Grading realignment winners, losers


Sometimes the grass isn't as green as it looks.

Several schools that made the dramatic decision to switch conferences during one of the rounds of conference realignment have found this out the hard way.

For a couple of programs, conference realignment has been a boon. The majority, however, has struggled to compete in their new leagues.

This year, teams that realigned into one of the five major conferences went a combined 56-53, including Missouri's 11-2 breakout season.

In the seasons before they realigned, those same teams went a combined 75-42 in their conferences.

Next year, Maryland (currently ACC) and Rutgers (American) will join the fray and relocate to the Big Ten, while Louisville (American) will shift to the ACC. If their experience resembles their realigning brethren, the schools could be in for bumpy transitions.

Below is our conference realignment scorecard for those who have made the move. Grades were based largely on improved visibility, competitive standing and future outlook.

1. Texas A&M

Texas A&M

The move: Big 12 to SEC
Improved visibility: A+
Competitive standing: A-
Future outlook: A-
Overall grade: A+

After 16 years of mediocrity in the Big 12, Texas A&M's football program has been completely transformed since bolting for the SEC.

With electric, Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel competing in college football's premier conference, Texas A&M's visibility has skyrocketed the past two years.

The Aggies were actually the second-most-watched team of the year in college football, trailing only Alabama, according to Sports Media Watch, and Good Bull Hunting, which ranked the data. They also played in the second-most-watched game of the season against Alabama, which drew more than 13 million viewers.

Manziel is likely gone after the bowl game, but Texas A&M's program is on solid ground going forward.

The Aggies have proven they can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the SEC and have elevated their recruiting to an elite level, with the No. 4 class in 2014 at the moment.

Texas A&M is also undergoing a $450 million renovation to Kyle Field, which is expected to seat 102,500 in 2015. That would make it the largest stadium in the SEC.

2. Missouri


The move: Big 12 to SEC
Improved visibility: A-
Competitive standing: B+
Future outlook: B+
Overall grade: B+

After one year, it looked as if Missouri had made a disastrous decision in joining the SEC. Following a nice run its final five years in the Big 12, which included a No. 1 ranking at one point, Missouri was an afterthought during a 5-7 debut in the SEC.

But equipped with one of the best defensive lines in the country, the Tigers made a surprising and remarkable run to capture the SEC East title this season. The Tigers actually were a victory over Auburn in the SEC championship game away from making a compelling case for a spot in the BCS national title game.

While not as bright as Texas A&M's, Missouri's visibility was still strong. The Tigers' average TV viewership was higher than any team in the Big 12 except Oklahoma, according to Sports Media Watch.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...