College athletics are changing at a rapid pace. Texas and OU to the SEC, USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, and even the Big 12 adding UCF, Cincinnati, BYU, and Houston is changing the landscape. One this is for certain; this is not done yet. The SEC and Big Ten are in an arms race- you can even bet on it (in states where it’s legal of course). The ACC, Big 12, and PAC 12 are going to fight for relevance. It’s important to know the one thing that matters; FOOTBALL. Duke fans can thing their basketball program brings value to a conference, but it just doesn’t.
There are two categories of teams; local and national. Schools like Notre Dame and Clemson don’t bring a large local or regional market, but they move the needle nationally. Schools like Virginia and Washington might not do much nationally, but can bring in large local markets. The national teams create their value based on the national deals done with ESPN, FOX and CBS (for now at least). The smaller schools can sell their value as more homes for the conferences TV markets. Think Missouri in the SEC. They don’t move the needle nationally, but they bring the SEC Network into millions of homes in Kansas City and St. Louis.
The realignment news might be done for this offseason with news that the SEC won’t respond to the BIG Ten’s moves, but money talks, and college athletics is a money business. Here are the ten schools to keep an eye on as conference realignment ultimately heads towards the Super Conference model.