Big 12, Big East in realignment limbo
Realignment issues are keeping the Big East and Big 12 from releasing their 2012 schedules.
The Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC have released their league matchups for the fall, but the ACC, Big East and Big 12 have not. The ACC plans to release its schedule next month, a league spokesman told the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday.
The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 will have the same conference membership as they did last season, but the Big East, Big 12 and SEC will not. The SEC, though, has finalized its 14 teams, while there could be a courtroom tug-of-war between the Big East and Big 12.
The Big 12 lost Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, but the league is adding TCU from the Mountain West for the fall and also hopes to add the Big East’s West Virginia. While TCU’s move has been smooth, both WVU and the Big East have filed lawsuits against the other. At issue is the Big East’s 27-month “waiting period” for a school to leave after it announces its intention to do so.
Pitt and Syracuse are leaving the Big East for the ACC, but the schools aren’t looking to leave until the 2013-14 academic year. WVU would prefer to exit the Big East for the 2012-13 academic year; the Big 12 would prefer that, as well.
Interestingly, Big East member USF announced earlier this week on its athletic department website that it had “finalized” its 2012 non-conference schedule with a game against Nevada. The Wolf Pack gave USF its fifth non-conference opponent, and the only way a Big East school can have five non-conference opponents this fall is if WVU remains in the league; that would give each league team seven conference games, the same as in 2011.
In addition to the conference realignments, there will be four new teams in the FBS ranks this fall, bringing the total to 124. Massachusetts, South Alabama, Texas State and UT San Antonio are moving up in classification.
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Here’s a look at the conference alignments for the fall:
ACC: The league will have the same 12 teams. While Pittsburgh and Syracuse already have announced plans to leave the Big East and join the ACC, they won’t move in time for the 2012-13 academic year
Big East: The big question is whether West Virginia will be in the league this fall. WVU is leaving for the Big 12 and wants to leave at the end of this academic year, but lawsuits are involved and it may not happen for a while. If WVU stays for this season, there again will be eight teams in the conference.
Big Ten: The same 12 teams will be in the league next fall.
Big 12: Missouri and Texas A&M have left for the SEC, but TCU is coming in from the Mountain West. That gives the league nine teams; the question is whether WVU moves from the Big East.
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Mid-American: The league is adding one member and now will have 14. Massachusetts is moving up from the FCS ranks. The conference will have two seven-team divisions. UMass will be in the East, replacing Bowling Green, which moves to the West Division. The league has six Ohio-based schools; four will be in the East (Akron, Kent State, Miami, Ohio) and the other two in the West (Bowling Green, Toledo).
Mountain West: The league will have 10 members. While TCU is leaving for the Big 12, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada are coming in from the WAC. Boise State and San Diego State will be leaving for the Big East as football-only members in 2013.
Pac-12: The league will have the same 12 members.
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SEC: The SEC has moved from 12 teams to 14, bringing in Missouri and Texas A&M from the Big 12. Mizzou will be in the SEC East and Texas A&M will be in the West.
Sun Belt: The league grows by one member, to 10. South Alabama is moving up from the FCS ranks.
Western Athletic: The league will have seven members. It is losing three schools to the Mountain West (Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada) but two are moving in from FCS (Texas State and UT San Antonio). The new members are coached by guys well-versed in FBS football; Dennis Franchione is at Texas State and Larry Coker at UT San Antonio.
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