First headline on ESPN.com
If this does indeed happen, here's how I see the Super-Conferences breaking out:
|University of Arizona||University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign||Vanderbilt University||Boston College|
|Arizona State University||Indiana University||University of Florida||Clemson University|
|University of California, Berkeley||University of Iowa||University of Alabama||Duke University|
|University of Colorado at Boulder||University of Michigan||University of Kentucky||Florida State University|
|University of Oregon||Michigan State University||University of Tennessee||Georgia Institute of Technology|
|Oregon State University||University of Minnesota, Twin Cities||University of Arkansas||University of Maryland, College Park|
|Stanford University||University of Nebraska–Lincoln||Louisiana State University||University of Miami|
|University of California, Los Angeles||Northwestern University||University of Georgia||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|University of Southern California||Ohio State University||University of Mississippi||North Carolina State University|
|University of Utah||Pennsylvania State University||University of South Carolina||University of Virginia|
|University of Washington||Purdue University||Auburn University||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University|
|Washington State University||University of Wisconsin–Madison||Mississippi State University||Wake Forest University|
|University of Texas||University of Notre Dame||Texas A&M University||University of Pittsburgh|
|Texas Tech University||Rutgers University||University of Missouri||University of Louisville|
|University of Oklahoma||Syracuse University||West Virginia University||University of South Florida|
|Oklahoma State University||University of Connecticut||University of Kansas||University of Central Florida|
The last expansion spot in the ACC may be given to TCU, but I'll explain why I selected UCF instead after I give a breakdown of the expansion caveats.
First of all, the SEC can't have 3 quality expansion teams within 15 minutes like Mike Slive suggests. The options for them are extremely limited. The supposed Gentlemen's agreement the SEC ADs have with each other assumes that no expansion teams will come from a state in which the conference already has a presence in. This eliminates Florida State as a possibility. Even if Florida did allow Florida State to be considered, FSU is a primary stakeholder in the ACC, and thus, I don't see them leaving. NC State is also not an option, as they are politically attached to UNC, which thus also eliminates Duke due to the financial benefits of the rivalry between both schools (Similar to TX-OU, but on a basketball scale). Assuming that they weren't any restrictions on conference expansion candidates for the SEC, these schools would have been Mike's preferred course of action. Thus, I see them ending up with the best expansion candidates in the second tier, and that is Mizzou, Kansas, and WVU. Although, KU & KSU are also tied politically, the legislature knows that it is best to have at least one school in the state be part of a Super-Conference rather than none due to the financial stakes involved, but then again, politicians aren't generally the brightest people on the planet.
The Pac16's expansion candidates are pretty simple as the conference only has one financial option that makes sense for them: Texas & OU. BYU is a no-go due to its religious affiliation. Sure they could try and add KU & Mizzou, but once again the purpose of expansion is mostly financial and adding OU without Texas will not bring in the majority of the so-called "Texas Media Market" for the conference. An argument can be made using the Fiesta Bowl ratings from last year (down 22%). Once again, OSU & Tech are politically attached to OU & Texas, and are extremely glad to coattail into the new Super-Conference era.
Notre Dame's days as an Independent will be over and the Big 10 will finally get its wish. The first conference to not follow the logic behind having numerals attached to its name will then look to add the upper East coast media market. Once Nebraska was added to the conference, the criteria of academic value that expansion schools seem to bring to the conference holds less weight than before. Although Rutgers is an exception to this, Syracuse (soon to lose its AAU status) and UConn are good but not great academic institutions. UConn will bring in a state that has a population of around 3.5 million people while Syracuse would hopefully bring in New York football viewers; if they are ever relevant again (they are praying for another McNabb; they will still bring in TV viewers for basketball). Pittsburgh would be another candidate, buy they add no financial value to the conference as Penn State already brings in the Pennsylvania market.
Finally, the ACC will look to add Pittsburgh (12.7M people in state) and Louisville (4.3M people in state) as this brings in an additional 17M population foothold to the conference to be used for TV network bargaining purposes. The University of Cincinnati would be a candidate as they would add Ohio population to the conference football, but unlike Pittsburgh and Lousiville, UC's athletic facilities are extremely sub-par, their stadium is a dump, and the only team that brings in the couch-burning viewers in Ohio is OSU. The same can be said for TCU; despite it's recent success in football, TCU is a small private school that does not bring in the viewers in Texas. Last year's Rose Bowl ratings were down 15 percent; a large majority of the drop which common sense dictates can be attached to TCUs presence in the game. Although TCU has recently taken to upgrading their facilities, their pecking order in the number of fans and alumni in state won't be changing anytime soon and TV execs know this. Hence, this is why USF and UCF will be added as expansion candidates. Both schools are large public schools that pump out a lot of alumni, have academics that are on the rise, have brand new (UCF) facilities or plan to do so in the very near future (USF).
The teams that are screwed are BYU, Cincinnati, TCU, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State. Houston & SMU weren't expansion candidates to begin with as they belonged to conferences outside of the BCS AQs.
Your thoughts on who goes where and who gets left behind?