College football conference realignment

Why College Football Conferences Could Look Way Different Very Soon

With Oklahoma and Texas now moving to the SEC, what is next for the rest of college football? Also, how will this affect the playoffs that are now being changed? All we know is that when Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12 for the SEC college football as we know it is going to change.

The playoffs will have to change to accommodate the realignment, for better or worse. What we do know now is that this most likely isn’t going to happen until 2025 because that is when Oklahoma’s and Texas’ deals run out with the conference.

What Could Happen to the Conferences?


With 16 teams now, and I wouldn’t count them out of adding more.

What is the scheduling and structure going to look like? For now, I’m going to assume they stick with 16, later I will look at who they could add to become a complete super-conference.

The obvious solution is to have 2 divisions of 8 and the champions of those divisions go to the conference championship. I would think that they would need to do 10 conference games and 2 out of conference games. They would play each team in their division once then three teams from the other division as well. At this point, the best competition is in their league so they can expand to 10 conference games and the 2 conference games could be marquee matchups or demolitions of FCS teams or lower-level FBS teams.

Another way they could find to structure this is to create 4 divisions of 4 teams. They could be the east, west, north, and south. They would play every team in their division once then play two teams from each of the other divisions. This would make 9 conference games, but I would only play 2 out of conference games in this scenario as well. This is because they would need to do a 4-team tournament to decide the conference champion because you could take the champion from each division.

The 12th game for the other teams that didn’t make the conference tournament would be a team that finished in the same placing as them from a different division; hopefully a team that they haven’t played in the regular season before.

Another solution for this last game could be to have a non-conference game scheduled for the week and cancel it if need be but I think that the other version would bring in more revenue for the league.

The conference tournament would bring in a ton of money because of how many people would watch the games because it’s pretty much guaranteed at this point that if you make the conference championship in the SEC you are in the college football playoffs, regardless of expansion. Lastly, some teams that the SEC could investigate for creating a super conference are:

Clemson: This is an obvious one.  They are in the southeast and routinely a top team in the country.

Ohio State: Not in the southeast but a really, really good football team and they would be a huge steal from the next best conference in college football. It is unlikely they would leave the Big 10 but if the SEC could convince them they would have most of the contenders for the playoffs in their conference.

Notre Dame: Another unlikely one because they would not want to leave their independence behind, but a historic program and one that is still competitive today.

North Carolina/Miami: Both in the southeast and they both look like the ones that could challenge Clemson for the conference titles in the ACC for years to come. If I were the SEC, I would wait to see which one becomes more prevalent, but it is possible they bring both in. Without Clemson, the ACC really isn’t that good of a conference, and I bet you these teams would be begging to get into the SEC to get a chunk of the money.

Finally, it could be every other team that has shown dominance in recent years. I could see them bringing in a west coast team like Oregon or USC and if it gets to that point, why not just make it a super league. You could bring in teams like Washington and Utah from the Pac -12 Boise State, UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and many other group of five teams. Why not just take the rest of the relevant Big 12 teams and Big 10 teams? It would basically become another system other than the NCAA because of how powerful it would be. This is obviously very unlikely, but I could see it happening if the SEC really wanted to chase that.


The ACC is going to have to hold tight to Clemson, and hopefully add 2 teams to it just to keep up with the SEC. Look for Notre Dame since they are in the area, and they joined the conference last year during the covid season.

Another team could be Cincinnati or UCF or Memphis. I would love to see the AAC merge with the ACC because the AAC is already a conference that can rival most conferences with talent. Even if the ACC just took the good teams, I think they would be a way better and a more consistent conference every year.

You could also look for them to add Ohio State or some other Big 10 schools but that to me is less likely. The easiest choice though must be West Virginia. They already are going to be in a very depleted Big 12 and they are a good team in the east. They aren’t a superpower, but they are always decent, and they could add enough to stay competitive with other conferences.

Big 10

A distant second-best conference to the SEC, they should try to make some type of move to stay near them. They already have a top team in Ohio State and some other good teams like Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa, and you could argue a lot of the other teams are top-tier. But they would need to make some moves to stay relevant just like the other conferences.

I think that Ohio State is at some risk to be taken like I said earlier. Other teams like Penn State will be fought for as well. They could bring in some of the remaining Big 12 teams if possible because they will be looking for a place to be after they are left. One team that comes to mind is Iowa State because the Big 10 already has Iowa and they have a rivalry. Another team that is always on the table is Notre Dame. Everyone always ships them to the ACC, but they are independent and could go where they want.

