Conferences Trading Schools: Very Hypothetical
A few weeks ago, we had some discussion regarding relegation and how the NCAA might look with relegation. And yesterday we discussed the purely hypothetical–even absurdly hypothetical (but not openly hypothetical enough for a few folks to avoid getting their wookies bent)–circumstance of which school is each conference’s weakest link. So let’s wrap things up with one final circumstance… suppose each of the ACC, Big 10, SEC, and Big XII could swap out one school for another school–which swap of non-elite schools (i.e. nobody is trading Penn State) would be most beneficial for each conference?
Let’s first consider a four team swap that would benefit all of the conferences. How about this… Purdue to the Big XII, North Carolina State to the SEC, West Virginia to the ACC, and Vanderbilt to the Big 10. While this is not the market share home run for the Big 10, Vanderbilt is an elite academic institution–more than worthy of joining the Big 10. And it does add Tennessee–which is a potential future bridge to the Southeast markets. Purdue is a good bit closer to the Big XII, albeit perhaps without the football cache of West Virginia. The basketball pedigrees are similar. The SEC would get its inroads into North Carolina, without costing the ACC any viewership and only history. Meanwhile, West Virginia is a subpar academic institution, but certainly fits geographically within the ACC and adds some needed football oomph.
More interesting would be if each conference could protect all but two schools and then any other conference could pick at the leftovers—kind of like an expansion draft. These are the presumed schools that would be left open for the taking:
Big 10: Purdue, Rutgers
ACC: Wake Forest, Syracuse
SEC: Mississippi State, Missouri
Big XII: Iowa State, West Virginia
In this scenario, it depends on who goes first. The Big 10 would probably pass, as it could have had Missouri or Syracuse at any time it wanted them. The SEC similarly could have taken West Virginia over Missouri. The Big XII had little need for any other school. So that leaves the ACC to decide what to do, if anything. Under the circumstances, swapping Wake Forest for West Virginia might be unpopular, but demanded by the football-heavy schools (i.e. Florida State). So let’s make that assumption–the ACC takes West Virginia for Wake Forest.
This means that the Big XII now has to take one school to replace West Virginia. In that circumstance, the most logical option would be Missouri, as it would add back a logical candidate. But Missouri has already left once, so perhaps Purdue would make more sense as a less-reluctant member.
Now, with the Big 10 facing a hole, this gives Missouri its opening to join the Big 10. Not a terrible fit and perhaps even an upgrade for the Big 10 in every aspect other than history.
The SEC now faces a hole that can only be filled by Iowa State and Wake Forest. The SEC could take Wake Forest. Under this scenario, the SEC would get a North Carolina school with good academics and hoops potential. Still, the SEC would have to be the clear loser in all of this.
So, perhaps recognizing this potential, the SEC would not pass on making the first choice–and instead swap West Virginia for Missouri. This would be better than losing Missouri for Wake Forest. Then, with the Big XII facing a hole, it could take Missouri. The ACC might then pass, as swapping Rutgers for Wake Forest would not add anything to football (or basketball) and not placate the football-centric schools. The Big 10 would not have much interest in doing anything.
What do you think? Can you think of any conference swaps that make sense?