I wrote this about 12 hours ago.† The committee pretty much did what I thought they should do, with the exception of choosing Georgia Tech over UCLA. I guess they went with the team that finished strong over the better "body of work".† After Oregon took the Rose and Arizona the Fiesta, there wasn't really a good bowl to put UCLA in anyway.† I also would have preferred Alabama play FSU in the Sugar Bowl and the traditional Rose Bowl match-up, but I guess they don't consider that.
I know this is early in the day for most of you, but Iím not the one who decided to make the selection show so early for west coasters like me. Iíll just have to find out the final verdict after I get up and have breakfast.
Iíll just do my regular top 25 blog later in the week, but for reference here are my ratingsresults. I use the numbers there below.
(Teams in my Top 7 apart from Boise St.; wins are limited to those over the top 60.)
Florida St. (3-0 vs. top 25, 5-0 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 14, 21, 25, 41, 46, 55, 60
Alabama (3-1 vs. top 25, 8-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 9, 16, 18, 26, 33, 40, 45, 47, 52
Lost to #8
Oregon (3-1 vs. top 25, 6-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 10, 11, 13, 36, 39, 48
Lost to #10
Ohio St. (2-0 vs. top 25, 5-0 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 13, 15, 28, 30, 43, 54
Lost to #74
TCU (1-1 vs. top 25, 4-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 19, 29, 30, 45, 57, 60
Lost to #7
Baylor (2-0 vs. top 25, 3-1 vs. top 50):
Beat numbers 5, 19, 29, 57, 60
Lost to #45
There should be no serious doubt about Florida St., Alabama, and Oregon, so Iíll skip to talking about the fourth semifinal team.
Baylorís win wasnít really in doubt for the much of the second half, but I donít think it was anything like the kind of exclamation point Ohio St. had. I had Ohio St. in the top 4 to begin with, so I am still convinced Baylor does not belong. Virginia Tech is a worse team to lose to than WVU, but my feeling is the two additional wins over the top 50 make up for this.
I respect the opinion that TCU belongs ahead of Ohio St., although obviously I donít agree with the conclusion. I think Ohio St. just showed emphatically they can play like a top 4 team. Admittedly, they showed all those weeks ago they can also lose to a mediocre team at home by two touchdowns, but at some point, the other 12 games taken as a whole should be more important. One top-25 win vs. 2 and 5 top-50 wins vs. 4 make up for that. TCU played the best of any of these teams in their loss, but actually that might have been their best game. I just havenít seen them look like a top team often enough, particularly in light of their difficulties against West Virginia and Kansas in the month of November.
Transitioning out of the semifinal discussion, I donít think Marshall and Boise St. are getting the respect that previous ďgroup of fiveĒ teams with similar records have gotten in the past. Hawaii in 2007, for instance, was #11 after starting 11-0. Marshall, which has actually had a better schedule this season, was #19 after starting 11-0. I do think Marshall and Boise St. may each be a couple of spots too high in my ratings though.
I mentioned briefly last week why I had Boise St. ahead of Arizona, and now itís similarly problematic to have Boise St. ahead of Baylor. There is a higher depth to Boise St.ís wins, but ultimately beating top-20 teams should be valued more highly. I want to try to find a way where beating #5 and #19 counts for more points than beating #20, #49, and #69. Those arenít Boise St.ís three best wins (they beat two others in the top 60), but they just happened to combine for slightly more points than Baylorís two best wins.
One way I thought of was adding some kind of additional credit for beating teams that end up with positive ratings (which is usually approximately the top 40). I wonít alter the formula at this point this season though. I will tinker with it after the final results of this year to see how it turns out. I will also look to see how it would alter previous ratings.
Something else I want to note is Boise St. actually has more FBS wins than Baylor because they played an extra game and did not play an FCS opponent. So where usually a team with two losses has fewer wins than one with a single loss, the two-loss team in question has more wins.
In an average playing week, Baylor did accumulate more points than Boise St. did in an average week.
One reason I say Marshall may be a spot or two too high is that I think Michigan St.should be in a major bowl. Their only losses are to teams I believe should be in the top 4.Wisconsin was technically the Big Ten runner-up, but they lost an additional game, and they lost to LSU and Northwestern. LSU isnít a bad loss, but Northwestern is pretty bad. They donít even qualify for a bowl game. I mention those together because theyíre in the same conference.
