Thoughts on Pat Forde's Conference Realignment
Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde released a plan for conference realignment that would shake up college football forever.
Forde argues that conferences have become a mess in terms of travel times. The Big Ten, for example, has a school in Nebraska and a school in New Jersey. He argues it's time to align the conferences into something that makes more sense and will ultimately save schools money.
The conferences were designed for the best regional fit. There are 10 conferences and 120 total schools.
What Forde has tried to eliminate in this scenario is the power imbalance in college football. Group of five schools barely have a chance of making the College Football Playoff in the current alignment. Obviously there will be regional bias but this would allow for a more equal playing field.
Forde's idea to go along with the alignment is to have every conference winner (regular season, no championships) automatically qualify for the playoff and then two at-large bids to create a 12-team playoff with four first-round byes.
Just like much of the college football world, BuffsCountry has some thoughts on the matter.
Rocky Mountain Conference Perspective
I love this conference. Now, I think there's an important disclaimer this conference would clearly never get the respect it deserves. But it's one of the deeper conferences of the 10.
You have historically good programs including Boise State, BYU, Colorado and Utah. And you have historically underrated programs such as Utah State and Colorado State. And then a couple of power five programs that can add depth in Arizona and Arizona State.
But nobody would ever watch the games because there isn't a 'blueblood' name in the conference.
I think it's a great idea to have CU play in the same conference as BYU and Boise State, those are programs that probably aren't the right fit for the Pac-12 but deserve to be looked at as a power five program.
This is a conference with great rivalries and underrated programs across the board.
The first question that should be asked should be is it worse than the Pac-12? And the answer to that would be no. It's deeper than the Pac-12 in this realignment.
I think they will miss some of the prestige of Oregon and USC that draws eyeballs to the conference but these schools can be just as good.
Being in a conference with Boise State and BYU, however, would be awesome.
Recruiting territory will be interesting. Recruiting California and Texas would be much more difficult in this scenario. If you elevate the schedules of G5 teams in those states, that brings more competition to CU.
So is there enough talent in Arizona, Utah and Colorado when you can only pull around five recruits out of California and Texas per cycle? It is certainly trending in that direction.
This conference provides better rivalries: CSU remains on the schedule and a possibility to develop rivalries with the likes of Air Force, Wyoming, Utah and BYU.
Speaking of rivalries, like it or not, adding Nebraska would make a difference. It adds another rivalry and would add some prestige to the conference.
There's a lot of things to like about this conference, especially if they could land a big TV deal.
For an outsider's look at this conference, we asked a good friend of the site, Trevor Rich, for his thoughts on this conference. Rich is a lifelong BYU fan and I think BYU is what makes this conference very interesting:
This conference reminds me of the original WAC Conference which was formed in 1962 consisted of Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
This proposed new conference would renew and provide some flare to old rivalries as BYU/Utah, CU/CSU, BYU/Utah State, would all be in the same conference providing an added spark to their once a year showdowns.
Geographically this would provide wonders to the programs in the newly formed conference. Air Force, CU, CSU and Wyoming are all within a three-hour drive from one another. BYU, Utah and Utah State are within two hours of each other. Arizona and Arizona State are only an hour and a half separated on the I-10. Boise State, New Mexico and UNLV are only within a few hours of another conference foe.
The biggest nugget in all of this is the opportunity each of these schools would have to make the College Football Playoff. The winner of the conference would receive an automatic bid into the dance. Current non-power five schools: Air Force, Boise State, BYU, CSU, New Mexico, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming would finally be able to sniff the playoff. Something they have never done before. The likes of Arizona, Arizona State, CU and Utah would have a clearer path to the playoff as they would no longer have to square off with usual powerhouse programs like Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington.
This new proposed conference would be a dream come true to college football fans in the Rocky Mountains and would provide some juice to the sport which it so desperately needs.