A college football Big Two could propel a return to regional alignments

More college football realignment could result in a return to divisional structures and more regional play.

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Opposite from the 'money drives everything' in college football belief is a suggestion some schools would be better served by "pulling out of the college sports money chase."

The argument is sound that outside an expanding Power Two, few college football programs can compete athletically and financially. A disparity in opportunity for competitive success is not new, but it has become more rigid with the Transfer Portal and paying players to sign and play through NIL.

For what is left after the Big Two become 48-64 teams, it would make sense to refocus on regional play. Though the programs outside the Big Two might be mostly a farm system for the big dogs, fan interest could be enhanced by schedules structured geographically. An added benefit to programs and fans is returning to a regional structure would reduce travel costs.

A few days ago, Andy Staples laid out a future Super League with 48 teams from the SEC and the Big Ten. Staples chose 48 teams because he believes that is the number television executives would prefer. Also, the 48 number works well in re-creating, divisional play based on geographic region. It also meshes well with an independent Playoff product for the Big Two.

In such a new alignment the Alabama Crimson Tide would be part of a division that would include Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Geographic realignment is not rigid. Other programs in closer proximity to Tuscaloosa are slated by Staples for other divisions.

Alabama Crimson Tide and a new SEC

Atlantic Division

Florida Gators

Georgia Bulldogs

Clemson Tigers

North Carolina State Wolfpack

South Carolina Gamecocks

Miami Hurricanes

Moonshine Division

Alabama Crimson Tide

Auburn Tigers

Tennessee Volunteers

Kentucky Wildcats

West Virginia Mountaineers

Virginia Tech Hokies

Mid-South Division

Arkansas Razorbacks

Ole Miss Rebels

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Missouri Tigers

LSU Bengal Tigers

Vanderbilt Commodores

Southwest Division

Texas Longhorns

Texas A&M Aggies

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Kansas State Wildcats

SEC fans will notice that Staples did not bump Vanderbilt out of the conference. Why the division for the Alabama Crimson Tide is named 'Moonshine' is a mystery.

In Staples' projection, a future Big Ten will include new teams, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Utah.

Staples' effort may be flawed in both the total number of Power Two teams and programs selected. He is not wrong in the probability a realignment will take the Big 12, ACC and the current Pac-2 to a new 'Group of Eight' status.