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Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
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Nerdlinger Offline
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Post: #541
RE: Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
In this timeline, the various major independent football schools along the east coast decide to form a FB-only conference, the Eastern Football Alliance, in the 1980s. Some enterprising individual discovers the 12-school cutoff for a CCG a few years earlier than it was discovered in our timeline.

Eastern Football Alliance 1985
Atlantic: Boston College (Big East), Miami-FL (DI Ind), Notre Dame (MCC [BB DI Ind]), Rutgers (A-10), Syracuse (Big East), Virginia Tech (Metro)
Eastern: South Carolina (Metro), Florida State (Metro), Pittsburgh (Big East), Temple (A-10), Penn State (A-10), West Virginia (A-10)

Teams are listed in the same order as their protected crossover (BC/SC, Miami/FSU, ND/Pitt, Rutgers/Temple, Syracuse/PSU, VT/WVU).

For the 1991 season, in an atypically (for our timeline) forward-thinking move, the Big East extends offers of full membership to several EFA members (FSU, Miami, ND, PSU, and SC) and affiliate membership in football to the rest. So the divisions of the EFA are effectively transferred to the Big East, while the BE basketball roster grows to 14 schools.

Big East 1991
Atlantic: Boston College, Miami-FL, Notre Dame, Rutgers* (A-10), Syracuse, Virginia Tech* (Metro)
Eastern: South Carolina, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Temple* (A-10), Penn State, West Virginia* (A-10)
NFB: Connecticut, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's, Villanova

* = FB only (primary conference)

Though prudent for the conference's survival in an increasingly football-focused market, this decision would come back to haunt the non-FB schools. The FB members soon push for full membership for the 4 affiliates. A compromise is struck in 1995, as Rutgers and WVU receive enough support to join in full, while Temple and VT are denied. The peace doesn't last for long.

Meanwhile, the ACC's growth is stunted by the Big East. There is a growing divide between the FB- and BB-focused schools of the ACC, with the former seeking to up the conference's pigskin game and the latter stubbornly refusing.

By the turn of the century, both the pro-BB schools of the Big East and the pro-FB schools of the ACC are looking to get out of their respective conferences. Someone's bright idea to exchange schools results in the "Great Swap": Clemson, GT, UMD, and NCSU move from the ACC to the Big East; and the 6 non-FB schools of the Big East move to the ACC. Additionally, Temple and VT finally gain full membership in the Big East.

The remaining ACC members consider dropping football to the I-AA level, but there is too much resistance within the schools to do so. Consequently, the new ACC members with FB programs are required to bring their game up to I-A. With FB playing second fiddle to BB, however, the ACC is no longer considered a power football conference (which, lacking FSU, it had barely earned to begin with). The 10-team lineup of the ACC permits an 18-game double round robin schedule for basketball.

ACC 2003
FB: Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina, St. John's, Villanova, Virginia, Wake Forest
NFB: Providence, Seton Hall

The 16-school Big East aligns itself into 4-team pods for football that rotate between two 8-team divisions (Atlantic and Eastern) in a 3-year cycle. A new TV deal compels them to add a 9th game to the conference schedule, to the chagrin of FSU, GT, NCSU, ND, and VT, each with at least one effectively permanent OOC opponent (2 in ND's case).

Big East 2003
Code:
POD 1:  Boston College  Clemson         NC State        Temple          
POD 2:  Miami-FL        Florida State   Virginia Tech   Rutgers        
POD 3:  Notre Dame      Georgia Tech    West Virginia   Pittsburgh      
POD 4:  Syracuse        South Carolina  Maryland        Penn State

The teams are listed above in the same order as their protected crossovers. Each team has a protected crossover in each of the other 3 pods (e.g., BC, Miami, ND, and Syracuse all play one another every year).

For basketball, each team has 3 protected opponents (listed below) that they play twice every year. The remaining 12 schools are played once, for a total of 18 games. (This also serves as an alternate divisionless setup for football, with each team playing their 3 protected opponents annually and alternating between half of the other 12 opponents every 2 years.)

Code:
BOSTON COLLEGE  Miami-FL        Notre Dame      Syracuse        
CLEMSON         Georgia Tech    NC State        South Carolina  
FLORIDA STATE   South Carolina  Miami-FL        Georgia Tech    
GEORGIA TECH    Clemson         South Carolina  Florida State  
MARYLAND        Temple          Virginia Tech   West Virginia  
MIAMI-FL        Boston College  Florida State   Notre Dame      
NC STATE        Rutgers         Clemson         Virginia Tech  
NOTRE DAME      Pittsburgh      Boston College  Miami-FL        
PENN STATE      Syracuse        Temple          Pittsburgh      
PITTSBURGH      Notre Dame      West Virginia   Penn State      
RUTGERS         NC State        Syracuse        Temple          
SOUTH CAROLINA  Florida State   Georgia Tech    Clemson        
SYRACUSE        Penn State      Rutgers         Boston College  
TEMPLE          Maryland        Penn State      Rutgers        
VIRGINIA TECH   West Virginia   Maryland        NC State        
WEST VIRGINIA   Virginia Tech   Pittsburgh      Maryland

Incidentally, the success of the eastern football school alliance results in more westward expansions for the Big Ten (Nebraska) and SEC (Arkansas and Texas A&M) in the early '90s. The Big 12 still forms in the mid-'90s, but with Houston and TCU instead of NU and A&M.
(This post was last modified: 04-28-2019 12:54 PM by Nerdlinger.)
04-24-2019 09:15 PM
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DawgNBama Offline
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Post: #542
RE: Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
I got one: The year is 1989, and the Big Ten is set to get Penn State to join. We know that in real life the SEC talked to Arkansas & the Aggies, but what if the SEC decided instead to take two projects in South Carolina & Virginia Tech, instead of Arkansas & South Carolina??

