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2005 College Football
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Feature Article


College Football Landscape Will Change Drastically With Realignment for 2005

by Mike Mitchell
Updated 5/18/05

The ACC started it when the conference began wooing Miami, Syracuse and Boston College before the start of the 2003 season. But their grand plan for creating a larger cash cow was altered by politics and the end result was a better geographical pick-off that absorbed Miami, Virginia Tech (instead of Syracuse) and Boston College.

The first shot had been fired in what would become one of college football's largest conference realignment scrambles in modern day history. In 2005, seven of the eleven conferences (plus the independent ranks) will be affected by the changes, 20 schools will be aligned differently than they were in 2003, and 2 programs will move up from 1-AA.

The 2004 season kicked-off with very few changes in league make-ups. Only four teams started the year in different conferences - Virginia Tech and Miami in the ACC, Connecticut in the Big East and Troy State in the Sun Belt.

2005 will be a much different story.

Prior to the ACC's raid, the Big East had already planned to bring in Connecticut by 2005 and drop Temple. By necessity, they sought to shore-up their unexpectedly depleted ranks. The Big East moved up their timeline with UConn and set their sights on CUSA. It didn't take long to secure agreements from Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida. The domino effect had only just begun.

Here is how each conference (and independents) will look when the 2005 season kicks off. Their affiliation change from 2003 is in parenthesis.


ACC
Boston College will enter the league in 2005 as the 12th team and the conference will split into two divisions. The division winners will meet for the ACC Championship which is scheduled for Jacksonville, Florida in 2005 and 2006.

Atlantic Division
Boston College (Big East)
Clemson
Florida State
Maryland
N.C. State
Wake Forest

Coastal Division
Duke
Georgia Tech
Miami (Big East)
North Carolina
Virginia
Virginia Tech (Big East)

 


BIG EAST
The conference operated as a seven-team league in 2004 after losing Miami (Fla.) and Virginia Tech to the ACC while picking up Connecticut a year earlier than originally planned. In 2005, the Big East loses Boston College to the ACC and Temple moves to the MAC. Three teams from CUSA move into the fold - Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida.

Cincinnati (CUSA)
Connecticut (Independent)
Louisville (CUSA)
Pittsburgh
Rutgers
South Florida (CUSA)
Syracuse
West Virginia

 


BIG TEN
No changes

 


BIG XII
No changes

 


CUSA
Five teams will leave the league and six will enter. Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida move to the Big East. TCU heads to the Mountain West. Army goes back to being an independent. The newcomers are Central Florida and Marshall from the MAC, along with four teams from the WAC - Rice, SMU, Tulsa and UTEP. The league will form two divisions and plans to begin staging a championship game in 2005 at the home stadium of the team with the best conference winning percentage.

East Division
Ala.-Birmingham
Central Florida (MAC)
East Carolina
Marshall (MAC)
Memphis
Southern Miss

West Division
Houston
Rice (WAC)
SMU (WAC)
Tulane
Tulsa (WAC)
UTEP (WAC)

 


INDEPENDENTS
Navy and Notre Dame were the only two teams that were not affiliated with a conference for the 2004 season after Connecticut entered the Big East and Troy State moved to the Sun Belt. For 2005, the Independent ranks briefly doubled as Army left CUSA and Temple lost its Big East affiliation. But Temple's independent status was short as the Owls accepted an invitation on May 17, 2005 to join the MAC.

Army (CUSA)
Navy
Notre Dame

 

MAC
MAC
The league loses Central Florida and Marshall from the East Division. Temple enters the league's East Division as an "affilate" member for 2005 and 2006 and a full football member in 2007. Bowling Green shifts back to the east where it resided from 1997 (when the league first split into two divisions) through 2001.

East Division
Akron
Bowling Green
Buffalo
Kent State
Miami (Ohio)
Ohio
Temple (Big East)

West Division
Ball State
Central Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Northern Illinois
Toledo
Western Michigan

 


MOUNTAIN WEST
The MWC plucks TCU from CUSA as its ninth member.

Air Force
Brigham Young
Colorado State
Nevada-Las Vegas
New Mexico
San Diego State
TCU (CUSA)
Utah
Wyoming

 


PAC-10
No changes

 


SEC

No changes

 


SUN BELT
The conference loses Idaho, New Mexico State and Utah State to the WAC. It adds two schools that are moving up from 1-AA status - Florida Atlantic and Florida International. FIU, however, is not eligible for the conference title or postseason play until 2006.

Arkansas State
Florida Atlantic (1-AA)
Florida International (1-AA)
La.-Lafayette
La.-Monroe
Middle Tennessee
North Texas
Troy State (Independent)

 


WAC
Idaho, New Mexico State and Utah State move in from the Sun Belt to replace outgoing UTEP, SMU, Rice and Tulsa who were siphoned-off by CUSA.

Boise State
Fresno State
Hawaii
Idaho (Sun Belt)
Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State (Sun Belt)
Nevada
San Jose State
Utah State (Sun Belt)



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