Here is where things seem to be ending up once the balls stop bouncing in the college sports game. It looks like five major conferences will emerge, the ACC, Big 10, SEC, PAC-16 and what I'm christening the Fly-Over Conference scopping up the Big12 and Big East refugees.
|Arizona State||Oregon State|
That makes a nice neat break, with the old PAC8 getting back together again.
Once again, if the rumors of Rutgers and UConn are true, you get a nice north-south break, rather than the awkward one we have at present.
My friends in Lexington won't like getting UK sent west, but the other alternatives would either send Vandy west or break up the Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl. This seems to be the most stable package for the SEC. One could see the Oklahoma schools coming in, but the inertia seems to have them pointing west.
|North (Legends)||South (Leaders)|
|Michigan State||Ohio State|
There isn't anyone left in the region that would be a good fit. Notre Dame might work here, but you'd need a dance partner, which is in short supply among the available free agents. Missouri would be a good option; Iowa State would make sense geographically but not economically, as it doesn't add many eyeballs. However, if Mizzou heads to the SEC, the Big 10 seems set, with the exception of changing those funky division names.
|Iowa State||Notre Dame|
This is very flexible. I see 12 teams, for it gets you to a playoff. You could do this with nine teams, leaving Notre Dame, BYU and Memphis out; Memphis is a C-USA school, but would round out this conference rather well.
The Big East would get taken down to a smaller, basketball-centric core, shorn of its football schools, but the core of mainly Catholic big-city Rust Belt schools makes more sense.
I'm not sure how coherent 16-team conferences are. You'd likely play teams in the other division once every four years in football, if you go with a nine-game, round robin with in the division format. The WAC tried that back in the 90s and had the original ganstas go off and form the MWC. It makes more sense from a TV contract basis than it does from an academic basis.