SI.com Daily Cover: Reimagining the NCAA Landscape

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a theorized new FBS, there would be a new conference and slate of opponents for the University of Wisconsin.

In Monday’s SI.com Daily Cover, Pat Forde created the Forde Bowl Subdivision. The premise:

The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects have been profoundly felt in a realm where, for 10 years, money was no object and the map made no sense. Slapped in the face by a new fiscal reality, maybe we’re due to both rein in and reach out to contract geographically into more regional conferences, while expanding the scope of the revenue gusher that is the College Football Playoff.

Forde created 10 conferences of 12 schools apiece for a total of 120 teams. The conferences are focused on geography, which would reduce travel costs – a big deal for all teams but especially those in nonrevenue sports. In football, each team would play the other 11 conference schools plus play one nonconference game for a 12-game schedule. There would be no conference championship games but an expanded 12-team playoff featuring the 10 conference champs and two at-large teams.

Wisconsin would play in the Great Midwest Conference along with Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State, North Dakota State, Kansas, Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

Will it happen? Of course not. Forde said as much:

The biggest sticking point of the conference breakup is this: The Power 5 schools would have to share with the non-P5 schools, and that goes against every money-grubbing, power-consolidating principle they have come to espouse. When you have every advantage, giving some of them up is counterintuitive. The schools with clout would use that clout to stop it from happening. Staggering revenue shares based on competitive success is one option that could make the deal more palatable to the establishment schools.

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