Conference Shakeup: Are We Done?
In the answer to the question posed in the headline above, I'd say we're very close to being done. Consider:
• The Big Ten has a round number of teams at 12 and can set up two six-team divisions and play a conference championship game. As long as Notre Dame isn't pressured into joining a conference -- and it looks like that won't happen anytime soon -- the Big Ten will likely stand pat at 12.
• The SEC didn't get Texas A&M, so it likely won't bother to move past 12 teams.
• The ACC isn't going to grab anyone.
• The Mountain West already grabbed Boise State and now won't have access to attractive schools from the defunct Big 12, as the league survived. And with Boise, the MWC has an even number of teams (10). So it is probably done.
• The Big East already stated it wasn't going to do anything unless the Big 12 fell apart or it lost a team. Neither happened, so it will stand pat.
• Conference USA, the MAC and Sun Belt were untouched in any discussions and there's no reason to think something will change now.
• The Pac-10 doesn't get Oklahoma or Texas and, in turn, lost out on other attractive schools in a potential Big 12 raid. Considering it did add Colorado, though, it's likely the Pac-10 still needs to add one more team to get to that magic "12" number the power conferences are all shooting for. Which means we probably aren't totally done seeing conference shifting. Expect the Pac-10 to make a run at Utah. When it does land the Utes -- and I fully expect them to jump at the chance -- expect the Mountain West to either be satisfied with nine (as it had before the Boise State addition) or grab another WAC team (Nevada? Utah State? Fresno State?). And that's about all the movement we're going to see in the next few years. Update, 6/17: Utah has joined the Pac-10 and the Mountain West has announced it will stick with nine members. Thus, I believe we're done with the conference shuffling for the summer and can start focusing on the upcoming season.
So, what once looked like a gigantic tidal wave is likely to end up merely a ripple. There's still plenty of time for things to change, but it would appear the grandiose unraveling and realigning of conferences speculated by many was quite off the mark. At least for this summer.