What is the End-Game of College Football Realignment?

Omar Zahran
7 min readJul 27, 2022

Two conferences get stronger, and the professional status of college football has never been clearer

This country has always had an issue with monopolies, but it has seemed relatively okay with duopolies. In the cell phone space, Apple and Samsung dominate the landscape. In soft drinks, it is Coca-Cola and Pepsi. And so it seems, the college football duopoly of the SEC and Big Ten has fully manifested. These two conferences were the dominant draws already. Still, that position of power has been thoroughly reinforced with the inclusion of Texas and Oklahoma in the SEC and UCLA and USC in the Big 10. For the last decade, college football has been a top-heavy sport, but the stacking of these two conferences makes you wonder what the end game is.

The Rise of the Super Conference

With this next round of conference realignment, the Big 10 and SEC account for 16 of the 25 teams in ESPN’s preseason top 25 rankings. The balance of power is now firmly in the hands of the two conferences that have dominated the college football landscape for the last couple of decades (save for moments of brilliance from Clemson). This means that these conferences generate more revenue than conferences like the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12. ESPN and FOX have put their money into these two conferences, and as a result, high-profile schools want a piece of that pie.

With those revenue-generating TV deals, comes the potential for more name, image, and likeness (NIL) endorsements. College football is fast becoming a professional game with the advent of NIL and these schools have realized that they will be more enticing for high school recruits if they are playing in conferences that air the games that are featured on College Gameday. The decision is easy to understand from the perspective of a school like Texas. They can easily sell the Texas brand going head to head with the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida as opposed to playing Kansas State or Iowa State in the Big 12.

This simple economic equation lends itself to the reality of the super conference. A collection of schools…