The siphonage of Tier 1 fat picks up serious steam in 2010. For a few years, teams like Wake Forest and Kansas were able to fend off the relegation demons with solid seasons and BCS bids. But it was only a matter of time. That's the thing about promotion-and-relegation: you can survive for a while, but unless you truly join the country's elite, you will eventually become vulnerable.
Teams in green font below are no longer in their original conference.
- Membership: Boston College, Cincinnati, Clemson, Connecticut, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia
- Champion: Virginia Tech
- Demoted to Big East: Wake Forest
Jim Grobe's magic runs out in Winston-Salem.
- Membership: Colorado, East Carolina, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa
- Champion: Oklahoma
- Demoted to Conference USA: Kansas
Perhaps Skip Holtz doesn't leave ECU for South Florida if his Pirates are residing in the Big 12? Regardless, a lesser ECU squad avoids relegation in 2010 thanks to a truly horrendous Kansas squad. And Tulsa just keeps on ticking.
- Membership: Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame*, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
- Champion: Wisconsin
- Demoted to MAC: Central Michigan
No LeFevour, no Tier 1 for the Chippewas.
- Membership: Arizona, Boise State, BYU, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, TCU, USC, Utah
- Champion: Oregon
- Demoted to Mountain West: BYU
Perhaps the deepest conference in the country ends up relegating yet another solid team while Oregon, Boise State and TCU face off in an incredible conference title race.
- Membership: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Troy
- Champion: Auburn
- Demoted to Sun Belt: Ole Miss
Ole Miss is officially the West Brom of college football, bouncing between Tier 1 and Tier 2 on multiple occasions. I can only imagine how this yo-yo effect would affect recruiting.
- Membership: James Madison, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, N.C. State, Navy*, New Hampshire, Richmond, Rutgers, South Florida, Villanova
- Promoted to ACC: N.C. State
- Demoted to Colonial: Richmond
The Big East now has almost no original members. And poor Rutgers and USF have been consistently decent and never actually good enough to earn promotion.
- Membership: Baylor, Central Florida, Houston, Iowa State, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB, UTEP
- Promoted to Big 12: Central Florida
- Demoted to Southland: Memphis
- Membership: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Indiana, Jacksonville State, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan
- Promoted to Big Ten: Northern Illinois
- Demoted to Missouri Valley: Akron
Northern Illinois rises from Tier 3 to Tier 1 in a short amount of time. Thank you, Chandler Harnish. Meanwhile, Akron completes the opposite move -- Tier 1 in 2006, they now tumble to Tier 3. They will face yet another relegation in 2011.
- Membership: Air Force, Arizona State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, San Diego State, UCLA, Washington
- Promoted to Pac-10: Nevada
- Demoted to WAC: Montana
Another conference with little dead weight, the MWC at least temporarily says goodbye to a solid Montana squad.
- Membership: Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Elon, Florida Atlantic, Furman, Middle Tennessee, UL-Lafayette, Vanderbilt, Wofford
- Promoted to SEC: Appalachian State
- Demoted to Southern: UL-Lafayette
Appalachian State's stay in Tier 2 is brief.
- Membership: Army, Colgate, Delaware, Duke, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Maine, Massachusetts, Northeastern, Syracuse, Temple, William & Mary
- Promoted to Big East: Syracuse
- Demoted to Patriot: Holy Cross
- Membership: Cal Poly, Central Arkansas, Lamar, McNeese State, Nicholls State, South Dakota State, Stephen F. Austin, UC Davis
- Promoted to Conference USA: Stephen F. Austin
- Demoted to Pioneer / Great West: Nicholls State
- Membership: Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Missouri State, North Dakota State, Youngstown State
- Promoted to MAC: Miami (Ohio)
- Demoted to Ohio Valley / Northeast: Eastern Michigan
- Membership: Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Washington State, Wyoming
- Promoted to Mountain West: Eastern Washington
- Demoted to Big Sky: New Mexico
- Membership: Chattanooga, Florida International, Georgia Southern, Liberty, North Texas, The Citadel, UL-Monroe, Western Kentucky
- Promoted to Sun Belt: Georgia Southern
- Demoted to Big South: The Citadel
- Membership: Bucknell, Fordham, Georgetown, Rhode Island, Lafayette, Lehigh, Towson
- Promoted to Colonial: Lehigh
Pioneer / Great West
- Membership (Pioneer): Austin Peay, Butler, Campbell, Davidson, Dayton, Drake, Jacksonville, Marist, Morehead State, San Diego, Valparaiso
- Membership (Great West): North Dakota, Northern Colorado, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, SE Louisiana, South Dakota, Southern Utah, Texas State
- Promoted to Southland: Jacksonville
Ohio Valley / Northeast
- Membership (Ohio Valley): Eastern Illinois, Indiana State, Murray State, Samford, SE Missouri State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, UT-Martin, Western Illinois
- Membership (Northeast): Albany, Central Connecticut State, Duquesne, Monmouth, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis (PA), Wagner
- Promoted to Missouri Valley: Western Illinois
- Membership: Idaho, Idaho State, Montana State, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Portland State, Sacramento State, Weber State
- Promoted to WAC: Idaho
- Membership: Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb, Stony Brook, VMI, Western Carolina
- Promoted to Southern: Stony Brook
We are now seeing the yo-yo effect that afflicts so many soccer teams in Europe. Exhilaration turns to devastation in just one year ... which often quickly turns to exhilaration again.
Your Potential Five-Team Tier 1 Playoff: No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma / No. 13 Virginia Tech, No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 5 Wisconsin