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Conference Realignment Auction: Introducing the Cash Conference

Money, power, respect. But mostly money.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Quick Facts:

Conference's name: Cash Conference
Northernmost school: Washington Huskies
Southernmost school: Florida Gators
Easternmost school: South Carolina Gamecocks
Westernmost school: Washington Huskies
Which two teams have the longest driving commute? Florida to Washington (44 hours)
Where is your football championship venue? AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Where is your basketball championship venue? Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Where is your baseball championship venue? Bosse Field, Evansville, IN

Introducing the Cash Conference:

West East
Arkansas Ball State
Louisiana State Florida
Oklahoma Georgia
Texas Notre Dame
San Diego State South Carolina

When I was informed that the Hustle Belt team was going to participate in a conference realignment auction, I knew that I would join in this project with one thing in mind. To build the most profitable conference.

It's interesting, because this is inconsistent with my interests of a fan outside of make-believe conference realignment world. I vastly prefer the G5 product to its P5 alternative, which of course is home to the most valuable college programs.

And before I explain my strategy, let me also add that I created my conference with football and football only in mind. Other sports don't matter for these purposes. They offer nothing but needless expenses. The Cash Conference is all about making money. Lacrosse don't do that.

Additionally, the Cash Conference cares not for academics. Football factories, diploma mills, most of these schools are, and they're unapologetic about this fact. Television contracts, a vast geographic footprint, and let's be honest, lots and lots of dumb southern football fans is what fuels the Cash Conference.

My formula to figure out which college football programs were most valuable was not complicated. I figured Forbes knows about money, and annually they compile a list of the most profitable programs.

Of course we started with MAC schools. With Ball State on the board, and that being the only school I actually care about, picking up the Cardinals was a no-brainer. From there I set my eyes on one of the crown jewels of college football realignment.

2. Notre Dame

That television contract that baffles me in real life made the Irish a very attractive place to start. They were expensive, but the #2 most valuable program, at $127 million dollars makes Notre Dame an easy choice.

3. Florida

I got a bargain on the Gators. Forbes ranks them at #15, worth an estimated $72 million. It was important to snag an SEC team early as well, as they occupy most of the Forbes list.

4. Texas

This was the big one. Number one on the Forbes list, the Longhorns program is valued at a staggering $152 million. Having four teams in the conference taken care of felt good, my dwindling auction funds did not. It was now that I reconciled this was going to be a relatively small conference, but when two of your first four teams are Texas and Notre Dame, the money is going to be rolling in.

5. Georgia

#6 on the Forbes list, the Bulldogs are estimated to be worth $102 million. More, more, more SEC. Don't tell me about Georgia's failures on the big stage, they pack the house.

6. LSU

$111 million and #4 on the Forbes list, but auction money is getting tight. Everybody participating in the conference realignment auction had a different vision for what their new league would look like, so even though the Tigers were expensive, I was still surprised to be able to grab them for the Cash Conference.

7. Washington

This was a weird one. The Huskies are worth $78 million and check in on the Forbes list at #13. That said, I picked up Washington with the intention of later grabbing Oregon, which didn't end up happening. Still, with all that money floating around, travel costs shouldn't be a problem.

8. Oklahoma

An easy one. I got the Sooners at a good price considering they rank at #9 on the Forbes list and are worth an estimated $96 million.

9. San Diego State

I had no intentions of grabbing the Aztecs. Obviously they do not fit the mold of the Cash Conference. I offered SDSU up for bid at a mere $2. I figured the bids would come pouring in. They did not. 48 hours later, San Diego State was mine. I initially thought about disregarding the Aztecs, but truthfully, it's not a terrible pickup. It gives the Cash Conference a presence in California, and the Aztecs are more competitive in football than most G5 schools. They do not rank on the Forbes list.

10. South Carolina

More SEC. #18 on the Forbes list at $69 million. A perfect fit for the Cash Conference, because really, what else is there to do in South Carolina?

11. Arkansas

An $80 million program and #12 on the Forbes list. I was lucky to pick up the Razorbacks this late. I dabbled in some bidding for other schools on the money list, but ultimately funds ran short.

So there it is friends. The Cash Conference. Twenty Hustle dollars left when this project was complete, so I feel I budgeted appropriately. A 2016 report values the Ball State football program at $11.71 million. In 2015 San Diego State's program was valued at $27 million. Add it up and the Cash Conference is worth over 900 million dollars. With money like that, there's only one place to have a Cash Conference Championship Game in football. Jerry World. Hoops will be held at the Georgia Dome, though we may switch that up from time to time. Baseball is at historic Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana. Do yourself a favor and look it up.

Did I win this project? Is there a winner? If there is, it's me. If you have a problem with my conference, close your eyes and think about Scrooge McDuck diving into his fortune. That's my answer to everything. "But...but...but....Keith...." Hey. Scrooge McDuck. I win.