 years old. BTI still isn’t that good.



  14. Cat fan in TN
    10:24 am September 22, 2011 Permalink

    13) I was thinking the same thing at first with UConn joining the conference in 2004, but then realized it’s strictly football. This was a good post and got me to doing a little reasearch too. Didn’t realize that Lexington was the 2nd largest city in the SEC (Nashville) and UK has the 4th largest endowment in the conference. And poor Mississippi St., the only team in the conference to not win a championship in at least 1 sport!



  15. bmack
    12:12 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    14 – although Lexington’s population is technically larger than Columbia, SC, that’s due to Lexington’s merged city/county boundary. The 2010 census count for the metro areas shows that Columbia is quite a bit bigger (472k for Lex & 767k for Columbia).



  16. Nomore
    8:29 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    BTI still sucks – isn’t about time for a “least favorite UK football players” post?