OPINION: College realignment moving in difficult direction

By Daniel Rogers

When thinking about conferences in college sports, the Power Five conferences immediately come to mind. With the way the college realignment is heading, however, we may go from a Power Five to more of a “Power Three”. The Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, and Big 12 have recently added top tier schools to their conferences beginning in 2023 and into 2025. 

The first major realignment change was announced in the summer of 2021. News struck the internet that Oklahoma and Texas would both leave the Big 12 and join powerhouses Alabama and Georgia in the already stacked SEC starting in 2025 with the hopes of potentially joining sooner. 

After news broke of the SEC adding on, the Big 12 needed to make a move of its own to fill two replacement spots and have an equal amount as the SEC. Starting in 2023, the Big 12 will add Cincinnati, University of Central Florida, Houston, and Brigham Young University. Three of those four teams will come out of the American Athletic Conference, while BYU was an Independent school that was looking to join a conference. 

Most importantly, we can not forget about the Big Ten’s move over the summer of 2022. After a vote by the Big Ten’s presidents and chancellors, they will be adding University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles out of the Pacific-12. They will be joining in August of 2024, with the potential of more teams on the way. 

As for the Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference, staying rather quiet through this process, questions began to arise on how they will be able to keep up with these powerhouse conferences.

The ACC hasn’t lost or gained any teams through these changes and are still flying under the radar. For the ACC to keep up with these conferences, they would need to begin to make moves rather soon before the last top tier teams are no longer on the table. 

The Pac-12 has created more of a fear of  collapse rather than a realignment after losing two major teams, and more teams could eventually leave for the Big Ten and Big 12. The conference would not only face a shortage of teams, but they would also lose significant amounts of money with these changes. According to Stewart Mandel of The Athletic, the PAC-12 will lose $150 million in media revenue and $9.8 million in media rights.

The college realignment seems to be at a stand-still right now, but it doesn’t seem like these new so-called “Power Three” conferences are done yet.  

The news of a college football playoff expansion to 12 teams has sparked some questions on what could happen next with the realignment.

The Big Ten has reportedly shown interest in a group of schools including Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington, and more. As for the Big 12, they have recently held press conferences expressing their interests in expanding west, which could create some controversy between them and the Big Ten. While those two conferences may be fighting over teams, the SEC could have their eyes on some ACC teams if expansions continue even further.  

I believe that the college realignment is not going in the right direction. I feel this way because it is not a good idea to have teams join conferences that are not geographically close to each other, which could cause players to underperform in big moments when they are most needed. In addition, the realignment could kill some of the most traditional rivalries and some of the most historical games like the Rose Bowl if it keeps up.