Sports What Ifs.

1996 NASL Season
Eastern Conference
Chicago Sting
Columbus Crew
Cosmos
DC United
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Montreal Manic
New England Revolution
NY/NJ MetroStars
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Toronto Blizzard
Western Conference
Colorado Rapids
Dallas Burn
Kansas City Wiz
Los Angeles Galaxy
Portland Timbers
San Diego Sockers
San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders
Tulsa Roughnecks
Vancouver Whitecaps
NASL Playoffs
Eastern Conference: Semifinals — Tampa Bay d. Toronto 2 games to 1; DC United d. Cosmos 2 games to 1; DC d. Tampa Bay 2 games to 0
Western Conference: Semifinals — LA Galaxy d. San Diego 2 games to 1; San Jose d. Seattle 2 games to 0; LA d. San Jose 2 games to 1
SOCCER BOWL ‘96 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, FL — DC United 2 (Diaz Arce ‘26, Sanneh ‘57), LA Galaxy 1 (Shearer ‘87).
 
1995 NFL
AFC East
Baltimore Stars
Buffalo Bills
Jacksonville Bulls
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets
AFC Central
Carolina Bandits (relocated from Tampa Bay 1991, played at North Carolina State University in Raleigh until 1995)
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Houston Oilers
Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC West
Arizona Outlaws
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders (moved back from Los Angeles 1995)
San Diego Chargers
Seattle Seahawks
NFC East
Dallas Cowboys
New Jersey Generals
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Tennessee Cardinals (moved to Nashville for 1995 season)
Washington Redskins
NFC Central
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Orlando Renegades
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West
Atlanta Falcons
Birmingham Stallions
Memphis Showboats
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams (moved from Los Angeles for 1995 season)

Interesting. I would have expected the Bandits to win out in Tampa and the Bucs to have to fund a new home.
 
Interesting. I would have expected the Bandits to win out in Tampa and the Bucs to have to fund a new home.
Honestly I would expect so long as Hugh Culverhouse ran the Bucs, if any other football team came to Tampa and made an effort at winning, the Bucs would had been sent packing in short order.

I say this as a Tampa native and a Bucs fan. The Culverhouse years were horrorable dark years in our history. Then again outside the late 90s and early 2000s our history isn't the greatest.
 
What about having New Orleans in the NFC South, either Memphis or Atlanta in the NFC East, and Dallas in the NFC South? That would make more sense geographically.
That was proposed in the TL. Dallas would never agree to leave the NFC East, and lose games against the Redskins, Giants and Eagles nor lose the foothold into the U.K. Market that the Monarchs provide, no matter how much geographical sense it made. Plus, the Cowboys had more leverage in resisting such a move that the Cardinals, Seahawks, Generals, et al didn’t have.

New Orleans in the NFC South makes sense in this TL, but if Dallas won’t move, who will? If only Birmingham or Orlando would move west.

If only....

Birmingham won’t move, not with the franchise‘s African-American owner wanting to stay in the south, and the team being seen as a staple of the south’s African-American community and culture in a country that — without forcing this discussion to move into Chat — is more blue and progressive than OTL.

Orlando would be the likely choice to move to the NFC West, and here are your choices:
* San Antonio, Texas — sufficient market, hungry for football
* Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — slightly smaller market, hungry for some kind of pro sports
* Portland, Oregon — could support a third pro team, but there’s the problem of Aunt Teefa and her rowdy kids who fight the other kids in those WWE-style free-for-alls every Saturday and Sunday night downtown; they’re why backers are pushing the idea of Nike Stadium in Eugene...
* Honolulu, Hawaii — the Bring Back the Hawaiians movement never truly died out. If the league can put two teams in London...
* Sacramento, California —Governor Newsom’s executive order banning all sports through the end of 2020 almost did in the Monarchs and forced the Kings to look elsewhere...
* San Diego, California — even if you build it (a new NFL stadium), would the Renegades move?
 
Honestly I would expect so long as Hugh Culverhouse ran the Bucs, if any other football team came to Tampa and made an effort at winning, the Bucs would had been sent packing in short order.

I say this as a Tampa native and a Bucs fan. The Culverhouse years were horrorable dark years in our history. Then again outside the late 90s and early 2000s our history isn't the greatest.
I deliberately avoided mentioning Culverhouse by name because I didn't want to dredge up horrible memories.
 
