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Who's in, Who's out When Super Conferences Finish Forming

Several big names will find themselves out in the cold when dust settles
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With everything happening in college athletics, there seems to be little doubt that we're headed toward a super conference structure. 

At the rate things are going, three 20-team conferences will emerge and break away from the NCAA by 2030 while taking a European country's economy worth of money with them. 

Left behind will be the carcasses of teams who that didn't matter enough to the bottom line in either football or basketball whose leadership didn't have the foresight to jump to the right conference. 

So let's have fun with our own version of the chaos and simulate the fallout of the next eight years in college athletics. 

We'll work using the premise that each conference will have four pods of five schools with the champions of each pod advancing to the playoffs in each sport. Four at-large bids will be split between the highest ranked team in each conference and a wild card from the highest ranked remaining team from any conference.

Because of the sheer size of some of these conferences, Pods 1 and 2 will play each year, as will Pods 3 and 4. Pod 1 will play two teams from Pod 3 and a team from Pod 4 in a two-year cycle before playing two teams from Pod 4 and a team from Pod 3 the following cycle.

This means every six years, a team will see everyone in the conference. Non-conference games are gone, but considering the conference games fans will see, plus what lines up in the playoffs, that's not going to matter.

Bowl games are also a thing of the past. It's all home games for the higher seed until the championship game.

Television revenue from the playoffs is divided into 50% for teams in the playoffs distributed by number of games played, with the other 50% divided equally between the teams that didn't make the playoffs. 

Who's left standing?

Super Conference

When the dust settles, the three conferences in the best position to survive are the Big Ten, SEC, and Big 12.

Shockingly, despite its best efforts to implode upon itself over the course of a rocky existence, the Big 12 survives. With Texas leaving, the catalyst that kept shaking up this conference is gone. 

Its physical position in the United States, plus its willingness to be the Hufflepuff of college football, makes the Big 12 the most likely third wheel to the Big Ten-SEC wedding. However, a return to the old Big 8 mentality of rough and tumble midwestern schools means the new version of the Big 12 can actually evolve into a legitimate future threat. 

With the conferences established, let's see who makes the cut and who gets left behind.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

SEC logo small

Automatic bids:

Alabama Logo

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

Arkansas Logo

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

Auburn Logo

AUBURN TIGERS

Florida Logo

FLORIDA GATORS

Georgia Logo

GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Kentucky Logo

KENTUCKY WILDCATS

LSU Logo

LSU TIGERS

Ole Miss Logo

OLE MISS REBELS

Mississippi State Logo

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

Missouri Logo

MISSOURI TIGERS

South Carolina Logo

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS

Tennessee Logo

TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

Texas A&M Logo

TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Vanderbilt Logo

VANDERBILT COMMODORES

Some may scoff at Texas and Oklahoma not being on the automatic bids list. 

However, nothing is set in stone until a school schedules its first games, so the Longhorns and Sooners still fall under the invitees section.

Invitees:

Clemson logo

CLEMSON

Duke logo

DUKE

Florida State logo

FLORIDA STATE

North Carolina logo

NORTH CAROLINA

Oklahoma Logo

OKLAHOMA

Texas logo

TEXAS

Duke is fortunate it's an icon of college basketball. Without that designation, the Blue Devils would have found themselves left out in the cold.

However, we now get to see the combination of Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke every year. These are four teams that have played a lot of legendary basketball against each other in front of crazed fan bases over the past 40 years.

Opening up the North Carolina market to the SEC brings value. The new brands brought to the table in football, basketball and baseball in this scenario means giant dollar signs for the conference. 

The biggest winner here is South Carolina. The Gamecocks get to play rival Clemson on a more regular basis while also getting to take part in the battle of the Carolinas with North Carolina.

POD SET-UP

POD 1

North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, South Carolina, Kentucky

POD 2

Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi St.

POD 3

Missouri, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Tennessee

POD 4

LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma

BIG TEN

Big 10 logo

Automatic bids:

Illinois Logo

ILLINOIS

Indiana Logo

INDIANA

Iowa Logo

IOWA

Maryland logo

MARYLAND

Michigan Logo

MICHIGAN

Michigan State Logo

MICHIGAN ST.

