I know it's been done to tears, but since I took the time to write this for BON, I figure I'll just cross-post it on the mothership. The working assumption here is that the Big 10 expands. Everything else is whimsy.
I’d like to see the Big 10 invite the University of Toronto. Makes sense geographically, and it’s AAU. Disregard the fact that their football stadium seats about 5000 people.
I think Missouri is the most likely candidate to get the invite, with Rutgers being the runner up. Iowa State isn’t going to happen. They’re the unloved child in a low-population state. Missouri is AAU, with an OK academic ranking that will scream up if they join the Big 10/CIC. Don’t forget that the Missouri Journalism school could then work more closely with Northwestern’s building some kind of J-School juggernaut programs at both (maybe they’ll produce real journalists!). Mizzou brings St. Louis entirely to the Big 10, and a big chunk of KC.
At this point the Big 12 could either contract (bye bye Baylor) or add a program. If Arkansas is to come in, I’d like to see them go to the South and shift OU to the North so they could revive the OU-Nubs rivalry. This would go a long way toward balancing the divisions (at least in the here and now). If UT-OU want to maintain the Shootout, they could play a non-con game every year (HAHAHAHAHA, good one, me!). Really, though, that would be all UT (or OU) would ever need to have their SOS be a non-starter argument against their inclusion in the title game.
At the same time, I think adding Mizzou to the Big 10 goes a long way to strengthen their football conference (really!), and maybe, juuuuuuuuuuuuust maybe, the media can get over treating the SEC as a play-in conference for the BCSMNC game.
In amorphous’s world, here’s the domino-effect radical realignment that takes place so all the Big 6 go to 12 (which is a precursor for my 8 team playoff where the Big 6 conferences each send their champion – which is decided from a title game between two divisional winners – plus two champs selected from the MWC, WAC, MAC, Sun Belt, CUSA, and whatever crapola conference I might be forgetting; plus, this makes Notre Dame join a conference and stop pretending to be so special). Note that this is me giving up my Toronto dream scenario, and practically ignores basketball, because I care way more about football, and also requires some promotions which are a bit of a stretch:
Mizzou: Big 12 → Big 10 west (divide this as you will), Big 10 now with 12, Big 12 now with 11
Arkansas: SEC South → Big 12, Big 12 now with 12, SEC with 11
OU: Big 12 South → Big 12 North
Baylor: Big 12 → CUSA
Houston: CUSA → Big 12 South (no net change to Big 12, CUSA)
Clemson: ACC → SEC, SEC now has 12, ACC with 11
South Florida: Big East → ACC, Big East now 7, ACC with 12
Boston College: ACC → Big East, ACC has 11, Big East with 8
Navy: → ACC, ACC has 12
Notre Dame: → Big East (like every other sport they have)
Army: → Big East
Temple: MAC → Big East
Buffalo: → MAC → Big East (It’s AAU, did you know that?), Big East now has 12, MAC has 11
I also think this makes the Big East a pretty doggone good conference (by which I mean, they now have Notre Dame).
Now the MAC brings in like Western Kentucky and like James Madison, I don’t know, who cares, either way the Sun Belt and MAC get to 12.
CUSA either keeps its 12 or loses some to the MAC/Sun Belt or promotes some nobody, either way they end up with 12. No one cares.
So that’s the Big 12, Big 10, SEC, ACC, MAC, and Sun Belt taken care of.
The sparsely populated west is a bit tougher. Let’s start with a bad fit:
LA Tech: WAC → CUSA
UTEP: CUSA → WAC
there, that’s better.
Now for the rest, the Pac 10 needs two more. They take Utah and Nevada (one from the MWC, one from the WAC). Now the WAC has only 8 and the MWC only 8 also. So we need 8 more schools. Well, the Big Sky Conference has 9, so let’s shred that and there’s one sad program that has to stay I-AA. Let’s say sorry Eastern Washington (smallest enrollment in the conference), and say "hello!" to the Portland States and Northern Arizonas of the world. Whatever that works out to for both the WAC and the MWC.
A man can dream, can he not?