You can’t ignore the rumors, and why would you want to? In fact, let’s take it a step further. Boardroom asked ChatGPT to simulate conference realignment.
Nothing gets college sports fans going quite like conference realignment. Seriously, nothing. Visit any college team message board at any point — particularly in the offseason — and you’ll see some of the most unhinged scenarios you’d ever imagine. Want to see Washington State in the SEC? Well, there’s probably a guy in Nashville who thinks it makes sense. Is the Big Ten looking to add New Mexico State? There’s surely an Aggies board somewhere that has a 30-page thread about why it’s beneficial for both sides.
With the conference realignment wheels always turning (and perhaps starting to speed up now), we thought we’d turn to our trusty AI friend, ChatGPT, to develop a conference landscape that makes sense for all.
For the record, we started with the basic premise that got this discussion going to begin with — that half the schools in the ACC were looking to get out of their Grant of Rights agreement with the conference and went from there. Looking through that lens, it follows logically that Florida State and Clemson could end up in the SEC, while North Carolina and Virginia take their talents to the Big Ten.
Using all this as a jumping-off point, we then had to define which criteria ChatGPT should consider in moving all these puzzle pieces around.
Well, here we go.
Conference Realignment Criteria
Yes, we first tried to ask ChatGPT straight-up to realign college sports without any qualifying language, and while some of the answers made sense, we also ended up with Delaware and Towson in the Big East. so… it was back to the drawing board to define what criteria each conference might consider.
While we can’t say anything for sure, history and common sense tell us that we can instruct ChatGPT to consider the following about the so-called Power 5:
- The ACC has long been a basketball powerhouse, but it has fallen off in recent years. The ACC, while trying to stay together, should look to improve itself as a basketball conference.
- In this scenario, it is also losing its two biggest football brands. It needs to stay relevant in the most important NCAA sport.
- The Big Ten will want to strengthen itself in both basketball and football
- With USC and UCLA coming into the league, it is truly a national conference and may want to strengthen its ties on both coasts.
- The Big Ten values academics and would prefer schools that are members of the American Association of Universities.
- Commissioner Brett Yormark seems hell-bent on making the Big 12 a national brand. That could mean everything from expanding to new markets to strengthening their presence in their existing footprint or tapping into emerging markets.
- The Big 12 is also bullish on its future in media rights. It will want to add new time slots for football and basketball games.
- While football is where most of the money comes from, the Big 12 is prioritizing strengthening its position as the best conference in basketball
- Continue to be the best football league in the country
- Be as good as possible in all other sports because it just means more, baby!
- With UCLA and USC on their way out and BYU off the table for expansion options, simply continue to exist
ChatGPT Takes on Conference Realignment
We also need to remind ChatGPT about a few things considering that its knowledge base is a little spotty on events that have occurred since 2020. And in case you forgot, here’s the movement we’ve seen over the last handful of years:
- UCLA and USC are going to the Big Ten
- Texas and Oklahoma are headed to the SEC
- Cincinnati, UCF, BYU, and Houston are going to the Big 12
- UConn went independent in football and joined the Big East in all other sports
Knowing all of this, here is your ChatGPT-generated power conference landscape:
* = new members
- Boston College
- Georgia Tech
- NC State
- Notre Dame (non-football)
- Wake Forest
ChatGPT also suggested East Carolina and Old Dominion as the next in line, but we don’t want to give Jim Larrañaga a heart attack just yet.
- Michigan State
- North Carolina
- Ohio State
- Penn State
ChatGPT also suggested the Big Ten raid the ACC and Big 12, but knowing that the Big Ten is already picking off two Pac-12 schools, we felt it made more sense to stick with Colorado and Washington as new members to give UCLA and USC some company out west.
- Iowa State
- Kansas State
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
- Boise State*
- Colorado State*
- San Diego State*
- Florida State
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
ChatGPT does not want the SEC to expand beyond the above group of 18. Perhaps even the AI is afraid about what would happen to Vanderbilt.
- Arizona State
- Oregon State
- Washington State
- Fresno State*
- New Mexico*
Not gonna lie, ChatGPT, the Pac-12 looks bleak.
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