Skip to main content

Where things stand in conference realignment

The Big 12 went back to 12, and now the American may soon be more American.

Since Texas and Oklahoma announced their intention to leave the Big 12 for the SEC in July, the following has happened:

-- The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 formed The Alliance, which may or may not amount to anything.
-- Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby accused ESPN of conspiring to sabotage the Big 12.
-- BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF accepted invitations to the Big 12. 

And, really, we're just getting going.

Multiple reports Thursday indicate Boise State and San Diego State have informed the Mountain West they have declined overtures from the American and will stay put. 

The thinking within the college sports industry is Boise and SDSU's move is less about their undying loyalty to the Mountain West and more that the Big 12 may not be done expanding and their numbers are the next to be called.

Still, even missing on the Broncos and Aztecs won't stop the American from covering more of America. Multiple outlets have said Air Force and Colorado State are the AAC's next options.

Air Force's interest should come as no surprise. As a service academy, the Falcons recruit nationally and have fans from sea to shining sea. A move from the MW to the AAC would also open up Air Force's schedule, since Navy would move from a non-conference game to a conference game.

In the event Colorado State does follow Air Force out the door, the Rocky Mountain region would become Ground Zero of the modern realignment era. BYU, Utah, Colorado State, Wyoming and New Mexico were in the same conference(s) from 1968 through 2011 -- first the WAC, then splitting away to form the nucleus of the Mountain West. Soon, those five neighbors could be in four different leagues: Utah in the Pac-12, BYU in the Big 12, CSU in the American and Wyoming and UNM in the MW. 

Losing Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will bring the American down from 11 members to eight, and so it's widely anticipated the AAC will have an appetite to continue growing even if both AFA and CSU come. UAB is widely viewed as the next school up, with its urban location, its recent string of success and its demonstrated commitment to football through the brand-spanking-new Protective Stadium, which opens Saturday.

The American's move could play out as soon as next week. In the meantime, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.