Sports Illustrated's 'America, Realigned': A Different Look

Brett Friedlander

Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated senior writer Pat Forde unveiled a hypothetical plan to change the college sports landscape by realigning the country into 10 geographically and financially sensible conferences consisting of 12 teams each.

He called it the "Forde Bowl Subdivision."

Forde's plan has NC State in a conference along with current in-state ACC rivals North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest. The rest of the fictitious Mid-Atlantic Conference includes fellow ACC foes Clemson, Virginia and Virginia Tech, South Carolina of the SEC and Group of 5 programs East Carolina, Appalachian State, Charlotte and Old Dominion.

Here are all the other conference breakdowns:

It's an intriguing concept that has already stimulated plenty of conversation, which is something we could all use right now with no actual games to talk about. But it's also a fantasy, since it's too radical -- no matter how logical -- to ever be put into practice.

There's just no way given the contracts that are already in place and the money involved, that the power brokers of college sports will allow the deck to be shuffled so drastically -- especially when it comes to the added credibility Group of Five programs would be given under Forde's plan.

So instead of completely blowing things up and starting from scratch, here is an alternate plan for the ACC that would at least have a reasonable chance of being implemented. Even though, like the "Forde Bowl Subdivision," there's no way it would ever be seriously considered.

It starts with the framework of the current ACC, keeping the Wolfpack, Tar Heels, Blue Devils and Deacons together, along with fellow league members Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia Tech. Notre Dame stays, as well, since commissioner John Swofford worked too hard to gain the prestige and marketability the Irish bring to the table to give it up so easily.

In the interest of keeping the ACC's new footprint from becoming as spread out as it is now and significantly cutting down on travel costs, Florida State and Miami would be shipped off to the SEC in exchange for South Carolina and Tennessee.

At the other end of the conference, the two Northernmost members would also be set free since the only real benefit to keeping Syracuse and Boston College around -- the New York and Boston television markets -- isn't really a benefit at all.

Their replacements would be West Virginia and Maryland. (Yes, I know Maryland might not be interested. But since we're only dreaming, why not dream big? And now that Wallace Loh is gone, who knows? It could happen).

To round out the roster, Pittsburgh can stay as a geographic partner to West Virginia while Louisville could do the same for Tennessee. Either that or Cincinnati could be added to serve as an anchor for Notre Dame.

Will it happen? Of course not.

But what else do we have to talk about until the games come back?

Do you have a better idea for a fantasy ACC realignment? We'd love to hear it and discuss it. So hit the "follow" tab in the upper righthand corner of this page, enter it into the comment section and let your voice be heard!

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