@Clintau24 has a great thread on Quarantine Ball, which goes full-on hazmat suit. This concept is in a similar vein, but explores the financial and economic status of college football. As we know, the shutdowns are having an affect on college athletics from canceled spring games to other, non-revenue sports being outright eliminated. I don't think that it's too much of a stretch to imagine that some random SunBelt or Mountain West teams could easily drop to FCS, D2 or just fold football altogether in the near future.
With that said, here's my take on the future of NCAA football.
First, the survivors. It's been said that the battle of the Power 5 is really like a Power 3 and a Titan 2. The Big Ten and SEC are locked into a game of one-upping each other on leapfrogging television deals. While the ACC, PAC and XII are far from destitute, the gap is clearly widening. With that said, when your TV deal can guarantee that even teams like Indiana or Vandy can cash $50+ million checks annually, you're pretty much guaranteeing their survival. Maryland and Rutgers made the right move. In light of that, all 28 teams in the SEC and Big Ten survive.
With a desire to move beyond just an East/South/Midwest geography, the NCAA mobilizes to consolidate all former Power 5 conferences into a single entity, split into two divisions. Initial debate wages between a distributed geography model like the NFL and a purely geographic split like the NBA. Ultimately, given the travel considerations for college athletes the NCAA adopts an East/West alignment and looks to fill in remaining slots to establish 60 total teams.
Ultimately, many teams in the ACC, PAC and XII survive as schools wrangle with the new centralized oversight. Three major criteria emerge in order to determine who makes the cut: (1) emphasis on existing financial stability, (2) competitive on-field product and (3) academic excellence and/or sponsorship of research consortiums, federal grants, etc. With those ideals in mind, the NCAA adds the following teams:
From the ACC (10): Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Miami, UNC, NC State, Pitt, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Left out: Boston College, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Duke.
From the PAC (10): Washington, WSU, Oregon, Cal, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah. Left Out: Stanford, Oregon State
From the XII (9): Iowa State, Kansas, K-State, Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia. Left Out: Oklahoma State
This move brings the total of teams to 57. One of the final three spots is almost a given for Notre Dame, with BYU also accepting an invite. The final piece is hotly debated as teams vie for the final spot. In a bit of politicking, Texas pushes for another Lonestar State team to be added, essentially looking to recreate a Southwest Conference style alignment that allows them to be the dominant power regionally. With A&M gone to the SEC, the Longhorns are seeking to shore up their status as THE Texas school in whatever "Future-Big XII" exists. In the end, Houston jumps up from the American Athletic Conference, much to the dismay of several P5 teams who did not make the cut.
With teams selected, the NCAA goes about creating conference alignments. The 30 teams of the Western and Eastern Conferences are split into 3 divisions of 10 teams each. With the demand for college football high, yet only 60 teams in the NCAA FBS Division, recruiting and scholarship limits are relaxed, allowing teams to recruit much deeper rosters and ultimately play a longer season as injury becomes less devastating over the course of a year. Teams play a true round-robin schedule of 9 other divisional foes, plus 5 non-conference games for a total of 14 regular season games.
Pacific Division: Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, California, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State
North Division: Colorado, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin
South Division: Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, LSU, Ole Miss, Miss. State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech
Atlantic Division: Clemson, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
North Division: Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
South Division: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Miami, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
The Pac-12 remains mostly intact, with the only change resulting in BYU taking Colorado's spot. To ensure a true East-West split, both the Big Ten and SEC are essentially cut in half, and the new Western North Division becoming a proto-Big 8 division with the Triangle of Hate (Iowa, Minn, Wisc) joining the fray. Finally, Texas, for all their push to grab Houston and dominate a weaker division gets their comeuppance as the NCAA creates a proto-SWC division but stacks in both LSU and A&M, along with Arkansas, Ole Miss and MSU from the former SEC.
In the Eastern Conference, we see a geographical realignment of SEC/ACC teams with a Big Ten-esque North Division that picks up Notre Dame and Louisville. The South Division plays like an SEC East with the additions of FSU, GT and Miami, giving it a distinctly southern vibe. Meanwhile, the Eastern Atlantic Division creates a Virginia-Carolinas arrangement and gets plenty of annual action across NC, SC and Clemson. All of the Maryland-Virginia-VT-WVU-Pitt rivalries are also re-established.
Post-season play is staged in rounds, with each of the six divisions now hosting a first round bowl game as a de facto conference championship. The top two teams in each division play for the championship, ensuring a rematch since each division is a true round robin. Six new Conference Championship Bowls are introduced with some names recycled from the past.
Pacific Division - Copper Bowl, Las Vegas
Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, California, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State
North Division - Barbecue Bowl, Kansas City
Colorado, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin
South Division - Pecan Bowl, Dallas
Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, LSU, Ole Miss, Miss. State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech
Atlantic Division - Tobacco Bowl, Washington DC
Clemson, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
North Division - Steel Bowl, Chicago
Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
South Division - Dixie Bowl, Atlanta
Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Miami, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
After the Conference Championship Round, the six winning teams advance to the quarterfinals, along with 1 wildcard team from each conference. Presumably, this will be one of the conference championship losers, so style points matter. Losing a nail biter in overtime doesn't mean the season ends. All eight teams are re-ranked following the round and seeded in a typical 1-8 tournament bracket. Rematches are not allowed in this round, so the selection committee may flip a 7-seed for a 6-seed to preserve this integrity. Also, because this seeding does not necessarily follow Conference/Divisional alignments, it's entirely possible that an eventual championship game could be played between two teams from the same region. It's not guaranteeing an East-vs-West championship like the NBA, but does prioritize post-season participants from a variety of regions.
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In the example at the bottom, you can see Conference Championships (first round) games between Oregon-Utah, Oklahoma-Wisconsin, LSU-Baylor, Ohio State-Penn State, Florida-Georgia and Clemson-Virginia Tech. Oregon, Oklahoma, LSU, Penn State, Florida and Clemson advance by winning, but highly ranked Georgia and Wisconsin, who took Oklahoma to overtime grab the wildcard slots.
After a re-ranking, the quarterfinal rounds see the following games. As with the current CFP System, the Four Quarterfinal Bowls as well as the Two Semifinal Bowls are made up of the New Year's Six (Fiesta, Rose, Orange, Peach, Sugar, Cotton), and rotate annually.
#1 LSU vs #8 Wisconsin
#2 Clemson vs #7 Georgia
#3 Oklahoma vs #6 Penn State
#4 Oregon vs #5 Florida