By Rixon Lane
Five years ago, the world of college football was rocked by news of conference realignment as Nebraska bolted for the Big Ten and Colorado headed west for the Pac-12.
Since then, other teams have followed suit and abandoned their former leagues in search of greener pastures.
It can all be very confusing at times, but what if it didn't have to be?
What if college football took a page out of professional soccer's playbook, did away with conferences all together, and utilized the concept of relegation?
For the sake of this exercise, here's how relegation would work: Eight 16-team leagues, labeled A-H, with A being the top tier and H being the bottom. Each league would be divided into two divisions. Teams play each of the seven opponents in their division and rotate five cross-division opponents to create their 12-game schedules. After four seasons, winning percentages for every team are tallied. The top two teams from each league move up, while the bottom two are sent down.
Here's what the leagues would look like, based on every team's winning percentage from the past four seasons:
Alabama, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Ohio State, South Carolina
Baylor, Boise State, LSU, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford
Arkansas State, Central Florida, Georgia Southern, Lousiana-Lafayette, Marshall, Notre Dame, Toledo, Wisconsin
Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Southern Cal, Texas A&M, TCU, Utah State
Auburn, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Ohio, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky
Arizona State, Ball State, BYU, Houston, Mississippi State, San Diego State, Texas, UCLA
Bowling Green, Duke, Florida, Miami, Navy, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, West Virginia
Arizona, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Rice, UT-San Antonio, Utah, Washington
Appalachian State, Arkansas, Iowa, Middle Tennessee, NC State, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh
Air Force, Colorado State, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon State, San Jose State, Texas Tech, Tulsa
Boston College, Buffalo, Kent State, Maryland, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee
Central Michigan, Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis, North Texas, SMU, Texas State, Western Michigan, Wyoming
Connecticut, Florida International, Indiana, Kentucky, Purdue, UAB, Virginia, Wake Forest
California, Illinois, Iowa State, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Texas El Paso, Troy, Washington State
Akron, Army, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, Miami (OH), South Florida, UMass
Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Tulane, UNLV