A roundtable edition of The Locker Room: The Conference Carousel

A roundtable edition of The Locker Room: The Conference Carousel

Over the last year or so, college athletics {mainly football} has seen a lot of changes. Those changes are a result of teams jumping from conference to conference. Sure there have been schools over the years who have moved around. But we've never seen movement as constant as we have seen lately.

And in order to bring perspective on what these changes have done to college football, I couldn't comment on this by myself. So I have reached out to 3 of Chicago's great sports minds to discuss this issue. Here are the gentleman joining me in this discussion....

Evan Moore, he writes the "Fanning The Flames Since 1978" blog here on Chicago Now: http://www.chicagonow.com/fanning-flames-since-1978/

Herb Lawrence, Producer Extrordinare for Sports Radio 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Ecnerwal670.

And Mark Grote, Host and Reporter for 670 The Score. You can friend him on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564876429

So let's bring you up to date on the conference happenings in college football...

It all started back in 2009 when the Big Ten was aggressively pursuing Notre Dame to join the conference and remove it's independent status. And Notre Dame officials had given the matter some very strong consideration. While Notre Dame was pondering to join the Big Ten, Bringham Young had announced it would change conferences after the 2010-2011 school year.

Also in 2009, Boise State said they would leave the Western Athletic Conference and join the Mountain West in 2010. Then in the spring of 2010, Notre Dame decided not to join the Big Ten after The University of Nebraska announced that the Cornhuskers would join the Big Ten as the 12th team of that conference.

After the Nebraska move was announced, BYU had announced their relocation plans. In July of 2010 BYU told the nation that starting with the 2011-2012 school year, their football team would become an independent, and all other Cougar Sports would join the West Coast Conference.

Also in July of 2010, Boise State's move from the WAC to the MWC was official. They have remained there since then. Once this happened, all hell broke loose. Between July of 2010 until as recently as earlier this week, a free for all took place between the Pac-10 { now Pac-12}, Big 12, Atlantic Coast, Big East, and Southeast Conferences.

Shortly after BYU's announcement, the Pac-10 {before the name change} had announced that they wanted to expand. They reached out to schools from the Mountain West, WAC, and the Big 12 {Now with just 10 teams}. Within days, Colorado from the Big 12, and Utah from the MWC accepted invites to join the Pac-10 in 2011 which would make it the Pac-12.

This was a much welcome move for Utah who had been trying to join the conference for at least 25 years. Then the Pac-12 tried to pull teams from the Big 12. Rumors surfaced that Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Baylor would also join the Pac-12. But those rumors were quickly dashed when Oklahoma State and Baylor said they were staying in the Big 12.

But when Tech and A&M had not said the same thing, rumors surfaced that they would join the SEC. But then in August 2010 as teams opened training camp, the Big 12 had announced that the conference would remain intact with 10 teams but would not change the name. On top of that, the Texas Longhorns along with ESPN had announced the creation of the Longhorn Network which would be co-owned by both the university and the ESPN.

This was considered a monopoly attempt by the University of Texas, and the other Texas schools {mainly A&M} were not happy. Just before the 2010 season started, Texas A&M and Texas Tech were rumored to be heading to the SEC. The SEC even said the rumors were true, but both Tech and A&M quickly renounced the rumors and said they were staying in the Big 12.

As the 2010-2011 school year went on, there were all sorts of rumors surrounding the Big 12 teams. The rumor of Texas Tech and Texas A&M going to the SEC just would not go away. And other reports said if they were to join the SEC, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Iowa State would leave the conference as well.

But none of those rumors would turn out to be true. When 2011 spring football came around, the Big 12 was still intact with the remaining 10 teams. Also during the spring, Notre Dame was offered to join the Big East but declined the offer. During the summer of 2011, Texas Christian accepted an offer to join the Big East in 2012.

Also, the anticipated Longhorn Network was finally launched but with controversy.  The Longhorn Network had asked Texas Tech if they could carry their upcoming game against Texas this year, and 2 non-conference games in 2012. Tech passed on the offer when they were told that no other network would be able to broadcast said games.

Kansas will have their October 29th game against Texas broadcast on the Longhorn Network. Kansas University is trying to work out a deal with the Longhorn Network to find a local station to broadcast the feed from the Longhorn Network. They also reached out to Oklahoma State but there was no response.

