Consequently, my radical realignment proposal has been modified to include two deserving teams, Miami (Ohio) and Northwestern, in the Midwestern Conference while sending a less deserving team, Illinois, to Conference U.S.A.
You're just not B.C.S. conference material. Deal with it.
This, therefore, is how the alignment of Conference U.S.A. would look under the revised proposal:
Adding the Fighting Illini to this league would allow the Champaign-Urbana squad to compete at its own level and the schedule Illinois would face wouldn't even be all that odd, despite the fact that the institution's Big Ten affiliation dates back to 1896.
Times change, Grange. Roll with the punches.
Following the two teams' first meeting in the 1952 Rose Bowl, the squad from the Land of Lincoln scheduled home and home series with Stanford in 1953 and 1954, 1973 and 1974, 1977 and 1978, and 1983 and 1984.
Baylor showed up on the Fighting Illini's schedule in 1976. Duke lost to Illinois in Champaign in 1965 and Tulane won there in 1970. Rutgers appeared on the Illini's football schedule in 2005 and the Scarlet Knights will take on Illinois again in 2006. The Illini's gridiron history against Kentucky dates back to 1909.
Illinois and Indiana, as former Big Ten rivals, each would serve as the other's permanent opponent from the opposite division. As an added bonus, the addition of Illinois to the league would make Conference U.S.A. one of the N.C.A.A.'s premiere basketball conferences.
"Wait a second. Every year, we have to play Indiana, Kentucky, Stanford, Wake Forest . . . and now Illinois, too?"
The new and improved Midwestern Conference would be comprised as follows:
Under this updated version of the Midwestern Conference, the team Ara Parseghian coached from 1956 to 1963 would square off annually in a divisional grudge match against the team Ara Parseghian coached from 1964 to 1974. The Fighting Irish and the Wildcats have squared off periodically over the years, including yearly series from 1968 to 1976 and from 1992 to 1995.
As with the revised version of Conference U.S.A., the permanent non-division rivals would remain unchanged, only, under this arrangement, Northwestern's annual Northern Division opponent would be Minnesota.
This should produce some interesting football, as eight of the last 13 series meetings between the Golden Gophers and the Wildcats have been close contests, producing such scores as 28-28 in 1988, 20-18 in 1989, 28-26 in 1993, 37-31 in 1994, 26-24 in 1996, 41-35 in 2000, 23-17 in 2001, and 45-42 in 2002.
Once the Minnesota-Northwestern game becomes an annual affair, surely someone will be able to come up with a pig or an axe or a bucket or a cannon or a jug or one of the other umpteen hundred-year-old cardboard boxes of junk somebody found in a field or down a well or in the ruins of a burned farmhouse or down an abandoned mine shaft and turned into a dadgum Big Ten victory trophy.
Admittedly, it seems rather unlikely that my radical realignment proposal will come to pass, even with Dave's endorsement, but you never know.
In fact, the fellows over at Burnt Orange Nation may take pride in the fact that the defending national champions appear to be leading the way. Part of my proposal, after all, was to revive the Southwest Conference and populate it with the likes of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Christian, and Texas-El Paso.
Sure enough, the Longhorns recently have augmented their future schedules by adding T.C.U. in 2007, Arkansas in 2008 and 2009, and U.T.E.P. in 2008 and 2009, in addition to their usual Big 12 opponents.
It looks like Texas is gearing up to play the same schedule the 'Horns would face under my modified S.W.C. setup. With the No. 1 team in the land taking the lead, can the rest of radical realignment be far behind?