2005-2006 NCAA Conference Realignment - Bracketography.com

2005-2006 NCAA Conference Realignment


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by David Mihm
Editor, Bracketography.com


THOUGHTS ON THE 2005-2006 CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
Probably the hardest-hit conference in all this shuffling is Conference USA. The ACC picked up a perennial top-20 team in Boston College, and a couple of programs on the rise in Virginia Tech and Miami. The Big East picked up four perennial NCAA participants, including two recent Final Four teams in Louisville and Marquette. Conference USA is now left with Memphis, UTEP, UAB, and Houston, with a lot of RPI anchors dragging down the conference's power rankings. Even Charlotte left for the Atlantic 10. C-USA should still be a consistent 2-3 team conference each year, but with conferences like the WCC, Mountain West, and Atlantic 10 getting stronger, it will be tough to hold its traditional 4-5-6 team position.

Opinions:

  • The ACC and Big East should now field a minimum of seven teams in the NCAA Tournament every year.
  • The Atlantic 10 did well for quite well for itself in grabbing Charlotte and holding onto its successful members like St. Joseph's, Xavier, and Dayton.
  • The WAC made a superb recovery after losing UTEP and Tulsa to C-USA, picking up perennial Big West power Utah State, as well as an up-and-coming New Mexico State team coached by Pitino disciple Reggie Theus.

Most readers probably know the story behind the conference shuffle that goes into full effect this year, but here's a quick summary. Three schools: Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College, left the Big East for the ACC, primarily to improve their teams' BCS football rankings, as well as potentially to negotiate huge TV contracts with the major networks. This set off a domino-like chain of events, as the Big East scrambled to maintain an eight-team football slate, while retaining its rich basketball affiliations. Conference USA lured a few members from the WAC, which lured several members of lower-major conferences. The dominoes were set into motion.

Conferences with new members for 2005-2006, in order of biggest to smallest dominoes:

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
Boston College (Big East)
Clemson
Duke

Florida State
Georgia Tech
Maryland
Miami
(Big East)*
North Carolina
North Carolina State
Virginia
Virginia Tech (Big East)*
Wake Forest

*2004-2005 season members.

BIG EAST CONFERENCE
(Boston College, Miami, Virginia Tech to ACC)
Cincinnati (C-USA)
UConn
DePaul (C-USA)
Georgetown
Louisville (C-USA)
Marquette (C-USA)
Notre Dame
Pittsburgh
Providence
Rutgers
St John's
Seton Hall
South Florida (C-USA)
Syracuse
Villanova
West Virginia
CONFERENCE USA
(Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, South Florida to Big East; TCU to MWC; Charlotte, Saint Louis to A-10)
East Carolina
Houston
Marshall (MAC)
Memphis
Rice
Southern Methodist (WAC)
Southern Mississippi
Tulane
Tulsa (WAC)
UAB
UCF (Atlantic Sun)
UTEP (WAC)
ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
Charlotte (CUSA)
Dayton
Duquesne
Fordham
George Washington
LaSalle
UMass
Rhode Island
Richmond
Saint Bonaventure
Saint Joseph's
Saint Louis (CUSA)
Temple
Xavier
WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
(SMU, Tulsa, UTEP to C-USA)
Boise State
Fresno State
Hawaii
Idaho (Big West)
Louisiana Tech
Nevada
New Mexico State (Sun Belt)
San Jose State
Utah State (Big West)
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Air Force
BYU
Colorado State
New Mexico
San Diego
TCU (from C-USA)
UNLV
Utah
Wyoming
BIG WEST CONFERENCE
(Utah State to WAC, Idaho to WAC)
Cal Poly
Cal State Fullerton
Cal State Northridge
Long Beach State
UC-Irvine
Pacific
UC-Riverside
UC-Santa Barbara
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
(Marshall to CUSA)

Akron
Ball State
Bowling Green
Buffalo
Central Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Kent State
Miami (OH)
Northern Illinois
Ohio
Toledo
Western Michigan
COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
Delaware
Drexel
George Mason
Georgia State (Atlantic Sun)
Hofstra
James Madison
UNC Wilmington
Northeastern (America East)
Old Dominion
Towson
VCU
William & Mary
ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE
(UCF to CUSA, Georgia State to CAA, Troy to Sun Belt)
Belmont
Campbell
East Tennessee (Southern)
Florida Atlantic
Gardner-Webb
Jacksonville
Kennesaw State (Div II)
Lipscomb
Mercer
North Florida (Div II)
Stetson
SUN BELT CONFERENCE**
Arkansas State
Arkansas-Little Rock
Denver
Florida International
Louisiana-Lafayette
Middle Tennessee State
New Orleans
North Texas
South Alabama
Troy State (Atlantic Sun)
Western Kentucky

**Louisiana-Monroe will leave the Southland to join the Sun Belt in 2006-2007.
AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE
(Northeastern to CAA)
Albany
Binghamton
Boston University
Hartford
Maine
Maryland-Baltimore County
New Hampshire
Stony Brook
Vermont
No Changes Big South, Big Sky, Big Ten, Big XII, Horizon, Ivy, MAAC, MCC, MEAC, MVC, NEC, OVC, Pac-10, Patriot, SEC, Southern, Southland**, SWAC, WCC