4 By 20

There are currently 75 schools in what are today called AQ conferences (including the BE’s future additions).  Then you have Notre Dame and BYU as independents for 77.  I won’t get into a discussion about the BCS I’m just using those schools as a starting point because I believe that they all deserve a spot at the big boy table.

If you throw in Air Force for 78 and you only need two more schools to reach the magic number of 80.  I’ll go with Southern Miss and East Carolina from C-USA.  I will not include Army since they have said that they cannot compete in a top of the line conference.  Below are eight 10 school conferences that I believe could make up a new classification or start a new organization of college football schools.


1 – Northeast

Penn State


Boston College



West Virginia




Virginia Tech

  • Miami and Virginia Tech go with the Northeast because of their history with the Big East and the history of South Carolina with the old ACC schools.


2 – North

Ohio State


Michigan St








  • Self explanatory.  The old Big Ten.


3 – Atlantic


Florida State


N.C. State

Wake Forest


Georgia Tech

North Carolina


South Carolina

  • The ACC pre-Big East raids plus old conference mate South Carolina.


4 – Southeast









Miss St


  • Self explanatory.  The pre-expansion Southeastern Conference.


5 –

South Florida

Central Florida







Southern Miss

East Carolina

  • Many might say that this conference is too weak compared to the other conferences and that ND doesn’t belong.  ND doesn’t belong anywhere because of their history as an independent.


6 – Southwest




Texas Tech

Texas A&M



Southern Methodist


Arizona St

  • Eight schools from the old Southwest Conference plus the Arizona schools.


7 – Plains



Ok State

Iowa St


K State





  • The old Big 8 plus the Utah schools.


8 – West



Washington St


Oregon St




Boise St

San Diego St

  • The Pac-8 plus Boise and SDSU.  I though of putting those two in the grab bag conference and having some combination of Utah, BYU and Colorado here but went with geographic common sense.

8 responses to “4 By 20

  1. joe4psu June 2, 2012 at 01:24

    This is only the first piece I’ll be doing, as my thoughts come together and time allows, on where I see college football going. Please let me know what you think. I could be dead wrong on this but we know change is inevitable, what changes do you see coming?

  2. allthatyoucantleavebehind June 2, 2012 at 04:40

    The power is in the conferences. Before I could ever seriously respond to something like this, I’d need to know what “big bang” would happen in the NCAA to bring this about. Gov’t regulation? Exploding travel costs so schools go back to buses? I mean, seriously, I don’t know why the conferences would fall apart.

    If you wanted to speculate on the Big Ten somehow expanding to 20 teams (and maybe the SEC as well…and maybe the Pac-12), I’d engage in that hypothesis. My “Big Ten Network takeover” blog expresses my opinion that the Big Ten could become a major cable TV player if it can annex the right properties. I write about 16 teams…but 20 or 24 (if the entire “conference paradigm” changes) isn’t preposterous for a TV entity (SEC, Pac-12, and Big Ten are the only ones who could consider this).

    • joe4psu June 2, 2012 at 05:34

      While I still don’t expect a smooth transition to a 4×16 world, expansion and realignment has begun. The logical steps are 12 to 14 or 16, and then to 18 or 20. I think the conferences are going to find that it was a mistake to expand past 12 (10 really) and decide that 20 is a good number because you then split along division lines. A conference of 20 is two 10 school conferences. Or simply two conferences.

      The larger a conference the less you play your conference mates. In the future I think this will be a driver to expand to 20 and split. The split may be into divisions within a conference but it will still be two separate entities. There is also my hope that the conferences will eventually wise up and begin negotiating tv contracts as one, among other things, which would allow the formation of more geographically sensible conferences/divisions.

      The only constant is change and it is unlikely that the change is going to be toward smaller conferences. At least until 20 school conferences are reached. What conference do you think will kick members out? The B1G and Pac may see this future and want to hold at 12 but for the SEC, and the ACC for now, it is too late. The playoff may have something to do with it too. Having 10 school conferences allows for a round robin and does away with the CCG. That game is an impediment to playoff expansion because people don’t want the players to have more than 15 games and presidents don’t want the process to last any further than necessary into the next semester. A CCG means 13, semi’s 14 and the new championship game makes 15 games. And unless the bowls are used or the semis are played prior to the bowls, then the season will last longer than it does today. The only way to expand the playoff is to play more games or do away with CCGs. They are a money maker but an expanded playoff will make even more money.

      I want to think this out but may do more stream of consciousness blogging because that way I get feedback. I’ll be asking myself, and appreciate being asked, tough questions. There is no big bang, it will be a process. I need to consider your BTN blog again too to see how that plays into the scenario.

