College Football Conference Realignment

By Loot, College Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

College Football Conference Realignment for the 2013 Season

This is a time in the history of college football where things are being shuffled around quite a bit. In the past, there would be little realignment to speak of, but now it’s something that we need to follow. Some teams that are switching conferences will have a bit of a built-in advantage, being that other teams from their previous conference are also making the move–lending itself to greater familiarity.

We’re right in the middle of a major re-shuffling of teams in NCAA football. Last year saw a lot of changes and the trend continues this season, with a few conferences ready to assume a different look completely. Among the conferences undergoing major changes include the ACC, the Big East Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, the Big Ten, the Mountain West, and especially the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA. The WAC disbanded, forcing teams to find new conferences in which to compete. Two teams couldn’t and will now operate as Independents. And to top it off–there’s two new teams in the mix–Georgia State and UT-Arlington

Here is the breakdown of conference changes going into the 2013 season:

FAU: One of several teams leaving the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic will now be in Conference USA, beginning in the 2013 campaign.

FIU: Florida International also leaves the Sun Belt Conference to join Conference USA.

Georgia State: Welcome to the big-time, fellas. Georgia State will make their debut in the revamped Sun Belt Conference beginning in 2013.

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Houston: Houston will leave Conference USA and start playing in the revamped Big East Conference starting in the 2013 season.

Idaho: The Vandals were a casualty of the disbanded WAC and will now operate in the role of an Independent college football team.

Louisiana Tech: Another WAC orphan, Louisiana Tech will now be part of the new-look Conference USA.

Memphis: Another Conference USA departure, Memphis will begin playing in the Big East in the 2013 season.

Middle Tennessee: Formerly of the Sun Belt Conference, Middle Tennessee will now be in Conference USA.

New Mexico State: Another WAC casualty, New Mexico State will now be an Independent.

North Texas: Yet another in a long line of Sun Belt Conference departures, North Texas will also be joining Conference USA with three other teams from the Sun Belt.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers leave the Big East and join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for the 2013 season.

San Jose State: A program on the rise, San Jose will leave the now extinct WAC to join the Mountain West.

SMU: One of four Conference USA teams now taking up residence in the Big East conference.

Syracuse: In addition to Pittsburgh, the Orangemen leave the Big East and join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) for the 2013 football season.

Texas State: Their first season was in the disbanded WAC. Texas State will now be joining the new-look Sun Belt Conference.

UCF: One of four Conference USA teams shipping out this season, Central Florida will switch to the Big East beginning in the 2013 campaign.

Utah State: A former WAC team, New Mexico State will join the much-tougher Mountain West Conference.

UT Arlington: One of two new teams that will be on the big betting board for the first time. UTSA will join the Sun Belt Conference for the 2013 season.

UTSA: In their first year, they were in the now-defunct WAC. In year two, Texas-San Antonio will switch over to Conference USA.

Other Conference Notes:

Big East Conference: Will now be called the American Athletic Conference. They had planned on splitting the conference into two divisions and staging a conference championship game, but plans were scratched after Boise State and San Diego State withdrew their commitments to join the conference.

Big Ten Conference: Divisional realignment is expected.

Conference USA: Will now feature two 7-team divisions.

Mountain West Conference: The MWC will now have two six-team divisions and stage a championship game at the end of the season.

WAC: No longer exists.

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