Friday, October 28, 2011

Geographically-Challenged



A lot has been made of the supposed dumbing-down of America, with our educational system taking a lot of heat, and with all of the realignments (both real and imagined) of major athletic conferences lately, methinks there is nothing supposed about it.  For I don’t think anyone with a fourth-grade education would make some of the moves that have been made—let alone people with multiple doctoral diplomas hangin on their office walls.

Now, before we get too far into this, I would like to make it clear that I am well aware of there being many conference realignments over the years.  For anyone with a passing interest in history knows that no self-respecting [Goth] would have left home without their American Express card until some decided to go with [Visa] instead, but I do not want to go back that far.

Oh, and as an added benefit to my readers, I have included images to make it easier to keep up with what states are involved.  Yeah, they may look like they were rendered by a kindergartener hopped-up on Kickapoo Joy Juice and Pop-Rocks, but if you had any idea just how technically-challenged I really am, you just might be as impressed with me as I am with myself.  (Our Heavenly Father asked to be kept completely out of this one.)


Anyway, I would like to start with a much more recent realignment that involved the now defunct [Southwest Conference (SWC)] when it consisted of Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Rice, Southern Methodist (SMU), Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Christian (TCU) and Texas Tech in 1990, which is shown on the left.  The beginning of the end of the conference occurred when Arkansas announced that it was moving to the [Southeastern Conference (SEC)] that very same year, which is shown on the right.


Before Arkansas joined, the SEC consisted of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana State (LSU), Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, which is shown on the left.  South Carolina also joined the SEC the same year as Arkansas did, which is shown on the right.


Earlier this year, Texas A&M announced that they were leaving the [Big 12] to join the SEC, which is shown on the left.  More recently, Missouri announced that it was also leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, which is shown on the right.


No, Texas A&M and Missouri moving to the SEC doesn’t look all that out of place.  That is, until you get into the proposed realignment of the conference itself.  For Texas A&M will be joining the Western Division of the SEC, which is the completely darkened portion above, while Missouri will be joining the Eastern Division, which is depicted as the outlined portion.  Yes, I suppose it could be argued that it is only fair.  For Texas A&M made the first move, and we just couldn’t have Alabama and Auburn moving to the Eastern Division—could we?

 
The Big 12 was previously known as the Big 8 when it consisted of Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Nebraska, which is shown on the left.  In 1996, it officially became the Big 12 with the addition of Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech from the disintegrating SWC, which is shown on the right.


Last year, Nebraska joined the [Big 10], and Colorado joined the [Pac 12].  So, the landscape changed to what is shown on the right before Missouri made its move.


No, it is not looking good, but any plans of celebrating the demise of the Big 12 would seem to be premature.  For TCU (formerly of the old SWC and more recently with the [Mountain West Conference]) has already been formally accepted into the conference, and West Virginia has started taking down their [Big East] banners, as is shown on the right.  [Politics] might get in the way, however.


One would think that the [ACC] would have been a better choice for West Virginia.  For with its longer termed members being Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, it is regionally close, which is indicated on the left.  Furthermore, West Virginia has become practically surrounded by the ACC with Pittsburg and Syracuse leaving the Big East to join, as is indicated on the right.


Another logical choice for West Virginia would have been the Big 10.  For as is shown on the left, it had Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin before Penn State joined as few years back, which is shown on the right.


The Big 10 has even been in a “the more the merrier” mood lately, which Nebraska became officially a part of this year, as is indicated on the right.  There was a lot of buzz about Missouri joining the Big 10 a few weeks ago, but the announcement about them going to the SEC put a halt to that.


Nope, we ain’t done yet.  For the Pac 12 started out as the Pac 8, with California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), The University of Southern California (USC), Washington and Washington State, which is shown on the left.  With the inclusion of Arizona and Arizona State, it became the Pac 10, which is shown on the right.


When Colorado (formerly of the Big 12) and Utah (formerly of the Mountain West) became official members this year, the Pac 10 became the Pac 12, as is indicated on the right.  Rumors are that they will become the Pac 16 before it is all over with.  Oh, and the Pac 12 keeping up with the number changes is more commendable than you may realize.  For the Big 10 currently has 12 members, and the Big 12 might have 10 after all Missouri, TCU and West Virginia officially land where they appear to be heading.


The most mind-boggling realignment of all is the proposed merger between the Big East, [Conference USA], the Mountain West and the [Western Athletic Conference (WAC)].  For if the logistical nightmare that could be the Big East Mountain Western Athletic Conference of the USA comes to life, it could include Air Force, Boise State, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Connecticut, East Carolina, Fresno State, Hawaii, Houston, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Marshall, Memphis, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, San Jose State, San Diego State, Southern Mississippi, Rice, Rutgers, Southern Methodist (SMU), Texas Christian (TCU), Tulane, Tulsa, the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), the University of South Florida (USF), the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP), Utah State and Wyoming, as indicated on the map above.  Can you imagine how much it would cost the University of Connecticut to fly their football team (along with all of its gear and equipment) 10,000 miles (or so) to get them out to play the University of Hawaii and back?

I could go on about many of these changes only applying to the football teams, which could see some schools playing football in one conference and other sports elsewhere, but I wouldn’t want your head to explode.  For I have had it happen to me before, and it is an awful mess to clean up.

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2 comments:

Lavender Darwin said...

Blah, who needs silly regional maps! There's TEXAS, then there's the rest of you sissy states of the Union.

FishHawk said...

Yes, there is nothing sissy about pastels.