I also think UCLA should be included in the top 6 bowls, while Georgia Tech should be excluded. The two teams finished with the same number of losses, and there were understandable losses by both and fairly weak losses by both. UCLAís non-conference slate of Virginia, Memphis, and Texas, combined with the strength of the Pac-12 South relative to the ACC Coastal, should put them ahead.
Florida St. was actually two possessions ahead of Georgia Tech going into the last couple of minutes, which is a gigantic lead for the Seminoles, so the final score being two points doesnít sway me. Also, I give them credit for the one strong out-of-conference win (albeit an extremely lucky one) against Georgia, but the others were Wofford, Tulane, andGeorgia Southern.
I havenít exactly made the case why UCLA should go ahead of Wisconsin or Michigan St. should go ahead of Georgia Tech, but hopefully you can fill in the blanks there.
The only other thing in the top 25 worth commenting on is a team that hadnít been there since my (subjective) preseason rankingÖ.
We can also add Northern Illinois to the list of ďgroup of fiveĒ teams that may be a spot or two too high. After Arkansasís games against LSU and Ole Miss made that blowout loss more understandable, that only leaves one other loss for the Huskies against 11 wins. Like Boise St., Northern Illinois goes up an extra spot for playing an extra game. If I averaged by playing week, they would have stayed behind Louisville.
In addition to my blog linked to above, I also have a page on Facebook and am on twitter @TheBayouBlogger.
My current top 4
My Top 25
1 ( 2 ) Florida St. 1
2 ( 1 ) Alabama 2
3 ( 5 ) Ohio St. 3
4 ( 3 ) Oregon 4
5 ( 4 ) TCU 8
6 ( 22 ) Boise St. 12
7 ( 7 ) Arizona 10
8 ( 11 ) Ole Miss 14
9 ( 8 ) Miss. St. 5
10 ( 12 ) Ga. Tech 15
11 ( 15 ) UCLA 6
12 ( 9 ) Mich. St. 17
13 ( 13 ) Wisconsin 18
14 ( 6 ) Baylor 13
15 ( 14 ) Missouri 20
16 ( 30 ) Marshall 7
17 ( 10 ) Kansas St. 19
18 ( 16 ) Georgia 9
19 ( 19 ) Auburn 11
20 ( 31 ) Colo. St. 16
21 ( 20 ) Clemson 23
22 ( 24 ) Nebraska 24
23 ( 18 ) Arizona St. 21
24 ( 17 ) Oklahoma 22
25 ( 21 ) Louisville Ė
(USC and LSU are the two Mock BCS top 25 teams who are not in my top 25.)
Full Rankings 1-128
Out of top 25: (25) Minnesota
There are a total of 39* teams that got some level of points in the Mock BCS standings linked to above. (I list 40 teams since Texas A&M was in the top 25 of one of the computer rankings, but they got no points since the highest rating is dropped)
Earlier top-25 blogs:
I didnít do a post-game blog about LSU/A&M, but I updated the Rivalry Series entry, and I will write a bit about the Tigers in my second blog this week. I also plan to write about relative conference strength and lower bowl possibilities. I think the new committee rankings will be relevant to that discussion.
What Iíll discuss below is the current state of my rankings and how I think that SHOULD translate into what the committee does with the major bowls at the end. I canít speculate with any accuracy what they will do, especially being that I donít know how the rankings for this week will look.
Because Florida St. has been accumulating a reasonable amount of points whileAlabama has recently had a bye and played Western Carolina, the Seminoles are still on top, although I would agree with probably most people in the conclusion that Alabama looks like the better team at the moment.
Georgia has also thrown a wrench into things by beating Auburn, losing to Georgia Tech, and failing to win the East. If Alabama were playing a two-loss Georgia team next week and Florida St. were playing a three-loss team, Alabama would have a good chance to move back into #1, but unless the Yellowjackets beat Florida St., I donít see that happening now.
By the way, Iíve never experienced such a disappointing day of college football in my life. I watched about 10 games that went down the final couple of minutes, and every last one of them went the way I didnít want them to. Georgia choking was just the beginning of a long day. Also, I donít know why on Earth Auburn thought they could win with field goals.
Alabama should have at least three losses, but then how would they torture me? One thing they did was allow LSU to move into first place in the SEC in total defense, so I guess we can say we got first place in something.