Minnesota Logo

MINNESOTA

Nebraska Logo

NEBRASKA

Northwestern Logo

NORTHWESTERN

Ohio State logo

OHIO STATE

Penn State Logo

PENN STATE

purdue boilermakers logo

PURDUE

Rutgers Logo

RUTGERS

Wisconsin Logo

WISCONSIN

Invitees:

NOTRE DAME

Oregon Logo

OREGON

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Stanford logo

STANFORD

Southern California Logo

USC

UCLA logo

UCLA

Washington Logo

WASHINGTON

This may be the most uninteresting of all the shuffles because most of this is already in the works. USC and UCLA are already in while Washington and UCLA are said to have already applied for admission to the Big Ten also. 

While Notre Dame has spent the past few years in a friends with benefits relationship with the ACC, the least surprising reveal in awkward sitcom will be when the Irish pop the question to the Big Ten. 

The only mild point of discussion is whether Stanford should have gotten in over California and Pittsburgh, but that discussion is a short one as Stanford's academic resume and overall athletic success make it a better fit. 

POD 1

USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, Oregon

POD 2

Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota

POD 3

Michigan, Michigan St., Indiana, Wisconsin, Notre Dame

POD 4

Maryland, Rutgers, Penn St., Ohio St., Purdue

BIG 12

Big_12_Conference_logo_PNG3

Automatic bids:

Baylor logo

BAYLOR

Iowa State Logo

IOWA ST.

Kansas logo

KANSAS

Kansas State Logo

KANSAS ST.

Oklahoma State Logo

OKLAHOMA STATE

TCU logo

TCU

Texas Tech logo

TEXAS TECH

West Virginia logo

WEST VIRGINIA

Invitees:

Arizona logo

ARIZONA

Arizona State logo

ARIZONA STATE

BYU logo

BYU

Central-Florida-Knights-Logo-PNG7

CENTRAL FLORIDA

Cincinnati logo

CINCINNATI

Colorado logo

COLORADO

Virginia_Cavaliers_logo_PNG3

VIRGINIA

Houston logo

HOUSTON

Louisville logo

LOUISVILLE

North Carolina State logo

NORTH CAROLINA STATE

Oregon State Logo

OREGON STATE

Utah logo

UTAH

By panicking once Oklahoma and Texas opted to leave for the SEC, the Big 12 caused some big names to be left out in the cold. That's fortunate for BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston as they will now have the clout needed to develop into powerful programs.

The final decision came down to Virginia, Georgia Tech and Miami. However, Central Florida provides the conference viewers in Florida and the Hurricanes haven't been a blue blood in football and baseball in a long time.

The Yellowjackets potentially opens up Georgia, but that will always be SEC country and the Georgia Bulldogs are top draw in the Peach state. That leaves Virginia to open up not only the state, but the Washington D.C. market, so the Cavaliers get a slight edge for the nod.

It was also tempting to take on the Cal Bears to gain access to the California market, but most of America doesn't know the University of California still plays sports.

Additionally, there was a decision to be made between Pitt and Louisville. Pitt brings a semi-major television market, but it's strictly a pro sports town that is actually half the size of Louisville.

Add in that Louisville is traditionally more consistent in football and basketball over time and also provides a nice travel partner for many teams, and the decision becomes easy.

These moves give the Big 12 the ability to tell the networks and streaming services that they reach every body of water that borders the U.S., including the Gulf of Mexico. Every time zone is represented, as are 14 states.

POD SET-UP

POD 1

Oregon State, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Arizona St. 

POD 2

TCU, Texas Tech, Houston, Baylor, Oklahoma St.

POD 3

BYU, Kansas St., Kansas, Iowa St., Cincinnati

POD 4

Virginia, Central Florida, West Virginia, North Carolina St., Louisville

Notables left out:

• California

• Miami

• Pittsburgh

• Georgia Tech

• Boston College

• Syracuse

• Boise State

• Virginia Tech

Divider

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