Hey folks, it’s day two of our springtime reshuffling of the college football world. Yesterday we decided to get rid of the MAC’s divisions. Today we get rid of the MAC itself and geographically redistribute all schools into new conferences.
This idea was kicked around by some of the Western writers a couple months back. Basically, Justin Coffin brought up the idea that it’s tough to really name a conference champ when you don’t play everyone in the conference. Not that a championship/playoff system is invalid, but it feels more natural to have to play everyone in your conference to be champion. It’s kind of like English Premier League soccer, where you play everyone in a season, and whoever is on top of the standings gets a title.
What would that look like in college football? Let’s say you wanted to stay with the 12-game format, keep three non-conference games a year (because they’re fun), but then still play everyone in your conference once. Sounds like a recipe for 10-team conferences! So we here at Hustle Belt took to designating teams to these new, smaller conferences.
Geographic-based conferences have always seemed really interesting - the idea of playing your next door neighbors - so that was our base delineation. (Also maybe a little bit of the Napoleon complex of a mid-majors wanting to playing with the big guys here?) So that was the baseline organize of the conferences. But keeping present rivalries and balancing current powerful programs also played into the new conference borders.
We’ll say we begin this new organization in 2019. At that time Idaho will be back in FCS, and Coastal Carolina, UAB, and Liberty will all be FBS. That puts us at 130 teams. Here are our thirteen 10-team conferences, from west to east. Could definitely use some help with the naming, some are cool, and some are not.
Cal, UCLA, Fresno State, Hawai’i, UNLV, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, USC, Stanford
Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Brigham Young, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Utah State, Washington, Washington State
Air Force, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, UTEP, Texas Tech, Wyoming
Baylor, Houston, North Texas, Rice, SMU, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, UT-San Antonio, Texas State
Arkansas, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulane, Tulsa
Illinois, Iowa, Iowa Sate, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin
Alabama, UAB, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Troy
UCF, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State, Georgia Southern, Miami (FL), South Alabama, USF, Southern Miss
Ball State, Bowling Green State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Toledo, Western Michigan
Akron, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kent State, Kentucky, Louisville, Marshall, Miami, Ohio, West Virginia
Mountain East (?):
Appalachian State, UNC-Charlotte, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Carolina, Middle Tennessee State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky
Duke, Liberty, Maryland, Navy, North Carolina, NC State, Old Dominion, Virginia, VA Tech, Wake Forest
Army, Boston College, Buffalo, Connecticut, UMass, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple
Probably any missing rivalry game could be scheduled as a non-conference matchup. (I’m looking at you Texas-Oklahoma.) And frankly it would be unbelievably rewarding to make Notre Dame play in Ypsilanti every other year, or the same for like, LSU and Arkansas State.
Also in this system, it would make sense for each conference champ to make the playoff, and give the top three seeds byes. In this case, the maximum amount of games played for the year is 16, and that’s only if a non-top three seed makes the championship game. See, now everybody gets a shot at national titles and division titles are decided in-season. Woot!
Obviously this is nuts, and it’ll never happen. But a little offseason fiction is fun. Tomorrow Hustle Belt will bring you a far more reasonable playoff idea, that levels the playing field for our beloved MAC, and the rest of the mid-majors.