Radical Realignment (Part VI): The Central Conference

The rearranging of the college football landscape proceeds apace, as I have introduced revamped versions of such leagues as the Sun Belt, Conference U.S.A., the M.A.C., and the Mountain West.  

The time has now come to throw you completely for a loop as I introduce an entirely new league, which I call . . . the Central Conference.  

The Central Conference, as its name suggests, is concentrated largely (though not exclusively) in the middle of the country and composed of disparate elements drawn from such defunct current leagues as the A.C.C., the Big East, and the Big 12.  Here is how the Central Conference divisions break down:  

Western Division:
Kansas
Kansas State
Nebraska
New Mexico
New Mexico State
Southern Mississippi

Eastern Division:
East Carolina
Louisville
Memphis
Middle Tennessee State
North Carolina
N.C. State

Why the Central Conference?  Because I'm ready to see this monstrosity of a costumed sideline mascot throw down with Herbie Husker at the 50 yard line.

The Central Conference is an amalgamation of teams aspiring higher, from former powers fallen on hard times to mid-major programs seeking to move up in weight class.  This arrangement gives all concerned the opportunity to establish---or re-establish---themselves in the college football firmament.  

There are those, I am sure, who will find it blasphemous to mix such seemingly mismatched competitors.  I would remind you, however, that all may not be as it first appears.  

Some, for instance, may be appalled at the idea of Kansas State, which won 11 games per year in six of the seven seasons from 1997 to 2003, sharing a conference with East Carolina, which has lost 37 of its last 49 games.  However, the Pirates have recorded victories over West Virginia, South Carolina, Miami, and N.C. State as recently as 1999 and E.C.U. defeated Louisville in 1997 and in 2000.  

Furthermore, while Bill Lewis's East Carolina squad was going 11-1 in 1991, Bill Snyder's Kansas State team was posting its first winning season (7-4) since 1982.  In one particularly heinous stretch from 1985 to 1989, the Wildcats posted a record of 4-50-1.  K-State has no business looking down its nose at the Pirates . . . particularly not in light of the Wildcats' non-conference scheduling.  

Emily Procter attended East Carolina University, so I don't want to hear a word out of K.S.U., all right?  

Likewise, there doubtless are Cornhuskers fans who would scoff at the notion of having to play in the same league with the Golden Eagles.  Such boosters would do well to recall the final score from Lincoln on September 11, 2004:  Southern Mississippi 21, Nebraska 17.  

The 12-member Central Conference would adhere to the established rules regarding interdivisional scheduling, with each team having one permanent opponent from the other division.  Geography dictates that Southern Miss and Memphis face off every year, while ardor for basketball favors an annual tilt pitting Kansas against North Carolina.  

"I'm sorry . . . we just scheduled whom?"  

Kansas State and East Carolina can battle it out every fall to determine which is the better purple-clad Central Conference squad, while New Mexico State and North Carolina State will offer a yearly display of sideline coaching antics.  Bill Callahan's Cornhuskers can mix it up annually with Bobby Petrino's Cardinals, which leaves New Mexico to square off with Middle Tennessee each autumn.  

The Central Conference championship game will take place on the home field of the Kansas City Chiefs each December.  

Arrowhead Stadium, where the Central Conference determines who's best in the middle.

There you have it, folks . . . the Central Conference.  

Coming up next . . . the Pacific Coast Conference.

Go 'Dawgs!

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