...and let's recognize before we go any further that there is no certainty that all four schools will.
But if they were to, then the beginning stages of the so-called super conferences could begin falling into place. What follows is one scenario of how the four such conferences might form:
The SEC would be set with two eight-team divisions, including:
The ACC (losing Clemson and Florida State) likely would move to pick up 6 football-playing schools from the current Big East. Once it did, the league could shape up like this:
Cincinnati (from Big East)
Connecticut (from Big East)
Rutgers (from Big East)
Syracuse (from Big East)
West Virginia (from Big East)
Louisville (from Big East)
North Carolina State
The pillaging of the Big East football-playing schools by other conferences would continue with Pittsburgh, Texas Christian and South Florida all going elsewhere. The conference would be left with its 8 basketball-only programs (which includes Notre Dame).
The Big 10 (which already has 12 teams) would be positioned to quickly add four teams, and move to a line up that could look like this:
BIG 10 EAST:
Pittsburgh (from the Big East)
BIG 10 WEST:
Iowa State (from Big 12)
Kansas (from Big 12)
Kansas State (from Big 12)
The Pacific-12 also would be in line to complete the destruction of the current Big 12 and Big East. Its two-division alignment could shape up like this:
Oklahoma (from Big 12)
Oklahoma State (from Big 12)
Texas Christian (from Big East)
Texas Tech (from Big 12)
Now, there are three huge assumptions associated with these super-conference ideas, specifically that Brigham Young, Notre Dame and Texas will be independents in football.
*BYU already has declared its independence and plans to compete in the West Coast Conference in all other sports.
*Notre Dame's independence in football and association with the Big East in almost every other sport likely would not change.
*Texas moving to an independent status in football seems logical, but where its other sports teams would compete is much less clear. The national status of the men's and women's basketball programs and the baseball program by themselves would demand that Texas finds a powerful association outside football. But where?
Geographically, the Mountain West Conference makes sense, but the quality of the athletic competition top to bottom is average. The Longhorns more likely would seek affiliation with Conference-USA, where Houston, Rice, Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso provide strong regional rivalries and where Memphis offers a recognized basketball program.
Now, if BYU and Texas were to opt for a more potent overall conference affiliation, then it would be immediately welcomed into the Pac-16 (likely at the expense of Texas Christian and Texas Tech, both of which would seek to join the Mountain West).
On one level, the super-conference structure appears inevitable; there are too many dollars out there, and enough college presidents and athletic directors that do not want to be seen as failing to position their schools for the pot-of-gold mentality.
On the other hand, does the super-conference structure destroy and pretense that collegiate athletics are truly part of the universities to which they are part? In a word, yes.