The Super Six Collegiate Athletic Association consists of six major conferences formerly of the NCAA. The 74 teams that comprise the Super 6 include 12 teams from each of the six conferences and two independents.
As of summer of 2011, there are 12 teams in the PAC-12, the Big Ten, the ACC, and the SEC conferences. The Big 12 rests at 10 while the Big East sits at 9. To complete the gaps that exist, the Big 12 and Big East (at the recommendation of the Super 6 commissioners) need to take the following actions.
The Big East:
1. Separate from their basketball-only schools. While the Big East basketball product was a national commodity, none of the basketball-only rank in the top 73 of revenue leaders for the NCAA. The Big East will maintain much of its identity in football and basketball despite the split, and non-conference games for basketball can easily maintain rivalries.
2. Three football and basketball schools will need to be added. University of Central Florida makes sense on a lot of levels. Florida is a football hotbed, the Big East already features a Florida team which would be good for travel, and it’s a school that makes great sports money already for being outside a BCS conference. SI.com agrees with this pick. Next, the Big East would take Memphis. Again, the conference can get stronger footing in the South, Memphis is strong in revenue, Louisville would gain a natural rival in the league, the Tigers play great basketball (a Big East calling card), and Memphis is a large city which would gain shares of the TV market. Lastly, keeping with the theme of geographical travel partners, a team in Texas is a must. Not only do this give the Big East greater appeal for TV viewing in the state, it gives the Big East more reach into their fertile recruiting grounds. Although Houston would be a great pick, I’m going to go with historic badboy SMU in joining TCU. While the Big East would still be the red-headed step child of the Super 6, it would have some fascinating storylines and rivalry within and could at least hold its own, something it hasn’t been doing since the ACC poached it earlier this century.
3. Create a conference championship game for the first Saturday in December. South champ (battled out among USF, UCF, TCU, SMU, Memphis, and Louisiville) and the North champ (decided between Pittsburgh, WVU, UConn, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Cincinatti) in a Civil War of football.
The Big 12:
1. Although the wonderful confusion of the ten-team Big 12 was fun while it lasted, the Super 6 mandates they get back to 12 and create a conference championship game. The candidates are less than stellar for the Big 12. BYU would be a great choice, but they are choosing to be Notre Dame Lite and that could be just fine for them. Hawaii is a seductive choice simply for the mid-season vacations afforded by having them on the schedule, but the population (and thus TV viewership) is simply too low. My surprise picks for the Big 12? San Diego State and Houston. No, these teams wouldn’t do squat for the strength of the Big 12’s schedules, but the do both offer strong revenue streams for sports and major (and I mean major) numbers of households to broadcast Big 12 games (San Diego #8 largest city in the US and Houston #4).
2. The South division would include TTech, aTm, UT, Baylor, Houston, and SDSU. The North–OKSt., OU, KSt., Kansas, Iowa St., and Missouri. Powerhouses OU and UT are split up to balance the power a bit.
Now, someone might argue that the Big East and Big 12 wouldn’t agree to such “ho-hum” additions to their conferences. What’s wrong, they say, with allowing the Big East to stay at 9, the Big 12 at 10? You’re already allowing independents to float in the atmosphere of the Super 6!
My belief is that the Super 6 itself wants to corner all markets. By my count, the Super 6 will have teams in all of the top 29 population centers in the US. By forcing expansion (even if the Big East and Big 12 voted together, they’d lose 4-2 to the will of the other conferences), they can secure the greatest viewership for their association. None of the candidates have weak revenue. In fact, once included in the Super 6, many of the new additions (Memphis, SDSU, UCF, Houston, SMU) will likely leapfrog current BCS teams in the top 60. And if the old “common sense” approach doesn’t work on those stubborn Texans, watch the 48 of them (Big Ten, SEC, ACC, and PAC-12) put the pressure on the little 19 to get their way.