College Football Conference Realignment Recap: Meet Your New Neighbors

This is pretty much what conference realignment looks like.

There's no time like the opening Saturday of the college football season to answer the eternal question: "Wait, who's in which conference now?"

Every college football team is in a new conference, and you have no idea whether your school is even located on the same campus now. Did Oklahoma State join the SEC? Did Maryland join the Big Ten? You're a year behind on your rumors if you're still into those, which means you probably should've read this before last season.

Nevertheless, here's all the quick stuff you need to know about which teams play in which conferences heading into the first Saturday of 2011 and beyond.

 

Big 12

Who's new here? The Longhorn Network.

Who's leaving? Maybe everybody! But for this year, only Colorado and Nebraska, with Texas A&M leaving to join a conference with two or three Texases in 2012.

This isn't done yet, is it? Oh goodness, no. Missouri has wanted out for some time now, and Oklahoma has put itself on the market. As for new members, BYU's curiosity is piquedAir Force could ----> "land" <---- hereT. Boone Pickens wants TCU and SMU has dropped some subtle hints. After that, throw a dart and you'll hit a Big 12 rumor and probably part of the Longhorn Network.

 

Pac-12

Who's new here? Colorado and Utah.

Why'd they go and do that? Because they played in the Big 12 and Mountain West. Utah fans in particular have been lobbying for the move, but both new teams know they'll have to step it up.

Who's leaving? Not even Lane Kiffin would consider that.

This isn't done yet, is it? Larry Scott wanted Texas and Oklahoma last year, plus whatever respective orbiting bodies the pair would've felt inclined to bring along.

He might try again as the Big 12 splinters, or he might invent a university in Maine that's really awesome at getting people to watch football via invisible Android devices. The conference with the grandest public vision in the country isn't going to be satisfied with sitting at 12 teams. The Big Ten and SEC have plenty of moves left on the board, but the Pac-12's moves are all in 4-D. At least.

We also have a new Pac-12 blog: Pacific Takes.

 

Big Ten

Who's new here? Nebraska.

Why'd they go and do that? Money for today, money for tomorrow, and a better cultural fit. Nebraska may score like a Big 12 team, but it prefers to do so by land. So far everybody gets along pretty well.

Who's leaving? Components lack sufficient speed to escape massive object's event horizon.

This isn't done yet, is it? Notre Dame has been mentioned as a potential Big Ten team since the Big Ten was formed 3,000 years ago.

Nobody expects Jim Delany to make the first leap (leaping Jim Delany!) to 16 teams, but their current rate of expansion puts them in line for superconference status in like 2110. Somewhere between then and now. Check Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire to refine your personal estimate.

 

Mountain West

Who's new here? Boise State, for the moment. They'll be followed by fellow eWACuees Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada for 2012.

Why'd they go and do that? Laugh at the MWC if you like, but it's filled in many a Saturday night for you, and that's mean of you to laugh at it. It provides a significant upgrade in money and challenge over the WAC, as would the SoCon or CAA, which for the Broncos might mean just enough legitimacy to make one of these undefeated seasons actually count for something at some point.

For those other three, it means the chance to try and maintain the Mountain West's status as a second viable west coast football conference despite three heavy losses. And follow Boise State around.

Who's leaving? BYU has gone independent, looking to one-up Texas in scope, if not money, by establishing an international media network. They can do it, too.

Utah has joined the Pac-12.

TCU's last year in the MWC has been met with nothing but fond gestures by the conference.

This isn't done yet, is it? Mountain West Connection may be the best source of insight, but no, it's never done with the MWC.

 

Big East

Who's new here? For 2012: TCU, which is pretty big, and also east of Winnipeg I think.

Why'd they go and do that? The Big East might not be much of a BCS conference, which makes it the easiest possible path to consistent BCS appearances.

Who's leaving? Nobody yet.

This isn't done yet, is it? Temple's return is in the works, according to Temple, and UCF's eventual entry is assumed.

Some people suggest Notre Dame here as well, but the Big East wants to put a stop to all this despite just stealing a MWC team, so that tells you everything you know about the likeliest Big East end game.

 

WAC

Who's new here? Hoo boy. In 2012, Denver, Seattle, UTSA, Texas State and Texas-Arlington will join, proving the WAC values bulk above all else. Lose four teams, gain five teams, come out ahead!

Why'd they go and do that? Division I-A attention meets Division I-AA competition, and the funnest conference name in football.

Who's leaving? Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada, leaving the conference with Louisiana Tech as its football flagship. That's not a joke.

This isn't done yet, is it? Yes. The WAC has found its formula and will succeed forever.

 

SEC

Who's new here? Nobody, yet. Texas A&M is on the way for 2012.

Who's leaving? Arkansas, if you beliLOL Arkansas isn't leaving.

This isn't done yet, is it? Bets are on for team No. 14, and head to SEC blog Team Speed Kills for more.

 

ACC

Who's new here? Nobody, yet.

Who's leaving? Nobody, yet.

This isn't done yet, is it? The ACC is lodged in the middle of the food chain. Virginia Tech is one of the prime SEC candidates, since FSU and Clemson are believed to be off the table, but Tobacco Road's likely backup plan is to pick off Big East teams to keep itself composed. Your guess is as good as mine, but I think Syracuse would get over being snubbed last time around and join old friends Boston College.

 

MAC

Who's new here? UMass is stitching itself a pair of big boy pants for 2012.

Why'd they go and do that? Because they talk junk, look pretty and hit hard.

Who's leaving? Temple at some point, according to Temple.

This isn't done yet, is it? We'll leave questions like that to MAC blog Hustle Belt.

 

Sun Belt

Who's new here? Every I-AA program ever thinks it's just steps away from the Sun Belt and then the SEC and then the NFC South, so probably everybody sooner or later.

Who's leaving? Denver is headed to the WAC. How a Colorado school without a football program gained entry into a southeastern conference is the kind of thing one has to go into the mountains and take drugs to understand, and that's how you wind up in Denver.

 

Conference USA

Nobody's coming, and nobody's going yet. Conference USA is the stablest conference in the country, and has produced a model that the SEC and Pac-12 would be wise to follow.

 

And if all that is too much to keep track of, just keep checking this:

Screen_shot_2011-09-02_at_12

Stay tuned to the opening Saturday of college football with SB Nation's huge assortment of college football blogs and SB Nation's college football news hub.

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