Despite the SEC Eastís troubles with the ACC (although letís not forget Georgia beatClemson earlier this year), I think itís justified to have three SEC WEST teams in the top 10 and all seven in the top 40. By the way, the Mock BCS agrees with the latter assessment. Texas A&M got no points, but they were ranked in one of the formerly BCS computers, so I think that makes them #40. It merely has three SEC West teams in the top 11 instead of the top 10 though.
Anyway, there are two more slots to fill out in the semifinals, so Iíll now talk about that.
I have no hesitation in supporting Oregon if they beat Arizona. They will have vindicated their one loss of the year. Even though they play in the weaker Pac-12 division, they still beat UCLA, who tied for second in the Pac-12 South. Of course, Michigan St.counts as a decent win as well. So thatís two of the top 3 teams in the Pac-12 South. (Technically, USC tied with ASU and UCLA in the South, but theyíre clearly #4 in my view.)
That last spot is going to be tricky. I do have Ohio St. there right now (actually ahead of Oregon at the moment), and I canít imagine that if the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin, that either the formula or my mind will change. However, I do understand the argument that maybe losing to Virginia Tech at home could be a disqualifying factor.
As I discussed last week, I firmly believe the best alternative to Ohio St. in that instance isTCU, whose only blemish is a 3-point loss to Baylor about 6 weeks ago.
West Virginia is better than Virginia Tech, but they donít belong anywhere near the top 25. The Mountaineers beat Baylor by a couple of touchdowns.
Even if Oregon loses, I still donít see Baylor being #4. The committee might pick them ahead of Arizona in that instance, but I donít think I would.
That might not seem to make sense being that I have Boise St. ahead of Arizona right now, but the Broncos have the better schedule at the moment. I know thatís hard to believe, but Boise St.ís opponents have a winning record overall, and Arizonaís opponents have a losing record overall. The Mountain West simply is not leaps and bounds behind the power conferences, and Boise played a very competitive schedule out of conference (while Arizona didnít).
However, Fresno St. isnít going to help the Broncos very much. So with a win, Arizona should easily pass them up as well as TCU and Oregon (whom they would have to beat).
Using my formulaís current rankings, these are the potential resumes of relevant teams for the last spot or two (two if Oregon, Florida St., or Alabama lose):
Team 1: beat #6, 17, 24, 56; lost to #46
Team 2: beat #17, 24, 29, 46, 56; lost to #14
Team 3: beat #12, 13, 29, 32, 44, 45, 55; lost to #76
Team 4: beat #4, 4, 23, 36, 50, 53; lost to #11, 27
Iím going to assume Alabama would be out of the running with a loss despite whatever strength of resume they might have. It might be possible for a team to be #1 going into championship week and hang on with a loss at some point, but this is not the year.
I do want to acknowledge that Baylor may be much better than #14. They would close the gap considerably by beating Kansas St., but obviously Oregon would be a better win than Kansas St. Also, the Bears would not pass up TCU.
So the only teams that should be in the running from my perspective are Nos. 1 to 5 and #7 Arizona.
Arizona/Boise St. has prompted me to consider a slight modification to my system though. I have preliminary ratings of teams between 0 and about 7 (which would be if the team with the best schedule went undefeated, which is nearly impossible). Boise St. has only beaten one team (Colorado St.) with a preliminary rating higher than 4.0, while Arizona has beaten three (Oregon, Arizona St., and Utah). So my idea is to have those higher-rated opponents count for a bit more than they do already.
There are a total of 12 teams that will be in CFP bowls. I donít see any of the 6 mentioned above falling out, so here are 6 other teams I think should be make up the rest of the spots:
Boise St. (top ďgroup of fiveĒ team)
This would be assuming that Georgia Tech, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Kansas St. all lost. I believe a win by any of those (although Kansas St. might be debatable) should get them in. I have the teams above so they would be eliminated from the bottom right now. If Baylor beats Kansas St., I would want them to be given a safe spot though.
Boise St. should be assured the ďgroup of fiveĒ spot with a win, but if they lose and Marshall wins, I would want them replaced with Marshall. If both lose, I guess Colorado St. would take that slot.
In addition to my blog linked to above, I also have a page on Facebook and am on twitter @TheBayouBlogger.
ím going to do things a little differently this week. To avoid confusion, Iím omitting last weekís rankings from the chart (I will discuss movement of teams in the discussion below). Iím listing my top 25 in order and to the right, Iím first listing the college football playoff top 25, followed by a mock BCS (Iíll just call it BCS from now on since there is no ďrealĒ BCS ranking anymore) ranking.