All other teams in the Big 12 were not offered air time on the Longhorn Network. This particularly offended Texas A&M. Once training camp started for college football teams this year, BYU's departure from the Mountain West was official. Once the season started, officials from Texas A&M had met with Big 12 management to discuss their situation with the conference.

The details of that meeting were not released. Afterwards they met with the SEC brass, again details were not released but rumors began swirling again. A week or so later, A&M announced that they were leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference and that would take place in 2012. This would leave the Big 12 with 9 teams.

A couple of weeks into September, Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced that they will join former conference foes Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2012. With the edition of TCU, this leaves the Big East with 7 teams for the 2012-2013 school year.

Then earlier this week, a couple 0f bombshells were dropped. First, Missouri announced their plans to depart the Big 12 next year. Although they did not say which conference they would go to, it would seem that they are done with the Big 12. The SEC is believed to be a possible destination for Missouri making them team #14 for that conference.

Then a couple of days later, somehow, someway, the Big 12 convinced TCU to back away from their Big East commitment to join the Big 12. And that's exactly what TCU did. The Big East reacted by saying that they will send invitations to Air Force, Army, Navy, and once again Notre Dame for next season.

When it came to pass that A&M and Mizzou would be leaving the Big 12, I was one of many who assumed the Big 12 would fold just like the old Southwest Conference did in 1995. But it would appear that TCU is the Big 12's saving grace. There are rumors that they may change the name of the conference next year, but that has not been confirmed.

But that doesn't mean the Big 12 will survive in the long run. And with all of the changes planned for next year, this could also effect the BCS. So, that is the conference carousel. There has not been any activity since TCU bailed out on the Big East. Hopefully nobody changed conferences while I'm writing this.

After everything that has happened over the last couple of years, I ask my expert panel the following questions...

What do you think of the surge in teams leaving conferences? Do you think it helps or hurts college football? How do you think this will effect the BCS? Do you think the Big 12 will survive in the long term?

Here's what we all had to say:

Evan Moore: College football won't be completely legit my eyes until there is a playoff. Having said all of that, the super conference is killing college football as we know it. It's all about money. The so called ameteurism of college football is a fallacy.

Herb Lawrence: It’s great for teams like Texas A&M taking control of themselves instead of being perpetually in the shadow of The University of Texas. Texas and ESPN are to blame for this move to super conferences because of the unfair advantage that the Longhorn Network gives UT over its Big 12 opponents.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh moving to the ACC doesn't make much sense for them because while they are somewhat decent in football, they are powerhouses in basketball. So why would you move to a weaker b-ball conference when you were in the upper echelon in the best hoops conference in the land?

These moves will eventually lead to a playoff system where you have to be in the big 4 conferences (Pac 12, Big Ten, ACC or SEC) to qualify, which is a good thing.

Mark Grote: Just tell me when the wheel of conference movement stops spinning and then I will pay attention and attempt to know who is where and why. I find the whole thing to be chaotic and boring.

Gabe Salgado: With all of this movement, the non BCS conferences {MAC, WAC, MWC, C-USA, Sun Belt} will push the BCS committee to allow them to be members of the BCS. Especially when C-USA has 12 teams, the MAC has 14 teams, and the Big 12 will be left with only 9 teams and the Big East with only 6 teams unless other teams join.

TCU joining the Big East just didn't seem right to me. I honestly expected them to join the Big 12 when rumors of Texas A&M's departure came about. But I think it was wrong for them to bail out on the Big East the way they did. But again, the smaller conferences will try to rise up and benefit from the madness.

Why 1-A college football has never had a playoff is beyond me. But this time around, there needs to be a playoff. With all of this conference movement, a playoff system is the only way to justify all of this nonsense. So I agree with Herb and Evan on the playoff issue. The Big 12 will survive in the short term, but with Texas, ESPN, and The Longhorn Network hanging over the Big 12's head, long term survival is not guaranteed.

And with all of these changes with conferences getting bigger, the independent teams may have to join a conference by force. If this trend continues, the BCS will be eliminated for a playoff system.

Thank you gentlemen for taking part in my roundtable.

You can follow me anytime on Twitter @GabeSalgado82

You can friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GabeSalgado82

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