Realignment reset: The Athletic writers draft new college football conferences from scratch – The Athletic

Conference realignment has engulfed college football once again, taking over the entire news cycle for two weeks now. Is it good or bad? What happens next? Can we fix mistakes of the past?

Since the news of Texas and Oklahoma’s move to the SEC first dropped, a common refrain from administrators outside the conference is a desire to redraw conferences in a way that makes sense. Some leagues now stretch from Nebraska to New Jersey or from Norfolk, Va., to El Paso, Texas. But there are television contracts with various end dates and there’s no putting that genie back in the bottle.

But what if we opened everything up? The Athletic asked eight writers to draft their own conferences. There were no criteria. You could go for TV viewers, geography, rivalries, whatever you wanted.

Welcome to your new eight major college sports conferences. Which league are you watching?

Stewart Mandel — Great Wingspan Conference

Given I got the (obvious) No. 1 choice but didn’t get to draft again for another 15 picks, I’m thrilled with my top three of Ohio State, Wisconsin and Oregon. Three highly successful programs with big TV audiences and all-around great athletic departments. I knew I then needed to get a foothold in the South, so I went with Kentucky (in large part for basketball) and Ole Miss (an ascending football brand), not realizing the other half of the Egg Bowl would still be there at pick No. 48. And then TCU was purely about getting into Dallas-Ft. Worth.

From there, I loaded up on academics and big media markets with Northwestern and Syracuse. I consider those both steals for as low as they went. And I’m particularly proud of staying disciplined with my last pick.

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