Around this time last year… and the year before that… and the year before that… we were in the midst of yet another round of conference musical chairs, with multiple schools announcing future moves to new league homes.
Thankfully expansion and contraction is on hold this year, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some official movement on that front.
As its July 1, myriad programs have officially left one conference for (presumably) greener pastures in a new league. Below is a look at all of the moves that became official today and, yes, those moves will be reflected in the menus on this site in short order:
Both Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced in September of 2011 that they would be leaving their longtime homes in the American Athletic Conference. The former will play in the Coastal Division (Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech) while the latter will compete as a member of the Atlantic Division (Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest). In 2014, Maryland will leave the ACC for the Big Ten, replaced by Louisville after the Cardinals skip town on the AAC.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
The conference formerly known as the Big East has seen the most upheaval of any of the “major” FBS leagues, and 2013 is no different. In are former Conference USA members Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF, while as previously mentioned Pitt and Syracuse are out. This is far from the last movement, however, as East Carolina Tulane and Tulsa will join in 2014, followed by Navy in 2015. Next year, the AAC will lose Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) to hopefully end the membership attrition on their end.
This league scoffs in the general direction of the AAC’s losses and additions. Conference USA has added a whopping six new members to its roll: FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, North Texas and UT-San Antonio, with those schools replacing, as noted above, Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF. The conference will lose three current members (East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa) to the AAC next year, replacing them with Old Dominion and Western Kentucky in 2014 and UNC-Charlotte in 2015.
On the verge of losing Boise State and San Diego State to the AAC, the MWC not only retained those two members but also added San Jose State and Utah State for the 2013 season. The Aggies will be a part of the Mountain Division (Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico and Wyoming), with the Spartans joining the West Division (Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State and UNLV). At least for now, no future additions are planned for the MWC.
This conference is the only current league to lose more members than it will have gained in 2013. Bolting the SBC are FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee and North Texas, all headed to Conference USA. Coming into the SBC fold this year are Georgia State and Texas State. Appalachian State (FCS), Georgia Southern (FCS), Idaho (Independent via the WAC) and New Mexico State (Independent via the WAC) will join in 2014, with Western Kentucky leaving for Conference USA.
For the first time since 1961, a college football season will be played without the WAC as one of its conferences. Thanks to the myriad rounds of expansion, the WAC ceased to exist as a football conference after the 2012 season. The lone remaining members will be off to new conference homes either this year or next. Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio will play in Conference USA; San Jose State and Utah State in the Mountain West; and Texas State to the Sun Belt. After spending the 2013 season as Independents, Idaho and New Mexico State will join the Sun Belt in 2014.