Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Here are some ideas for realignment
A CBS cameraman is shown during a game between Arkansas and Missouri on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Fayetteville.
No one knows what will happen next in the crazy world of college athletic conferences, although it seems obvious realignment is mostly about football and the money it produces from TV.
There will be more changes, and so today here are a few suggestions for each conference as most now have an identity problem. What do you call the leagues such as the Big 12 and Big Ten who have more teams than that?
It is old news the Big 12 lost Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC — the first major domino to fall — and added BYU, Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati. Then in a big splash Colorado became the prodigal son and returned home leaving the Pac-12 vulnerable.
When Oregon and Washington long jumped to the Big Ten, Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, who has only been on the job a year, made one of the biggest plays when he landed Utah, Arizona and Arizona State. By the way, he had to take both Arizona schools, they are run by the same Board of Regents.
This brings the Big 12 to 16 teams and they need to consider at least a temporary name change before the Supreme Court mandates it.
First, they can’t use Sweet 16 because that’s where Arkansas has been the last three years in the NCAA Tournament. The suggestion here is The Big Southwest Conference, which might help Texas Tech understand everything.
The Pac-12 won’t be the Pac-4. It may not be the ACC, which voted not to take add more brains to the league with Stanford and Cal, but someone is taking them, Oregon State and Washington State. The natural name here would be Mountain West when that league figures out those schools would bring added revenue and name recognition to a mid-level conference.
A real concern here is what happens to the Grand Daddy of them all, the Rose Bowl. No doubt it will survive and thrive, but its landscape has changed drastically too. It can’t possibly want a rematch of a conference game almost every year. No name change suggestion for the bowl that has been around for 101 years.
The Big Ten is the hard one because it has been the aggressor in expansion, adding eight teams regardless of footprints and travel time for athletes. It might consider adding Stanford and Cal just to make scheduling easier, but that would bring it to 20 teams.
Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti might want to throw out The Attila Hun 18, because it could hurt recruiting. The Sooner League doesn’t have Oklahoma so that is out. Raiders of the Last Arc might work except for name infringement. The Big 18 doesn’t have the ring to it that The Biggest 18 might.
The ACC, which seems to be on shakier ground every day, might want to consider The Who Knows conference.
Last but never least is the beast known as the Southeastern Conference, where they claim it just means more.
More than likely it is not through growing, but only Commissioner Greg Sankey appears to know who he is or will negotiate with.
The SEC has always been a two-time zone conference and that will probably never change because of travel. Texas and Oklahoma fit nicely into the footprint the SEC presidents and chancellors prefer. A natural fit for adding would be former SEC member Georgia Tech, which has a huge TV market and is in Atlanta which hosts the SEC Football Championship.
Florida State of the ACC has been grumbling about money and it has a huge fan base, as does Clemson. Virginia offers fans and TVs. Of course everyone wants Notre Dame.
Not predicting anything but this, The SEC will be known as The SEC no matter who is added to the party.
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