July the first marks the first day of another round of realignment in College Sports and specifically in College Football, with most of the noise coming from those joining the Big Ten, Maryland and Rutgers, and also Louisville and becoming a full time member in the ACC.
Maryland‘s ugly break with the ACC is over. They paid a lot of money for it, but eventually they’ll make it up through the Big Ten’s promising TV contracts. The next step will be to make their football team relevant again. The Terps had their first winning season since 2010 last year, a first for Randy Edsall who will be starting his fourth year as head coach in 2014. A 7-6 season was enough to make the Military Bowl, where they lost to Marshall. Their overtime win on the road against Virginia Tech was probably their biggest moment under Edsall, who has gone 13-24 with Maryland.
Their first year in the Big Ten includes road games at Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan, while playing Ohio State and Michigan State at home.
Rutgers arrive from the ever changing American conference. The Scarlet Knights had a losing season for only the second time since 2004 under Kyle Flood, who has been the head coach since 2012, going 15-11 so far with Rutgers. They still made a bowl game last year (the Pinstripe Bowl), losing to Notre Dame. They lost six of their last eight games last season, managing to pick up only one road win all year.
In the Big Ten, their conference road schedule will include visits to Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan State and finish the season in what the conference is hoping will turn into a new rivalry against Maryland.
Louisville are headed into the ACC with a mixture of old and new. A new head coach with Bobby Petrino returning to the job he filled so well between 2003 and 2006, going 41-9 and winning one BCS bowl game. They also lost Teddy Bridgewater to the draft, which means a new quarterback and lower expectations than usual for the Cards, who lost only three games through 2012 and 2013 under Charlie Strong.
The Cardinals don’t have to play Florida State away, but they get to face both them and Clemson (on the road) in a rough introduction to the conference, finishing the season against Notre Dame, who aren’t a full member in football.
- Tulane from CUSA to American
- Tulsa from CUSA to American
- East Carolina from CUSA to American
- Western Kentucky from Sun Belt to CUSA
- Idaho from FBS Independent (football) and WAC (non-football) to Sun Belt (football-only) and Big Sky (non-football)
- New Mexico State from FBS Independent to Sun Belt (football-only)
- Old Dominion from FCS Independent to Conference USA (football-only, non-football already in CUSA). FCS to FBS move
- Appalachian State from SoCon (FCS) to Sun Belt. FCS to FBS move
- Georgia Southern from SoCon (FCS) to Sun Belt. FCS to FBS move
- Elon from SoCon to CAA
- VMI from Big South to SoCon
- Mercer from Pioneer (football) and Atlantic Sun (non-football) to SoCon (full)
- Monmouth from FCS Independent to Big South (football-only)
- Davidson from SoCon to Atlantic 10 (non-football since football is in non-scholly FCS Pioneer League)
- ETSU from Atlantic Sun to SoCon (non-football, football re-starts in 2015 in SoCon)