Divisions probably would have looked like this:

Georgia
Florida
South Carolina
Virginia Tech
Kentucky
Tennessee

Alabama
Auburn
LSU
Ole Miss
Mississippi State
Vandy
04-25-2019 12:50 AM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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Post: #543
RE: Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
(04-25-2019 12:50 AM)DawgNBama Wrote:  I got one: The year is 1989, and the Big Ten is set to get Penn State to join. We know that in real life the SEC talked to Arkansas & the Aggies, but what if the SEC decided instead to take two projects in South Carolina & Virginia Tech, instead of Arkansas & South Carolina??

Divisions probably would have looked like this:

Georgia
Florida
South Carolina
Virginia Tech
Kentucky
Tennessee

Alabama
Auburn
LSU
Ole Miss
Mississippi State
Vandy

I'll do you one better--they take South Carolina and Florida St. All of this is probably predicated on the SWC being more stable and less likely to bleed members.
04-25-2019 04:09 PM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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Post: #544
RE: Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
Here's one:

South Carolina starts their own conference. After years of having Tobacco Road treat the SoCon/ACC's outlying members South Carolina, Clemson, and Maryland as second class members the Gamecocks decide that instead of going independent they will start their own league and convince Clemson and Maryland to also shake off their chains. Bring in independents like WVU, VT, GT, FSU, and Miami and you have a rock solid group. Maybe you even toss in ECU for spite.

UVA and the Tobacco Road 4 have to fill their ranks with Richmond and William & Mary just to stay afloat.

The South Carolina league can either eventually pick off some of the Tobacco Rd schools or take the Big East schools as football affiliates.
04-25-2019 04:19 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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Post: #545
RE: Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
(04-25-2019 04:19 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  Here's one:

South Carolina starts their own conference. After years of having Tobacco Road treat the SoCon/ACC's outlying members South Carolina, Clemson, and Maryland as second class members the Gamecocks decide that instead of going independent they will start their own league and convince Clemson and Maryland to also shake off their chains. Bring in independents like WVU, VT, GT, FSU, and Miami and you have a rock solid group. Maybe you even toss in ECU for spite.

UVA and the Tobacco Road 4 have to fill their ranks with Richmond and William & Mary just to stay afloat.

The South Carolina league can either eventually pick off some of the Tobacco Rd schools or take the Big East schools as football affiliates.

That's a neat idea. Add in ECU and northern schools like ND, PSU, Pitt, Syracuse, BC, Temple, and Rutgers, and you've got an Eastern Seaboard powerhouse.
04-26-2019 08:41 PM
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DavidSt Offline
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Post: #546
RE: Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
If the Southwest stayed together and Phillips and Southwestern both stayed and kept football with Arkansas left for the SEC and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State left for MVC?

Baylor
Houston
Rice
Texas
TCU
Texas Tech
SMU
Texas A&M
Southwestern
Phillips (Enid, Oklahoma, now shut down)

SWC would still be in the Oklahoma tv market.
04-27-2019 12:05 AM
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Fighting Muskie Offline
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Post: #547
RE: Alternate History and Future College Sports Realignment Scenarios
(04-27-2019 12:05 AM)DavidSt Wrote:  If the Southwest stayed together and Phillips and Southwestern both stayed and kept football with Arkansas left for the SEC and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State left for MVC?

Baylor
Houston
Rice
Texas
TCU
Texas Tech
SMU
Texas A&M
Southwestern
Phillips (Enid, Oklahoma, now shut down)

SWC would still be in the Oklahoma tv market.

You're talking about 2 tiny schools who obviously we're not built to compete with the big boys. The more interesting SWC hypothetical is where would that conference be had Oklahoma and Oklahoma St not left for the MVC.

If everything else goes the same then Houston becomes member #11 in the 1970s.

Retrospective realignment doesn't happen in a vacuum though. You know have a MVC that lacks the Oklahoma schools so there's a different trajectory for Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, Iowa St, Nebraska, Drake, Wash (St L), and Grinnell. In real life the first 5 formed a breakaway conference with Oklahoma that later added Colorado and Okla St. In this model though those 5 either:

Get stuck with the 3 weaker links

Scatter, trying to get into the Big Ten and SWC

Have to add in the West sooner and deeper, possibly taking Colorado as well as Colorado St, Wyoming, Utah, and BYU.
(This post was last modified: 04-29-2019 08:55 PM by Fighting Muskie.)
04-29-2019 04:27 PM
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