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College football realignment recap: Who’s switching conferences this summer?


College football realignment recap: Who’s switching conferences this summer?

Three years after Texas and Oklahoma announced their move to the SEC and set off a tectonic shift across college sports, the Longhorns and Sooners are finally actually joining the SEC.

On July 1, the two blue bloods’ departure from the Big 12 became official, as did many other conference realignment moves, which have trickled down to every corner of Division I. The 10-school exodus from the Pac-12 to other conferences will become official on Aug. 1.

In total, 15 FBS schools will change conferences this summer. When you include the four Sun Belt changes in 2022 and 14 more FBS changes in 2023, a total of 33 FBS teams have changed conferences since Texas and Oklahoma announced their move. That’s nearly a quarter of the FBS, which has grown from 130 teams to 134 in that time. And this doesn’t include the three additional moves planned for the summer of 2025.

To help you keep track of all the moves, here is a refresher on the changes now in effect (or that will soon take effect) and which schools belong to which FBS conferences in 2024.

Big Ten (18 teams)

  • Will add USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 on Aug. 1 (announced in 2022)
  • Will add Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12 on Aug. 1 (announced in 2023)

Full members as of Aug. 1, 2024:

When Texas and Oklahoma announced their move in 2021, the Big Ten helped form “The Alliance” with the ACC and Pac-12 to slow down realignment and keep conferences from destroying each other. Or so it seemed. A year later, the Big Ten announced the additions of USC and UCLA, as well as a new TV deal. The league opted against adding Oregon and Washington at the time. But last summer, as the Pac-12 struggled to put together a TV deal, Oregon and Washington jumped for Big Ten membership at a discounted share at the last minute, unraveling the West Coast’s power conference.

The Big Ten has done away with divisions and now sits at 18 teams, surpassing the late 1990s WAC as the largest FBS conference since the Southern Conference had 23 teams in the early 1930s.

SEC (16 teams)

  • Added Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 (announced in 2021)

Full members as of July 1, 2024:

The move that started this realignment wave might be the easiest to understand. The SEC was already in Texas, and adding the Longhorns and Sooners’ historic programs keeps the conference in contiguous states. Football divisions have also been scrapped here.

Big 12 (16 teams)

Full members as of Aug. 1, 2024:

The Big 12 looked on the verge of collapse in 2021 when it was caught off-guard by Texas and Oklahoma’s exit. It not only survived, officially adding four schools last season, but it now grows to 16 teams by taking the “Four Corners” Pac-12 schools, which came after more than a year of courtship.

ACC (17 football teams)

  • Added SMU from the American Athletic Conference (announced in 2023)
  • Will add Cal and Stanford from the Pac-12 on Aug. 1 (announced in 2023)

Full members as of July 1, 2024:

(Notre Dame is a non-football member)

The ACC made a proactive realignment move in adding Cal, Stanford and SMU after the Pac-12 unraveled, though NC State needed to flip its initial position to make it happen. Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina voted against the move. Clemson and FSU have since filed lawsuits against the league in hopes of negating the league’s grant of rights and potentially leaving the conference. Realignment may not be done yet, but the ACC hopes it has stabilized itself on the back end in that event.

Pac-12 (Two teams)

  • Will lose USC and UCLA to the Big Ten on Aug. 1 (announced in 2022)
  • Will lose Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten on Aug. 1 (announced in 2023)
  • Will lose Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah to the Big 12 on Aug. 1 (announced in 2023)
  • Will lose Cal and Stanford to the ACC on Aug. 1 (announced in 2023)

Full members as of Aug. 1, 2024:

There will be no Pac-12 championship this year with just two teams. Oregon State and Washington State will each play at least six Mountain West football games but essentially operate as independents. The Mountain West made room for the games by cutting its schedule down to seven conference games this season. A potential merger between the sides is possible, but OSU and WSU have until 2026 to figure out their plans.

American Athletic Conference (14 football teams)

  • Lost SMU to the ACC (announced in 2023)
  • Added Army from independence as a football-only member (announced in 2023)

Members as of July. 1, 2024:

The AAC has lost four schools to power conferences in the last two years, but the addition of Army will keep the league at 14 teams. Army and Navy will keep their post-championship weekend matchup, but it will be a nonconference game and won’t factor into potential College Football Playoff scenarios.

Conference USA (10 teams)

Full members as of July 1, 2024:

CUSA was down to just five future schools at one point in 2021. But the league held together, added four schools for 2023 and is now at a round 10 for 2024 with the addition of Kennesaw State. The Owls only began playing football in 2015, but the suburban Atlanta school has been a solid FCS program.

No changes: MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt.

Coming in 2025: UMass joins the MAC; Delaware and Missouri State join Conference USA.

(Photo: Daniel Dunn / USA Today)

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