Part 1: Overview
For part two of my imaginary rethinking of the structure of college football I put quite a bit of thought into the structure of the 'new' NCAA division. This is a modified take on the current "Group of 5" travesty that prohibits many schools from ever having a shot at a championship, but doesn't demote them as far as FCS.
The 'new' NCAA division would operate using the same amount of scholarships as current NCAA Division 1 schools but would be allowed to advance their lot through a promotion/relegation system that would give them the chance to compete in the big dollar range with the top 64. To make things easy, I've aligned this in a four conference alignment with each conference serving as a potential 'feeder' conference to each big 4 conference. I'll denote the relationships below.
American Athletic Conference: (ACC Feeder) Unlike the "Power 4" conferences there's going to be little past ties between these new conferences, only a similarity in geographic area. In many cases, as with the AAC, I've kept (or even brought back) historic conference names for nostalgia's sake. The line-up would be as follows:
Central Florida, Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, Appalachian State, South Florida, Southern Mississippi, Charlotte, Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt, Florida International, Georgia Southern, Army, Navy, Florida Atlantic, South Alabama, East Carolina.
Southwest Conference: (SEC Feeder) Of all my proposed changes, this is one that's purely nostalgic as I'd like to see the Southwest conference return. I also want to see it be Texas Centric. I thought about bringing in some FCS Texas schools here, but decided against it. The line-up would be as follows:
Southern Methodist, Arkansas State, Tulane, Tulsa, Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas State, Houston, Georgia State, UTEP, UT-San Antonio, Louisiana-Monroe, UT-Arlington, Rice, Troy, Louisiana Tech, North Texas.
Mid-American Conference: (Big-16 Feeder) As with the Southwest Conference, I wanted to keep MAC-tion around. I think it's good for the sport and there are some long-standing rivalries there that need to be maintained. I tried to augment them with regional schools to beef-up the roster. The line-up would be as follows:
Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan, Northwestern, Temple, Marshall, Buffalo.
Western Athletic Conference (PAC-16 Feeder): I thought, for a minute, about keeping the Mountain West. But then I remembered that the nostalgia for the wacky WAC is still pretty strong. Again, West of the Rockies is the hardest. The line-up would be as follows:
Air Force, Idaho, Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming, North Dakota State University, Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Hawaii
1. Yes, there were some current Group of 5 teams that were omitted. In most cases they were not all that competitive anyway and would probably be better fits for a new FCS division.
2. I considered omitting North Texas and adding Sam Houston State, but that didn't feel like the right thing to do.
3. The only FCS teams that got a promotion were NDSU, Eastern Washington, Idaho State. I leave Hawaii in there but word is they might be dropping their program. If that were true I'd probably add in another one of the Dakota schools like SDSU.
The logical next step would be to determine the new 4-confernce FCS division, which I might, or might not, complete. This is an awful lot of work, although I will have some spare time on my hands going forward I'm not sure if it will be THAT much spare time.
Again, cuss, discuss, etc.