Friday, November 26, 2010

The End Of An Era In Several Conferences

Here we are right after Thanksgiving and there is a bit of nosalgia about college football. Not so much that we are in rivalry mode ... but the fact that several of the conferences we know will be altered quite a bit next year.

The most notable was the Nebraska-Colorado game. Both were playing in their final Big XII game as both will peel off to other conferences next year. Nebraska heads to the Big Ten; Colorado heads to the Pac-10.

The Big Ten will have 12 teams and employ a divisional format that could stop some of the most historic rivalries in the sport (some of these teams have played nearly every year for a century). Colorado ... along with the Mountain West's Utah ... will move out west and turn the Pac-10 into the Pac-12. Just like the Big Ten, the Pac-12 will split into two divisions and break up the schools.

Obviously that means the Big XII will return just ten members next year. So next week's Big XII championship game will be the last one ... of course, until they decide to add more teams down the road. Next year, the Big XII will have a true round robin in the schedule and everyone will play everyone else every year.

That's really all of the BCS conferences right now, but the two other major conferences -- the WAC and Mountain West -- will be drastically altered. The Mountain West loses Utah to the Pac-12, remember, and will lose BYU as they become an independant in football and a member of the West Coast Conference in other sports. The leaves the current 9-team MWC with just 7 teams.

The WAC will lose a lot to the Mountain West. Boise State was/is the first to leave the WAC for the MWC and will be the 8th member of the conference in 2011. Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada will all join in 2012, giving the conference 11 members. Hawaii isn't a given yet, but if they do join it will be in football only. No word if the MWC will go after a 12th team to get a championship game (Utah State?).

With the currently 9-member WAC losing Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State (and probably Hawaii) to the Mountain West, it would leave the WAC with just five members. To get at eight teams, the WAC reached down quite a few pegs to bring up Denver, Tx-San Antonio and Texas State.

Most of that won't happen until 2012 ... and most of you won't notice. Still, it is quite a sad and still exciting time to see the college football landscape change like this.