Restructuring Conferences and Expanding the College Football Playoff

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There are currently 11 Division-1A conferences that hold 128 college football teams—some cater to local markets, some are interlocked with some of the biggest schools in the country, and some make absolutely no sense at all.

But what if the NCAA decided to re-arrange each conference by school proximity? Things would look quite different, and the win/loss record of each top performer from today’s era could be dramatically affected.

Let’s do something fun; I’ve created a new world and changed the college football landscape as we know it. In this world, all 12 Texas schools unite, Ohio State annually contests with Kentucky, there’s a new SEC (it still might be the best conference), and Notre Dame finally has a real home.

Sorry, Oregon, you’re still stuck with Stanford.

In this dimension, the College Football Playoff accepts 10 teams—all conference championship winners. Crazy concept, right?

I’ve went ahead and projected the division winner for each conference, but I’ll even take it a step further by giving you a quick playoff projection based off how each team has been performing in real life.

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Below are the new-look conferences. What do you think? Who would win this hypothetical playoff?

Wild West North Division

1. Oklahoma Sooners
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys
3. North Texas Mean Green
4. SMU Mustangs
5. TCU Horned Frogs
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders
7. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

PROJECTED WINNER: TCU

Wild West South Division

1. Baylor Bears
2. Houston Cougars
3. Rice Owls
4. Texas Longhorns
5. Texas A&M Aggies
6. Texas State Bobcats
7. UTEP Miners
8. UTSA Roadrunners

PROJECTED WINNER: Baylor

Great Lakes North Division

1. Bowling Green Falcons
2. Central Michigan Chippewas
3. Eastern Michigan Eagles
4. Kent State Golden Flashes
5. Michigan Wolverines
6. Michigan State Spartans
7. Toledo Rockets
8. Western Michigan Broncos

PROJECTED WINNER: Michigan State

Great Lakes South Division

1. Akron Zips
2. Cincinnati Bearcats
3. Kentucky Wildcats
4. Louisville Cardinals
5. Miami (Oh.) RedHawks
6. Ohio Bobcats
7. Ohio State Buckeyes
8. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

PROJECTED WINNER: Ohio State

Eastern Shore North Division

1. Marshall Thundering Herd
2. Pittsburgh Panthers
3. Penn State Nittany Lions
4. Temple Owls
5. Virginia Cavaliers
6. Virginia Tech Hokies
7. West Virginia Mountaineers

PROJECTED WINNER: West Virginia

Eastern Shore South Division

1. Appalachian State Mountaineers
2. Duke Blue Devils
3. East Carolina Pirates
4. North Carolina Tar Heels
5. North Carolina State Wolfpack
6. Old Dominion Monarchs
7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

PROJECTED WINNER: East Carolina

Metropolitan Athletic Conference

1. Army Black Knights
2. Boston College Eagles
3. Buffalo Bulls
4. Connecticut Huskies
5. Maryland Terrapins
6. Massachusetts Minutemen
7. Navy Midshipmen
8. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
9. Syracuse Orange

PROJECTED WINNER: Maryland

Northern Coast Conference

1. Boise State Broncos
2. California Golden Bears
3. Fresno State Bulldogs
4. Idaho Vandals
5. Oregon Ducks
6. Oregon State Beavers
7. Stanford Cardinal
8. San Jose State Spartans
9. Washington Huskies
10. Washington State Cougars

PROJECTED WINNER: Oregon

New SEC West Division

1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Central Florida Knights
3. Florida Gators
4. Florida Atlantic Owls
5. Florida International Golden Panthers
6. Florida State Seminoles
7. Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes
8. South Alabama Jaguars
9. South Florida Bulls

PROJECTED WINNER: Alabama

New SEC East Division

1. UAB Blazers
2. Auburn Tigers
3. Clemson Tigers
4. Georgia Bulldogs
5. Georgia Southern Eagles
6. Georgia State Panthers
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
8. Troy Trojans
9. South Carolina Gamecocks

PROJECTED WINNER: Auburn

Mid-South A Division

1. Arkansas Razorbacks
2. Arkansas State Red Wolves
3. Memphis Tigers
4. MTSU Blue Raiders
5. Ole Miss Rebels
6. Tennessee Volunteers
7. Vanderbilt Commodores

PROJECTED WINNER: Ole Miss

Mid-South B Division

1. ULL Ragin’ Cajuns
2. ULM Warhawks
3. LSU Tigers
4. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
5. Mississippi State Bulldogs
6. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
7. Tulane Green Wave

PROJECTED WINNER: Mississippi State

Big 12 West Division

1. Iowa Hawkeyes
2. Iowa State Cyclones
3. Minnesota Golden Gophers
4. Missouri Tigers
5. Northern Illinois Huskies
6. Wisconsin Badgers

PROJECTED WINNER: Wisconsin

Big 12 East Division

1. Ball State Cardinals
2. Illinois Fighting Illini
3. Indiana Hoosiers
4. Northwestern Wildcats
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
6. Purdue Boilermakers

PROJECTED WINNER: Notre Dame

Central Valley Conference

1. Air Force Falcons
2. Colorado Buffaloes
3. Colorado State Rams
4. Kansas Jayhawks
5. Kansas State Wildcats
6. Nebraska Cornhuskers
7. New Mexico Lobos
8. New Mexico State Aggies
9. North Dakota State Bison*
10. Wyoming Cowboys

PROJECTED WINNER: Kansas State

Pac-11 East Division

1. Arizona Wildcats
2. Arizona State Sun Devils
3. BYU Cougars
4. Utah Utes
5. Utah State Aggies

PROJECTED WINNER: USC

Pac-11 West Division

1. Hawaii Warriors
2. UCLA Bruins
3. Nevada Wolf Pack
4. San Diego State Aztecs
5. UNLV Rebels
6. USC Trojans

PROJECTED WINNER: USC