There are 36 teams that got at least some level of points under this approximated BCS system, so Iíll mention those who arenít in my top 25 afterward.
The BCS formula canít be completely replicated because there is no longer a Harris poll, and one of the computer systems (Massey) no longer lists ratings that comply with BCS rules, which included a ban on any consideration for margin of victory. I think Iíve made a pretty good approximation by using the AP poll and Masseyís ďnormalĒ ratings.
At least we can all agree on #1.
My Top 25
1 Miss. St. 1 , 1
2 Ole Miss 4 , 6
3 Auburn 3 , 4
4 Florida St. 2 , 2
5 Alabama 6 , 3
6 Oregon 5 , 5
7 LSU 19 , 13
8 Nebraska 15 , 17
9 Marshall ó , 23
10 Mich. St. 8 , 8
11 Notre Dame 10 , 7
12 Georgia 11 , 9
13 Ohio St. 16 , 15
14 UCLA 22 , 24
15 Arizona 12 , 16
16 Colo. St. ó , (27)
17 TCU 7 , 11
18 Kansas St. 9 , 10
19 Arizona St. 14 , 12
20 Clemson 21 , 20
21 Boise St. ó , (31)
22 Baylor 13 , 14
23 Oklahoma 18 , 19
24 Duke 24 , 25
25 W. Virginia 20 , 21
Out of my top 25: (11) Minnesota, (21) USC
My full list of FBS teams
These are all other teams that would have received some level of points in the BCS system (same format as above; if theyíre completely unranked, theyíre omitted):
26. Missouri Ė, 29
27. Ga. Tech Ė, 34
28. Minnesota Ė, 33
29. USC Ė, 28
30. Louisville 25, 35
31. East Carolina 23, 22
34. Wisconsin Ė. 30
36. Texas A&M Ė, 26
38. Stanford Ė, 32
40. Okla. St. Ė, 36
Explanation and future rankings
I donít have time for too much editorializing, but before seeing these I already thought it was an oversight not to have a system that was at least partially objective. Iím not going to judge the whole thing on one rankings list, but based on what I see here, I would have preferred to keep something like the BCS formula and pick the top four from that.
I know people who donít understand how my system works wonít be happy with these. Last week, Ole Miss was technically #1, but I just didnít rank them as such on my blog because I wanted to see if they would beat LSU before taking that step. Iím glad I made that choice.
Anyway, the question remains: how do they only lose one spot? I even thought I might have made a mistake, but Iíll explain.
The first thing I wanted to mention is theyíre actually #4, behind Auburn and Florida St. (who have had two byes apiece) if you divide the overall rating by playing weeks.
It also helps that Ole Miss started out a large distance over #3. A normal distance from one team to the next is about 0.02. Ole Miss was 0.12 ahead of last weekís (computer) #3, Florida St. Losing to LSU only subtracts 0.09 from Ole Missís score. Ole Miss still goes from 0.04 ahead of Mississippi St. to 0.14 behind. For context, in last weekís ratings, 0.14 was approximately the distance between #6 Oregon and #16 LSU. There just arenít teams between the two in this case.
Just as an aside, this week LSU was only 0.04 short of the Ducks.
With Florida St.ís bye week (most teams lose at least one spot in a bye week), Ole Miss was able to stay ahead and Auburn was able to pass them up. I understand one may object to two one-loss teams being ahead of Florida St., but at the end of last regular season there was just one, and at the end of this year there will likely be one. Someone has to lose Auburn-Ole Miss next week. Itís not guaranteed Mississippi St. will get past Alabama and Ole Miss. Also, someone has to lose between Alabama and Auburn. Auburn also has to play Georgia. So there are plenty of future opportunities on here for Florida St. to move back up.
Even if Ole Miss beats Auburn next week, they will then have a lull in points. They play Presbyterian College the following week, followed by a bye. Florida St.ís opponents of Louisville, Virginia, and U. Miami should pick them up a bit relative to Ole Miss.
Alabama plays LSU and Mississippi St. on the 8th and 15th, respectively, but next week they have a bye week, and on the 22nd they play Western Carolina (while Florida St. will play Boston College that week).
Once again, Auburn is a potential one-loss team that Florida St. may have trouble catching. Florida St. could be no better than third if both Auburn and Mississippi St. win out. Auburn would have a bye week during the championships in that scenario, but a win over Georgia to go along with the SEC West wins would still be difficult to overcome. If South Carolina and Kansas St. win the rest of their games, Auburn would have a very large number of points from those as well.
