College Football: Charting the Changes

College Football: Charting the Changes


Fall practice for the 2013 college football season begins in a few days with the season getting started on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. Since the last games were played in Jan., several changes have been made that has realigned some conferences, renamed one conference and has increased the number of programs that play as football independents. Among the top changes for this season include the following.

Bye, Bye Big East Conference

The Big East Conference welcomed football in 1991, but said good-bye to the sport following the 2012. That’s because the seven Catholic schools that owned the Big East name set up a new conference of basketball-only schools.

The remaining teams now play under the American Athletic Conference (AAC) label, with two teams — Syracuse and Pittsburgh, off to the ACC, and four new teams — Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and SMU, added.

Six Independents This Year

Army, Navy, Notre Dame and Brigham Young University are football independents and for this season only both Idaho and New Mexico State are independents as well. Beginning in 2014, the Vandals and Aggies move to the Sun Belt Conference as the Western Athletic Conference, the league both schools played football in, no longer sponsors the sport.

Navy itself will also depart the independent ranks when it joins the AAC in 2015. Army and BYU are expected to stay independent.

Conference USA Survives

The ACC depletes the Big East and the Big East depletes Conference USA. That is how it has been for much of the past decade, with the depleted conferences scrambling to add teams wherever possible.

Conference USA has managed to pick up several programs to replace those that it lost. This year, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech and North Texas join, with Western Kentucky to arrive in 2014 just as East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa depart for the AAC.

Big Ten Realignment

When the Big Ten Conference separated into “Legends” and “Leaders” divisions in 2010, that move was met with widespread fan disapproval. It wasn’t that fans did not see the need to create a two-division format, rather the names chosen were simply not embraced.

The Legends and Leaders names remain in place for the 2013 season, but they’re on the way out. With Rutgers and Maryland joining the conference beginning in 2014, we’ll soon see seven-team East and West divisions taking over. Moreover, a nine-game schedule will be introduced beginning with the 2016 season.

ACC Expands

We mentioned earlier how the Big East Conference regularly poached Conference USA as itself was poached by the ACC. Well, the ACC’s two most recent Big East conquests, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, join the league this year. Next year, Maryland leaves for the Big Ten, Louisville joins and Notre Dame will begin an abbreviated five-game ACC schedule.

Syracuse joins the ACC’s Atlantic division while Pittsburgh heads to the Coastal division. It is expected that Louisville will assume Maryland’s Atlantic division spot beginning in 2014. Notre Dame, however, will not play in either division, playing five games and gaining access to the ACC’s bowl games except for the Orange Bowl.

Yeah, Team!

The changes the other conferences have gone through this year have had little effect on the Big 12, SEC or Pac 12 conferences this year. This season will be the last one with the current Bowl Championship Series arrangement in place. Beginning in 2014-2015, a four-team playoff season will be launched, games that will be played in early Jan.

See AlsoSummer Solstice Update: College Football


end of post idea


Helpful article? Leave us a quick comment below.
And please share this article within your social networks.

facebook linkedin pinterest

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The commission earnings are used to defray our cost of operation.

View our FTC Disclosure for other affiliate information.