Grading realignment winners, losers

Holgorsen himself has pointed out West Virginia's facilities don't stack up in the Big 12, either. And the travel has been a drag, even though the Big 12 TV money has more than paid for it.

West Virginia squandered an initial chance to seize a place in the Big 12. Now, the Mountaineers are swimming just to survive.

9. Colorado


The move: Big 12 to Pac-12
Improved visibility: D+
Competitive standing: F
Future outlook: D+
Overall grade: F

Believe it or not, Colorado still fields a football team. That might be hard to believe for anyone who doesn't reside west of the Rocky Mountains.

The Buffs have gone just 4-23 in the Pac-12 since joining the conference before the 2011 season and have yet to play a meaningful game in the league.

To be fair, the Buffs, whose last conference title came in 2001, were on the downswing prior to moving to the Pac-12. But a new conference has done nothing so far for Colorado, either.

Colorado, which had always recruited California reasonably well in the Big Eight, was hoping a move to the Pac-12 would boost its recruiting in the Golden State. So far, that hasn't really happened. In fact, Colorado's top California commitment in its 2014 class is Ventura native Jase Franke, who is ranked as the No. 83 defensive end in the country.

There is some cautious optimism in Boulder that coach Mike MacIntyre, who just finished his first season there, can gradually turn the program around.

Otherwise, Colorado's football future looks rather bleak.

Honorable mention: Central Florida

Central Florida

The move: Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference
Improved visibility: A
Competitive standing: A
Future outlook: B+
Overall grade: A-

Central Florida didn't relocate to one of the five major conferences, but its move to the American Athletic Conference has done wonders for the program's rise.

Thanks to an 11-1 run in their American debut, the Knights snagged the conference's automatic BCS bowl berth to advance to their first BCS bowl (the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 against Big 12 champ Baylor). That surpasses Kevin Smith's 2007 rushing title as the biggest thing to happen to UCF.

The Knights have parlayed their ascension into a compelling 2014 non-conference schedule. UCF opens against Penn State across the ocean in Dublin, Ireland; goes to Missouri; then takes on BYU in Orlando, Fla.

It will be difficult for an American Athletic Conference team to slip into the College Football Playoff, which launches next season. But UCF, along with Houston, SMU and Memphis, are collectively better off in the American than they were before in Conference USA.

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