College Football Relegation In Action: 2010

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 12: Waymon James #32 of the TCU Horned Frogs runs the ball against the Boise State Broncos at Bronco Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)

Let's take a look at how relegation would actually work in college football, with years of simulations ready to go. Monday: Why CFB needs relegation. Tuesday: How does relegation work? Wednesday: The CFB relegation system. Thursday: CFB after seven years of relegation.

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.

Intro | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Teams in green font below are no longer in their original conference.

Tier I


  • 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.

Big 12

  • 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.

Big Ten

  • 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.

Tier II

Big East

  • 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.

Conference USA

  • 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

Robert Griffin III and his Baylor Bears are still a year away from a promotion push, and Memphis earns a long-awaited demotion.


  • 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.

Mountain West

  • 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.

Sun Belt

  • 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.

Tier III


  • 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

Missouri Valley

  • 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

Tier IV


  • 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

Big Sky

  • Membership: Idaho, Idaho State, Montana State, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Portland State, Sacramento State, Weber State
  • Promoted to WAC: Idaho

Big South

  • 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

Intro | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.