What Would 'Radical Realignment' Look Like in College Sports for Indiana?

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Rampant realignment in college sports a decade ago sort of turned the world upside down. The Big 10 now had 14 teams but wasn't about to change its name, and the Big 12 had 10 and also refused to rebrand.

In a money-grubbing power grab that wasn't the least bit overt, the Big Ten now stretched from Nebraska to New Jersey, and other Power 5 conferences like the SEC, ACC and Pac-12 did the same.

But now that COVID-19 could potentially destroy college sports as we know it, Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde thinks it's time to blow the whole thing up and start over, for a lot of reasons. Here's the link to the entire story: CLICK HERE 

The goal was to take 120 college football teams and put them equally into 10 conferences of 12 teams each. Every league would have similar strengths from top to bottom, and long-standing conference pairings would be thrown out the window for balance in each league from coast to coast.

There would be no "power'' conferences, and all 10 were meant to be equal. The rankings of each team when all added up are intentionally very similar. The changes Forde suggest would also eliminate many of the things that are wrong with college football now — most notably strength of schedule imbalance and a playoff system for only a select few teams. That would all change with this plan.

Indiana would be in a new league called the Great Mideast. There are a few familiar faces, but several new ones as well. The Forde Bowl System also ranked teams from No. 1 to No. 120 for competitive balance, and those  rankings are based on a school’s five-year average Sagarin football ranking; its 2020 U.S. News & World Report National University ranking; and its 2018–19 Learfield Cup all-sports ranking):

The new league would include these 12 teams, with their FBS profile ranking in parentheses:

  • Michigan (1)
  • Ohio State (5)
  • Michigan State (36)
  • Indiana (42)
  • Purdue (52)
  • Cincinnati (75)
  • Miami-Ohio (89)
  • Ohio (94)
  • Toledo (103)
  • Akron (108)
  • Kent State (110)
  • Ball State (118)

Here's the graphic of all 10 conferences:

Screenshot 2020-06-30 11.20.40
Pat Forde's "Radical Realignment'' has 12 teams in 10 new conferences.

At first glance, many people would deride losing all those current conference matchups, and many would say there would be too many blowouts in the league. But by playing all 11 teams in conference games and one annual crossover opponent — in Indiana's case that would be Kentucky, which is good — all those ugly nonconference showdowns we have now would go away. 

Forde covers dozens of pros and cons in his story, so check it all out and feel free to weigh in with your opinions at the bottom of the story. It works for basketball and all other sports too, especially  the non-revenue sports where schools would save hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel.

Where are the other Big Ten teams? Here's a quick look:

  • Great Midwest: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin
  • Mid-America: Illinois, Northwestern
  • Yankee: Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers.
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