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Summer Series: Realigning the Conferences Based on Geography

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Welcome to the first ever Cowboy Altitude summer series.  An entertaining way to spend your summer as we countdown the start of football season.

Conference realignment has been a huge story the last couple years and it continues to make headlines.  Most of it involves the BCS Conferences trying to strengthen themselves in order to sign large media deals and weaken smaller conferences.  Some other conferences are trying to add schools in order to stay legitimate organizations and keep afloat in this competitive world.

I didn't want to do a story about the current alignment scenarios that are happening.  Instead I wanted to do a series on a different reason that conferences would realign.  Since summer is here and the news may be slow over the next couple months we will stretch this series out with a new portion every week.  The concept behind the idea is below as well as a schedule for when the new posts will be released.  It is a fairly realistic scenario that could happen but hopefully would never actually occur.


The United States is plunged into a huge energy crisis and the cost of oil skyrockets.  Think of what happened back in the 70's and multiply it a couple times.  There are gas shortages everywhere and the price of a gallon of petrol reaches double digits.  One of the largest expenses for universities is travel for teams which can include airfare, bus rides, food and hotel rooms.

Energy conversation becomes so important that the government puts restrictions on citizens, businesses and sports teams (college and professional).  The NCAA is given two options with it's sports programs: cancel all intercollegiate athletics or realign conferences based on region in order to reduce travel of athletic teams as much as possible.

Gone are the days of the WAC that spans from California to Louisiana and the Big East would no longer extend west of the Mississippi.

There are only one a couple rules for this scenario:

  1. The smaller the conference the better
  2. Only D1 FBS Schools
  3. No more independent schools
  4. Keep the 11 current conferences (We will give them new names)

This also gives me an opportunity to combine two of my favorite things: college football and staring at maps.  Yes, I'm an atlas nerd and proud of it.

So the structure of the college football will stay essentially the same and we will be using the current 120 FBS schools that are active in 2011.  Some conferences will be larger or smaller based on the geography of the region.  Also championship games are out now since it would require an extra game and extra travel.  So there may be a conference of 11 schools which is some thing you would normally not see.

It will be very interesting to see each conference is put together and what the strengths of weaknesses of each would be in real life.  We will breakdown the pluses and minuses eachly reformed league and how it compares to the current one.

Here is our schedule for when each new conference post will be released:

Week 1: Intro Post - (You are here)

Week 2: The New PAC 12

Week 3: WAC is reshaped

Week 4: Mountain West lives up to it's name

Week 5: Big 12 ain't so big

Week 6: Conference USA shrinks

Week 7: Big 10 is redone

Week 8: SEC is fixed up

Week9: Shiny new Sun Belt

Week 10: The compact ACC

Week 11: The mighty MAC

Week 12: The better Big East

Week 13: Series recap and NCAA 12 Simulation Results


These new conferences will feature programs of every level and create some very interesting rivalries or renew some old ones.  You should bookmark this site if you haven't already so that you can make sure you don't miss each conference as it is released.  There are obviously plenty of ways to start but I ended up choosing the western United States as a starting point and then moving eastward.  Schools are more spread out in the west so it can be an easier starting point. 

Another bonus is that Jim Delany and Larry Scott have no power in this scenario.  By the time this series is finished fall practice will have started and we will be on the verge of college football starting up.  Hope you enjoy the series and it helps your summer go by a little bit quicker.