Thoughts on Mega Mega Conferences

All the talk now is about the Pac-10 and Big 12 mutating to form some new Super Conference, as well as the Big Ten adding teams and even the Mountain West getting in on the action.

Everyone mentions stuff like revenue sharing and television deals.  But what I care about is the actual fan viewing experience.

Take the Pac-10/Big 12 merger.  So, the Western half of that conference will include all the Pac-10 teams minus Arizona and Arizona State.  A team like USC will play seven of the same teams it always plays, plus its traditional rival Notre Dame.  It would probably play one or two teams from the Eastern half of the conference, leaving two games against other random non-conference foes.  Naturally, a team in a power conference like this one isn’t going to want to schedule anyone too tough in those remaining games.  A team from the West (current Pac-10) will drop regular scheduling of ASU and Arizona in return for playing–on occasion–Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State (as well as ASU and Arizona, too).

Given that Pac-10 teams already schedule pretty strong in their OOC games, I’m not sure much will change as far as watching that conference.  What will change is that the Big 12 teams will have to play more difficult home and homes, which could really hurt the records of teams like Texas Tech and Texas A&M who are known for scheduling OOC patsies.

What really strikes me about this move toward the mega-conference set up is that it looks like a way to get to a de facto playoff system.  Taking the winners of these leagues and having a neat and clean Final Four at the end of it all would probably be doable and yet still keep the integrity of the regular season intact.  Teams that won their division but lost in the conference title game would be the equivalent of today’s conference champs and would get prime slots in other traditional bowls.

It would also throw the Heisman race into a tizzy.  The weekly mega-matchups in all these super conferences would really heighten the excitement.

I’ve always been a proponent for uniformity in college football scheduling.  Either every conference should have a title game, or none of them should.  So now it looks like most of the conferences will have that title game, which means that it will give more Heisman candidates more chances to pile up yards and impress voters while giving a boost to candidates from the Big Ten and Pac-10 who have always been at a disadvantage.  Give Toby Gerhart one more game last year and he just might’ve won that Heisman after all.

Even though I am a dye-in-the-wool college football traditionalist,  I find the proposed mergers intriguing.  I foresee better matchups, more competition and more excitement without slouching toward Gomorrah (and by Gomorrah, I mean an NFL-style system).

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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5 Responses to Thoughts on Mega Mega Conferences

  1. starkweather June 8, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines since these stories started bubbling up last week. Eventually maybe we’ll get to one 120-team conference and the conference championship tournament can decide wich team gets to beat up Notre Dame on New Year’s Day. Except for those years where Navy or Army is the best of the independents.

  2. ADP June 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    The one thing I think nobody is talking about relates to the Big-10. With 11 teams already, why is all the talk about Mizzou AND Nebraska jumping from the Big-12 to the Big-10? Everybody knows the Big-10 covets Notre Dame, but even if the Irish spurn the them the conference will still need to take 1, 3, or 5 teams to make expansion possible. If the Huskers and Mizzou join the Big-10 who’s the third team?

    On another note, I like the idea of a Pac-16, although Colorado by itself doesn’t make much sense if all the other schools are in TX and OK. I’ve always been a bigger proponent of more geographically logical conferences as opposed to ones based on ‘footprint size’ and revenue. I also think there are enough quality schools out west (think Utah, BYU, Boise, TCU, Houston for starters) that even if the Big-12 gets raided they will be able to reform and still have a better line-up than the current Big East. Obviously losing UT and OU would suck but the conference could expand and survive…how about this for a revamped Big-16?

    Colorado, Colorado State, Utah, BYU, Boise, Idaho, Kansas, K-state

    SMU, Baylor, TCU, Houston, Texas Tech, UTEP, New Mexico, New Mexico State

  3. ADP June 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Ooops…forgot TTech was one of the schools the Pac-10 is supposed to snatch. Oh well, just slide Rice in to TTech’s spot in the Big-16 South.

  4. AUman76 June 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    Expand? Expelling the weak links in every conference would be an upgrade. Not adding teams that would then decress each teams piece of the pie. Why would the SEC want or need to expand when it already has a monopoly on the BCS Crystal Ball? It’s all about money not improving the quality of a conference. Besides all that mubo jumbo, we already have one helluva super conference….it’s called the SEC! The real BCS Championship is played in Atlanta in December. Seems that’s were the champs usually come from.

  5. AUman76 June 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    ooops! Seems the pac11 has some unfinished work to do? lmao Good luck with Colorado they really add some much needed depth to a weak conference. Just one more patsy for USC to whup up on. One good thing about Texas backin out…SC can exhale now. Cause they were about to be replaced at the top of the charts in their own conference by the Longhorns. Now it’s business as usuall. Just call Utah or Fresno State and you got’s yurself a conference championship game. That’s one more win to boost USC’s pretty team score with the media.