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A fictional NCAA football future

What's Going Downey

By Tom Downey
On November 26, 2012

Like it or not, conference realignment is back. The collegiate landscape is shifting closer and closer to forming "Super Conferences." So let's take a fictional and hypothetical look at what the NCAA could look like in 2016.

In a shocking and controversial move during the summer of 2014, the NCAA announced a policy of relegation. Taking its cue from European soccer, the NCAA demanded each major conference pair with a lesser conference. Each year, the two worse teams in the conference will fall and the top two from the feeder conference will replace them. The NCAA does allow the conferences to increase that number if they so desire.

As a result, the conferences quickly made deals with each other, as the Big 10 pairs with the MAC, the Big 12 joins with Conference USA, the SEC aligns itself with the Sun Belt and the PAC-12 adds the Mountain West as their feeder. That leaves the Big East and the ACC as partners.

The conferences decided that it was the perfect time to form the "super-conferences."

Having already added Rutgers University and the University of Maryland, the Big 10 and President Jim Delany decided they aren't done increasing their market for the Big Ten Network. As a result, the conference added University of Pittsburgh and Boston College.

The PAC-12 was quick to follow, adding Boise State University, San Diego State University, Brigham Young University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV). They re-named themselves the PAC-16 and came under fire after Pac-12 president Larry Scott is recorded saying UNLV was added for "the parties and the bookies."

The Big 12 quickly added six teams. It grabbed the University of Louisville, the University of Cincinnati, Southern Methodist University and the University of Houston. It also stole Florida State University and Clemson University from the ACC.

The Big 10 desired more TV markets, and it picked Syracuse University to help ensure it gets the New York market.

In a truly amazing move, President Delany announced the addition of the University of Toronto. Delany said the league felt it had to make sure they got the Canada market, since the NHL never recovered from the NHL Player's Union head Donald Fehr and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman-induced three-year lockout.

The University of Cincinnati tried to join the Big 10 before heading to the Big 12, but Ohio State refused to share the state of Ohio. The Buckeyes had the Big 10 in a vice grip, as Urban Meyer is undefeated against Big 10 schools.

The SEC, refusing to be outdone by any conference, added eight teams to become the nation's first 22-team conference. It added the University of Miami, Georgia Tech, the University of South Florida, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, Duke University, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

The SEC announced it will no longer have non-conference games, and will instead hold only conference games.

The ACC was completely robbed of all its teams and it decided to fold entirely.

The Big East decided to scrap all sports except basketball, as it forms the often-rumored all-catholic league. It works quite well, as Xavier University, Georgetown University, Marquette University and the University of Notre Dame all end up being ranked in the top 25.

The MAC added Temple University and the University of Connecticut while Army and Navy headed to the Mountain West to join up with Air Force. A variety of FCS schools filled in the gaps in the feeder conferences.

Undefeated Ohio State beat the undefeated Chip Kelly coach at the University of Southern California 30-24 in 2015. Kelly returned to the college ranks after flopping in the NFL faster than former Washington Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier.

The SEC had no one ranked in the top 10, as no team was able to escape the brutal schedule without at least three losses. As a result, the SEC left the NCAA and decided to hold its own championship in 2016.

Oh and as far as Notre Dame goes? They refuse to join a conference and remained independent as long as they can. However, they struggle to find opponents to play and eventually are forced to join the only conference that always has an odd number of teams - the MAC.

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