Last of all, they could try to merge with the Pac-12 because both conferences put the highest standards into academics, and they seem like they would fit well together. This would create a super-conference that I believe would put them ahead of the SEC. In this scenario, they would have 26 teams if all the teams from the Pac 12 joined, but I would shed 1 team from each conference or two from either to create 24 teams. They would have 4 divisions of six teams and like the SEC, they would each have a champion that played in a small tournament.


I said above that they could merge with the Big 10 and that I think would be in their best interest. But teams could come in or leave as well. I would think Colorado and Utah could be good fits in the Big 12 if they wanted to leave for them. I don’t think that Colorado is as important as Utah is nowadays. But the Pac 12 can add teams back even if they do lose some teams.

BYU is a good fit in football and could be a great option because they are a good football team, and the Pac 12 plays them a lot anyway. However, I’m not sure how they feel about giving up their independent status. I think Boise State would be a great fit for the conference because they are in the area, and they are a good football team that would always be a competitor in the Pac 12. They could try and bring in Oklahoma State now that they are left behind by Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State would probably be the best team in the Pac 12 south right away. Then again there might not be the same conferences at all in future years if the SEC brings in so many teams that all the good teams leave the Pac 12 for the SEC.

Big 12

This is the conference in the tightest jam. I think that this conference will evaporate from the face of the earth at least in football, unless they drop down to the equivalent of a group of 5 team. They could desperately try and take teams like Colorado, Colorado State and Utah from the Pac 12 and Mountain West. Also, Iowa could be persuaded or some minor teams from the Big 10. But I would see that they won’t be able to add enough good teams to stay on the surface while other conferences scratch and claw for the remaining good teams in their conference. They could try and merge with other conferences to stay afloat but that’s difficult to work out. One last option is to bring in some FCS teams but that’s super desperate and risky. All in all, I think the Big 12 is completely screwed.


The last major conference on anyone’s radar, the AAC has a chance to shake everything up. They claim to be part of the “Power 6” and in my opinion they are.  They could try and take some Texas teams like Baylor and TCU. But as I mentioned above their best option is to merge with the ACC. The AAC is one of the more level and competitive conferences, at least based on the rankings that they release, so the ACC should be interested at least in some of the better teams. The AAC would have nothing to complain about in that scenario, but the ACC might not be so excited, unless they become desperate.

The most realistic merge would be with the 8 or so remaining Big 12 teams. They would be only 19 so if they added a few more they would be able to schedule like they want to. Whatever they decide to do, I’m rooting for them to make some great choices and succeed to challenge some of the more powerful conferences head-on. I think that by the end of the decade there will finally be an AAC team in the playoffs because they have been deserving of so for a long time, and they will finally be in enough of the spotlight to grab a great opportunity.

Will There Be a 12-Team College Playoff Soon?

Right now, the playoffs consist of 4 teams. It is expected that they will expand to 12 in coming years. Six Conference champions will be guaranteed to get in, then the next 6 seeds will be filled in by the next best teams. That format will stay the same regardless of what happens with the conference realignments. But what is important is what teams will make the most of this opportunity and win a championship?

Well, it will be the AAC becoming a more main competitor than the Big 12. Cincinnati will make it in the first year this system is in place. They are a top 10 team in college football for sure. I don’t love this move though. I think expansion is important, but I think 6 or 8 teams should be in because there really aren’t 12 dominant teams, although that could change with the NIL and everything that is changing now.

Do we need Alabama to beat Boise State by 50? Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, and Oklahoma and a few others are so far away from the next level that it won’t make super entertaining football for the first round or 2. I would like to see some upsets though and, though it isn’t likely, I think Cincinnati could make it far as well as Oregon or USC or even Washington.

These teams don’t get a lot of chances to prove themselves on a big stage and they could prove that they are in the class with those top teams. It’s unlikely but possible. I think that recruiting will start to level out more because a lot more teams will be able to compete for a national championship in the coming years. My predictions are that Alabama continues to dominate and maybe a few others every couple years, but I don’t think that the champions pattern will look much different in a 12 team playoff than a 4 team playoff.

            All in all, the realignments are going to change a lot of things obviously and with the new playoffs coming in, along with the NIL rules, college football is going to look very different in just a couple of years.