  3. allthatyoucantleavebehind June 2, 2012 at 09:54

    All right. That’s making sense. You’re not reshuffling the deck…you’re just not taking it step by step. I think 20 is a good landing number in 10, 20, 30 years. Not short term.

    I don’t think 4 will survive though. Since each conference is looking out for itself, I think just the Pac, Big Ten, and SEC will survive. The ACC/Big East will live on in diminished form.

    To play along…
    The Pac finally poaches the Big 12. UT, TTech, OU, OkSt, Kansas, KState, and maybe Mizzou/Hawaii (to stretch time zones?). That’s 20.

    The Big 12’s Baylor and Iowa State are left out.

    TCU goes to the SEC.
    FSU and Clemson go to the SEC.
    VaTech and NcSt go to the SEC.
    WVU also. There’s your 20.

    Big Ten takes UVA/UNC/UMD/Duke. ND and Rutgers. GaTech and Miami. That’s 20.

    The ACC/Big East leftovers are Louisiville, Cincy, BC, Pitt, Syracuse, Wake, UConn…plus the lousy new BE additions. And BYU. And service academies…which can also round out to 20 I suppose.

    From there, I totally see the “divisions” changing like you propose. They effectively would be double leagues. There are 3 super leagues…and 1 “under-league.” 80 teams.

    • joe4psu June 2, 2012 at 15:52

      I love the additions to the B1G but how do you split the conference? Would the eight new schools be together or split? If they’re together it would make sense to put PSU with them but what about Nebraska? Or would you split them? That means old B1G schools are never playing each other.

      The alignment of schools has to start all over, thus what I wrote. It may be a long time before anything like that happens, if ever, but you have to start somewhere. Didn’t Paterno call for a playoff in the late 60’s?

      • allthatyoucantleavebehind June 3, 2012 at 15:39

        Nebraska…who can’t rely on its own paltry talent pool probably would like being seen as a “national” conference, even if it did increase their travel costs. Put them in the east with PSU, Miami, and the rest.

        Or, by the time any of this actually happens, it could be that the rivalries change so much that the “old Big Ten” doesn’t care about the old Big Ten anymore. Or maybe the league has a 10-game schedule with 9 games in your own division and one cross-rivalry.

  4. gnqanq June 3, 2012 at 23:46

    joe4psu, have been following your posts over on the Penn State board on expansion and have found them to be very good and insightful. So thanks for all you do.

    Like you, I have been following expansion for a long time. Going all the way back to when Penn State was added to the Big Ten. At that time you only had radio and newspapers to know what was going on.

    Back prior to Nebraska being added, I found the following article. Look at the date and realize that this was all before Nebraska was added to the Big Ten.


    “I don’t think anyone can dismiss anything out of hand,” he said. “If you take the wildest predictions about mega-conferences — 16 is the number you see most, but 24 has been floated though not publicly — we certainly have to act in the interest of Nebraska.”

    JoePSU, I do have my own thoughts on where it ends. The old Big 12 commissioner Beebe once said that Jim Delaney said that you must think outside the box. At the same time Delaney was at an AAU meeting in 2010. OSU President Gee made the comment that he really enjoyed Delaney’s presentation. From what i can tell (reports from Omaha World), at this same meeting Delaney and Pearleman had text messages about meeting.

    Also from the Omaha papers documenting the route of Nebraska to the Big Ten, Pearleman made the comment after acceptance by the Big Ten that the Big Ten had secret meetings with other schools. He did not know who BUT there was other schools involved. According to the paper, it was at a secret location (Pearleman would not tell) outside of the Big Ten region that the Big Ten uses for such meetings.

    Going back to that time, the Big Ten was looking at 1 to 3 slots to expand to. Nebraska was not on the radar and was a complete surprise. I believe that the Nebraska situation disrupted the Big Ten’s plans forcing the Big Ten to only expand by 1. Later, the Big Ten said it was still looking at expansion BUT stepped back much later from further expansion.

    My thoughts. Thinking outside the box I believe the Big Ten is looking at a 24 team conference eventually. I believe it will be a conference outside the NCAA that is centered on academics (AAU) and athletics. I believe this is what Delaney presented at the AAU back in 2010.

    The real money is not in athletics BUT in research. This conference or association will have most of the research dollars in the country for universities. TV deals that generate $25 million per year is not bad. But in comparison to $500 million in research dollars is miniscule. My daughter told me of one discussion on a message board where Indiana University generated more money in research than University of Alabama generated in athletics.

    Just my 2 cents. Keep up the good work.

    • joe4psu June 4, 2012 at 09:29


      If the B1G and Delaney are considering a 24 school conference then the plan to play games against Pac-12 schools may be the first step. The B1G and Pac set up a scheduling arrangement, then work together with the conference tv networks. Who knows where it goes from there.

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