The last few years have brought about massive overhauls to many athletic conferences and changed the landscape of college football. It has yet to be seen how the balance of power will shift in the NCAA. The changes to conference membership will bring about new matchups and rivalries, as well as shift the structure and championship format for many conferences. In many cases, the strong have gotten stronger, while other conferences now appear to have a chance to rebrand themselves.
The dynamics have changed in the NCAA, and bettors need to be informed of the team movement in order to understand power shifts in Division I FBS.
ACC Football Realignment
The Atlantic Coast Conference has not lost any schools during the recent scrambling. ACC football expands from twelve to fourteen teams in 2013, with Pittsburgh and Syracuse coming into the fold.
Big Ten Football Realignment
Big Ten Football has remained intact, even in the turbulent mix of college football programs. The Big Ten added Nebraska in 2011, furthering the conference’s strength as a football power. The move from eleven to twelve teams also lead the a divisional structure (Leaders and Legends) and championship game format.
Big 12 Football Realignment
In 2011, the Big 12 saw Colorado and Nebraska jump ship, moving to the Pac 12 and Big Ten, respectively. In 2012, Texas A&M and Missouri also left the Big 12, their departures being replaced by the likes of TCU and West Virginia. While membership has shrunk from twelve to ten, removing divisions and championship games from Big 12 football, the Big 12 is still a formidable conference. Both TCU and West Virginia boast strong football programs.
Big East Football Realignment
In 2012, Big East football lost West Virginia to the Big 12, added Temple, and has further changes for 2013 and beyond. Pitt and Syracuse leave in 2013 to join the ACC. The Big East will add six newcomers in their place: Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis, Boise State, and San Diego State. The changes have stretched the Big East across the country and increased its size to twelve football programs.
Conference USA Football Realignment
Eight changes hit the C-USA in 2013. Memphis, Houston, UCF, and SMU will depart for the Big East. The schools will be replaced by FIU, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and UTSA, thus keeping the conference at an even twelve football members. Charlotte and Old Dominion will begin Conference USA Football is 2015.
Mid American Conference Football Realignment
The MAC will has made just two changes amidst the flurry of college football.
Temple, who had only joined the MAC in 2007, left in 2012.
In its place, the University of Massachusetts joined Mid American Football.
The MAC will remain at thirteen football members.
Mountain West Football Realignment
BYU left the Mountain West to become an independent in 2011, while TCU joined the Big 12 the following season.
Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii all joined the Mountain West for 2012. Boise State (joined 2011) and San Diego State join Big East football in 2013; San Jose State and Utah State take their place.
Pac 12 Football Realignment
Pac 12 is among the conferences to retain all of its members during conference realignment. Colorado and Utah added to the ranks in 2011, pushing the conference from the Pac 10 to the Pac 12.
SEC Football Realignment
The SEC’s strong football reputation allowed it to expand without losing any members. Texas A&M and Missouri both joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012, expanding membership to fourteen universities.
Sun Belt Football Realignment
Since its 1976 inception, the Sun Belt’s membership seems to have been in a constant state of flux. Sun Belt Football has four total changes for 2013. Georgia State and Texas State will join the Sun Belt, with FIU and North Texas both opting out.
WAC Football Realignment
With many athletic conferences attempting to bolster their membership, the WAC appears the odd man out amidst college football’s changes. Boise State, Hawaii, Fresno State, Nevada, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, UTSA, Texas State, and Utah State all have or will leave the WAC. The WAC is thus faced with either drastically expanding or dissolving in the coming years.