First Nebraska and Colorado started the musical chairs when they defected to the Big Ten and Pac-10. And Utah came along to join the Buffs out West.
Now Pitt and Syracuse have been accepted in the ACC, bringing their total to 14 teams.
Most sportswriters and critics originally thought prior to the Pitt-Syracuse movement that we were headed for a three conference major power system with the Big East, Big 12 and ACC on the verge of ruin.
I now believe we will soon be looking at a four major conference structure for both football and basketball that will include 16 teams per conference and 64 universities.
Currently with Pitt and Syracuse applying to the ACC, 50 universities comprise those four remaining power conferences - 14 in the ACC and 12 each in the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.
I see 19 schools remaining (counting independent Notre Dame and current outsiders TCU and Boise State) from the Big East and Big 12 on the brink of scrambling for 14 spots. That leaves five schools eventually on an island trying to stay afloat.
The simplest approach of selecting 14 of 19, rather than drawing straws, could be this:
A) Texas is the key. Money is the issue. Unless they want to be on an island with other Big 12 teams, swallow your pride, share your profits and join the best possible, not to mention richest return on your dollar, conference - the SEC.
If the Longhorns do, chances are three other Texas schools (Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor) would and could follow, bringing the SEC total to 16 teams.
B) Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are already considering the Pac-12, and why not? Geographically it's the closest and if they make the move, Kansas and Kansas State should follow if Plan A takes hold, bringing the Pac-12 to 16 teams, just like the SEC.
C) The Big Ten, currently at 12 teams, needs to keep up with the Joneses. If we have Iowa, why not Iowa State and Missouri on the doorsteps of these schools, not to mention newly-acquired Nebraska. That leaves two more for 16 teams.
From the remaining six teams in the Big East, and talk of Rutgers and UConn completing the field of 16 for the ACC, that would leave WVU, South Florida, Cincinnati and Louisville.
Personally, I feel the best candidate, in looking at the track records of football and basketball, would be the Mountaineers. And before selecting a 16th team, why not try to entice major independent Notre Dame into the Big Ten?
The Irish already play the likes of Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue. They've played PSU from time to time and are about as close to Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State as you can get. ND would make the perfect fit.
D) Finally, if the ACC isn't happy with talk about Rutgers and UConn making 15 and 16, there is always South Florida, Cincy and/or Louisville.
Unfortunately, any way you slice it, the Big East is going to end up suffering over the long haul.
E) Although I mentioned TCU and Boise State in the mix of 19 candidates, I have to wonder how they would fare 10 years down the road with a heavy schedule of major conference opponents week in and week out - not to mention both schools' basketball programs don't attract fear in the hearts of any of the other major universities at this time.
And the BCS? Why should we need one?
Each of the four 16-team conferences could have their own championship in late November/early December like always and then take the four winners. Add a game in mid-December - a semifinal between the four conferences and take the two winners and determine a national champion come New Year's Day.
If you want to still have all those other lackluster bowls with 6-6 teams, fine.
But knowing ahead of time a national champion will come from the 64-team field of four major conferences eliminates all the guesswork and arguments brought on by the BCS.
Give kids their money's worth
I am writing this letter regarding a junior high girls basketball game which I attended recently at Altoona Area Junior High School.
In light of the recent pay-to-play policy adopted by the Altoona School District, I was appalled at what I witnessed.
Although I was there to watch an eighth-grade game, I sat back and watched as numerous seventh graders were inserted into the lineup ahead of eighth graders.
I watched several eighth graders play three minutes while seventh graders played most of the game - as well as the whole seventh grade game to follow.
I believe if the AASD is going to play by the pay-to-play policy, it should be better organized and fair to every paying child and parent.
Keep the seventh graders on the seventh grade team and give everyone a chance to play ball.
Douglas D. Wolf
(Editor's note: According to Altoona Area High School Athletic Director Phil Riccio, insufficient numbers on the two eighth-grade teams necessitated bringing some seventh graders up to fill out the rosters. Those seventh graders, he said, still compete on the seventh-grade teams.)