My computer ratings are a lot more fluid than the polls. Iíll give a couple of examples.
When I had Alabama ahead of Auburn last week, that clearly did not mean that if both won theyíd remain in the same positions. The teams are basically in a race. If youíre ahead in a race and neither you nor your opponent fall down, youíre not guaranteed to finish ahead.
Also, I said that teams playing tough opponents can pass up Marshall. Even though LSU was 9 spots behind, they did just that with the win over Ole Miss. Granted, many teams would have to win two games instead of one to make that distance, but itís not as difficult to move up as it would be in the polls. Nebraska was 7 spots behind Marshall and also passed up the Herd by beating Rutgers.
Marshall has a bye next week so will most likely be passed up by even more teams. Michigan St. is also idle, but then Sparty will have a good chance the next week against the Buckeyes.
In addition to Kansas St., itís also helped the SEC West that Boise St. (beaten by Ole Miss) and West Virginia (beaten by Alabama) have continued to move up. Both are now in the top 25. Wisconsin (beaten by LSU) is one of the next 10 teams out.
Also, SEC West teams have now swept three of the top five SEC East teams, Kentucky, Florida, and South Carolina. Georgia has the only win against the SEC West by any team in college football from outside of the SEC West, but the Bulldogs will play Auburn in a couple of weeks. Missouri has yet to play an SEC West team. Not that it helps much, but Tennessee was also swept by the SEC West, and Vanderbilt lost one and has one to play (against Miss. St.).
The top five teams of the SEC West are still undefeated against all outsiders. As mentioned, there are some really quality wins over those outsiders. LSU is the only one of the five who has lost twice within the group, but thatís about to change with the Auburn-Ole Miss game.
I almost forgot to mention Iím now on twitter @TheBayouBlogger
[Logos in white boxes represent potential additions. †The red areas are the current South Division, and the blue areas are the current North Division.]
With BYU's success as an independent team (despite losses to Virginia and Utah, the latter a recent Pac-12 addition), I still think the Cougars would be a good fit for the Pac-12. †That's the real rival for Utah--not Colorado, who doesn't have a real rival in the Pac-12.
I know the conference is expressing reluctance to expand, but it wasnít too long ago that it was talking about 16 teams. †Also, it doesn't seem like that long ago that the Pac-10 and Big Ten didn't want to expand, didn't want a championship game, and didn't even want to be involved in the BCS. †Both wanted their champion to play in the Rose Bowl and for that to be the end of it. †A few conferences seemed happy at 12 but have expanded/are expanding anyway.†
I still donít understand why public ďresearch universitiesĒ is such a priority for Pac-12 admission, but people always bring it up. † I had never heard much about Utah or Arizona St. (or a couple of the more long-standing Pac-8/10/12 schools) being academic powerhouses. †Anyway, I do know BYU is a good school (without so much research maybe), and since theyíre unaffiliated and there are two schools in the Rockies unconnected with the rest of the conference, it seems it would fit. †
Although I donít know anything about its standing among other schools academically (promotional materials seem to make their research sound impressive: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/vpr/), Texas Tech would be a good way to expand into the pool of Texas talent since it is in Western Texas, actually not very far to the East (although significantly to the South) of Boulder, Colorado. †It was one of those potential additions to the Pac-12 when the Big XII nearly fell into pieces.
How to align the divisions would be a challenge, although I do have an idea of how that could be done. †Basically, take the 7 rivalry pairs and put all the more sophisticated schools in one division and the other schools in another. †Washington St. and Oregon St. seem a little grittier than Washington and Oregon, the latter two being rivals of one other anyway. †Stanford/Cal, USC/UCLA, and BYU/Utah are fairly obvious since the first one of each pair is private and the second public. †I donít think I have to elaborate on why Texas Tech is more rough-around-the-edges than Colorado. Just imagine Boulder, then imagine Lubbock. †By reputation, Arizona seems a little more buttoned-down than Arizona St., but Iím not sure that matters either way.
Colorado could have an even better rival in Air Force, although that doesnít really expand the recruiting base. †It may add to fan interest though. †The service academies have fans scattered all over. Of course, Air Force also regularly played BYU and Utah when all three were in the Mountain West and WAC. †The team right now is pretty bad though. †You don't always want to focus on the short term, but I think that would be a meaningful concern. †The Pac-12 doesn't want another doormat. †
Boise St. doesnít have much of an academic profile, but that would seem to make for an easy transition. †The Broncos already have the talent and interest to compete, and it would be natural to add them to the Pac-12 North and BYU to the Pac-12 South. †I still think teams in Colorado and Utah being in the South seems a little off, but my understanding is everyone not in California wants to play in California at least once a year.
