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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Column: Max’s proposed Division 1 conference realignment

Geographically based leagues would promote parity within a few seasons. Imagine if 95 percent of the FBS-caliber players in a tradition-rich state or region stayed local. Not all the top recruits could go to just one school in the area. Recruits would theoretically choose schools because of factors such as academics, coaching staffs and offensive and defensive schemes.

I present my dream conference alignment, one with a renewed focus on geography and tradition. I fully recognize that this could never happen. The administrators and higher-ups with one hand always on their pocketbooks would never allow for something that would so concentrate the television markets.


The Texas Conference:

Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Baylor
TCU
SMU
North Texas
UTEP
Houston
Rice
Texas State
UTSA

Note: The impetus for my idea to redesign the college conference landscape, this would provide a virtual stranglehold on Texas talent for the state’s teams.

The Big Ten Conference:

Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Illinois
Northwestern
Indiana
Purdue
Notre Dame

Note: The Big Ten has too much tradition for me to feel comfortable making any massive changes, but a few tweaks couldn’t hurt. It should have 10 teams if it is called the Big Ten, so the two most recent additions ­— Penn State and Nebraska — are out. Notre Dame should be in the conference, so I kicked out Iowa, a team that could fit into several conferences geographically.

The Florida+ Conference:

Florida
Florida State
Miami
South Florida
UCF
FIU
FAU
Georgia
Georgia Tech

Note: I know the SEC is rich with tradition, but it overlaps so many other conferences that several geographically logical leagues could be formed within its territory. This is a small conference but ensures that every team will play its entire conference each season.

Carolina Conference:

North Carolina
North Carolina State
Duke
Wake Forest
East Carolina
South Carolina
Clemson
Tennessee
Middle Tennessee State
Memphis
Vanderbilt

Note: This is a sort of modified ACC still centered around the Carolinas.

The Gulf Coast Conference:

LSU
Louisiana-Lafayette
Louisiana-Monroe
Tulane
Louisiana Tech
Ole Miss
Mississippi State
Southern Miss
Alabama
Auburn
South Alabama
Troy
UAB

Note: The fact that a 13-team conference can be made out of three mid-sized states is a testament to the football prowess in this region.

The East Coast Conference

Virginia
Virginia Tech
Maryland
Navy
Boston College
UMass
Rutgers
Syracuse
Buffalo
Army
Connecticut

Note: Born primarily out of the ACC and Big East, this conference could control the talent in the New England and Chesapeake Bay regions.

The Rust Belt Conference

West Virginia
Marshall
Penn State
Pittsburgh
Temple
Cincinnati
Ohio
Akron
Toledo
Kent State
Bowling Green
Miami (OH)

Note: Ohio and Pennsylvania are loaded with tradition in the high school ranks, giving a lot of potential to this souped-up MAC.

The Wild West Conference

Utah
Utah State
BYU
Arizona
Arizona State
Wyoming
New Mexico
New Mexico State
Idaho
Boise State
Nevada
UNLV

Note: Almost all these schools are well-known for offensive prowess and ingenuity and could make for some fun-to-watch football.

The MAC (V2.0)

Northern Illinois
Western Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Central Michigan
Ball State
Iowa
Iowa State
Kentucky
Louisville
Western Kentucky

Note: Admittedly, this is a rather mix-and-match conference but could make for some nice balance across other sports beyond just football.

The Heartland Conference

Kansas
Kansas State
Missouri
Arkansas
Arkansas State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Tulsa
Colorado
Colorado State
Air Force
Nebraska

Note: This one could be a fun reunion between some old SWC and Big 8 rivals with a few additions.

The PAC 12 Conference

Washington
Washington State
Oregon
Oregon State
San Diego State
Stanford
Cal
UCLA
USC
San Jose State
Fresno State
Hawaii

Note: The new and improved PAC 12, now with all its teams actually bordering the Pacific Ocean and plenty of talent to go around.

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