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College Football Relegation In Action: 2010

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.

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)
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)
Getty Images

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