Fresno St., UNLV, San Diego St., and San Jose St. could be other possibilities if academics arenít a priority. †UNLV and San Diego are big unexploited media markets for major college football (and in the case of UNLV, there are no major professional sports in the area either). †I'm not sure how much San Jose St. and Fresno St. would add, so they're probably least likely, but they make obvious geographical sense. †There are half a million people in Fresno and no major sports in the surrounding area, where arguably another half a million people or more live. †San Jose St. isn't very far from Stanford, but not everyone is a Stanford person. †
Another possibility I thought of was Hawaii, which apparently does have some research credentials, but that program has crashed and burned since June Jones and Colt Brennan left the islands, so it has some of the same problems as Air Force, except I think Air Force has better road fans. †Logistics arenít very favorable for Hawaii either, of course.
Nebraska is a long-shot, but I thought it worth mentioning. †I don't think the Big Ten is quite what the Huskers signed up for. If they have to play a 9-game conference schedule and travel to one of the coasts, why not the Pacific Coast instead? †With Colorado, at least they would get one of their traditional rivals back. †Maybe if they joined along with Texas Tech, that would be the best way of including new teams in a more logical way. †
As to how the divisional alignment would work, Utah could just be switched to the North and keep playing Colorado as a permanent opponent (or "protected series", as the Big Ten calls it). †Berkeley is about the same distance away as Tempe (Arizona St. is the second-closest Pac-12 South opponent for the Utes) is anyway. †Nebraska would also help out the competitive balance in the long-run. †I'm sure that would be a really expensive proposition though.
Even though this could have been the promising first year of a reorganized respectable second-tier conference, the WAC as we used to know it seems pretty much dead.† All the football members have left or are leaving apart from Idaho and New Mexico St.†
As recently as 1995, the top three WAC teams of this year, Louisiana Tech, Utah St., and San Jose St., all competed in the Big West.† Nevada, UNLV, and New Mexico St. were also in that conference, and Boise St. joined (along with Idaho) in 1996.
Which got me thinkingÖ since there wonít be a WAC, why canít there be a Big West in football again?† I canít think of a good reason.† In football, the Big East is doing so much expanding from the area near the Mississippi River all the way to Boise and San Diego, so that can incorporate these teams while the rest of the conference can keep operating as it is already, with some possible quality expansion in other sports.
These were the teams in the WAC in 1995:
San Diego St.
Boise St. and San Diego St. are actually going to be in the Big West in other sports, and Hawaii is already there.† I imagine Utah St. and San Jose St. (which appear to be headed to the Mountain West) could be brought back with just the foundation Iíve mentioned so far.† BYU left the Mountain West to become independent in football (WCC in other sports, which makes less sense than the Big West would), but no currently-AQ conference has offered them a spot, and theyíre naturals to be playing the likes of Boise St. and Utah St., both of which theyíve played this season.†
The East-West alliance along the lines of the previously-discussed MWC-CUSA idea didnít work out because of all the existing obligations (essentially schools could then leave without buyout fees and without paying the conference shares of post-season revenue), but all those problems arenít here since administratively, it would still really be the Big East.†
Louisiana Tech is a definite for the Conference USA, but thatís fine because they were too far to the East for the WAC anyway.† The Big West football conference did extend into Arkansas and Louisiana briefly (including Louisiana Tech and UL-Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana).† There is a bit of a central region in the Big East as well that could provide the anticipated mega-conference some flexibility, so theyíre not completely out of the question later.
The Big East has already announced plans to include Memphis, Tulane, SMU, and Houston.† With the quality Western teams available, I would think Memphis and Tulane would be playing in the true Big East (by which I mean teams that would be in the Big East in other sports and in the Eastern division in football), but SMU and Houston would be good opponents for them as well.† If only one of the four goes out West (in the even both Cincinnati and Connecticut find other conferences), then SMU and Houston could still be permanent opponents.
The only teams left from a couple of years ago (to make up the core of the true Big East) will be Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida.
So this is what Iím thinking as far as alignment...
Click here for chart and remainder of blog.† I discuss possible bowl ties and talk more about the Mountain West.