Interesting. I would have expected the Bandits to win out in Tampa and the Bucs to have to fund a new home.
The Bandits were the new kid in town. The Bucs were established enough to keep from being overwhelmed by the Bandits, especially since the NFL version ended up a different breed of cat than its free-wheeling, popular predecessor. The USFL’s Wikipedia page for its never-played 1986 season references the suicide of the team’s minority owner Stephen Arky and the terminal illness of majority owner John Bassett, creating instability that threatened to be the franchise’s demise until the USFL found new owners to replace them. ITTL, Bassett sells the team to Lee Scarfone and Tony Cunningham, who jumped at the opportunity to own an NFL franchise. Wrong decisions in hiring general managers and coaches who made wrong decisions in the draft and in signing free agents (Freddie Joe Nunn and Buster Rhymes? Really???), which led to loss after loss after loss (remember that 0-16 season in ‘89?), took their toll on the franchise. Not even a new ownership group led by Burt Reynolds, and a slick marketing campaign built around rookies Troy Aikman, Eric Metcalf and Broderick Thomas in 1989 could reverse the team’s fortunes. After going 2-14, Scarfone and Cunningham sold the team to Jerry Richardsdon in 1990. Richardson relocated the team to Raleigh for 1991, playing at NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium until Ericsson Stadium opened in Charlotte in 1996.
 
2020 Major League Soccer season (United States top two divisions)
MLS Premiership (Division I status)

Atlanta United SC
Chicago Sting
Chivas LA
Colorado Rapids
Columbus Crew
Cosmos
LA Galaxy
LAFC
Houston Dynamo
Minnesota United
New York Red Bulls
Philadelphia Union
Portland Timbers
Real Salt Lake
San Diego Sockers
San Francisco Deltas (promoted from MLS Championship)
San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders
Sporting Kansas City
Tampa Bay Rowdies

MLS Championship (Division II status)
Austin FC
Charlotte FC
Chicago Fire
DC United (relegated from MLS Premiership)
Detroit City SC
FC Dallas
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Indy Eleven
Louisville City SC (promoted from USL Championship)
Inter Miami
Las Vegas Lights SC
Miami FC
Nashville SC
New England Revolution
North Carolina SC
Orlando City SC
Phoenix Rising SC
Sacramento Republic FC
Saint Louis FC
Tulsa FC

USL Championship (Division III)
Atlanta United 2 (cannot be promoted or relegated per charter)
Austin Bold FC
Birmingham Legion
Charleston Battery
Colorado Springs Switchbacks
El Paso Locomotive FC
FC Cincinnati (relegated from MLS Championship)
Hartford Athletic
LA Galaxy II (cannot be promoted or relegated per charter)
Memphis 901 FC
New Mexico United
North Texas SC (promoted from USL League One)
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Orange County SC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Red Bulls II (cannot be promoted or relegated per charter)
Reno 1868 SC
Rio Grande Valley FC
San Antonio FC
Tacoma Defiance

USL League One (Division IV)
California United Strikers FC (promoted from USL League Two)
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
East Bay SC (relegated from USL Championship)
FC Tucson
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Lansing Ignite FC
Loudoun United (cannot be promoted or relegated)
New England Revolution II (cannot be promoted or relegated)
Orlando City B (cannot be promoted or relegated)
Penn FC
Philadelphia Union II (cannot be promoted or relegated)
Portland Timbers 2 (cannot be promoted or relegated)
Real Monarchs (cannot be promoted or relegated)
Rochester Rhinos
San Diego Loyal SC (cannot be promoted or relegated)
South Georgia Tormenta FC
Sporting Kansas City II (cannot be promoted or relegated)
Stumptown Athletic
Union Omaha
RELEGATED TO USL LEAGUE TWO: Michigan Stars FC
 
Canadian soccer (Division I status)
Canadian Premier League

Atletico Ottawa
Cavalry FC
FC Edmonton
Forge FC
HFX Wanderers FC
Montreal Impact SC
Ottawa Fury SC
Pacific FC
Toronto Blizzard
Toronto FC
Valour FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
York9 FC
 
So back in the late 40's there was a league called the All America Football Conference, and it was most notable for being where the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers got their start. The problem was that the league wanted to add a third team and there was controversy as to who this would be. Most wanted the Buffalo Bills (not the future AFL team) to join and they had good attendance and had made the playoffs and had better ownership. Instead, the Baltimore Colts (not the current Colts team as they were founded in Baltimore in 1953 and were green instead of blue) were added but folded in 1950. Now my question is, what if Buffalo had been invited instead? Plus there are lots of butterflies, including that Johnny Unitas never becomes the quintessential NFL quarterback, or does so with another team. Here's my guess for what happens.

1950. The Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills are added to the NFL.

1951. The New York Yanks fold instead of moving to Dallas Texas.

1956. After being drafted but cut by the Steelers in 1953, Johnny Unitas signs with the Cleveland Browns. While he does end up becoming a starter, he isn't quite the legend he is in OTL, but does have some championships since the Browns still have players like Jim Brown.


1959. The American Football League is started. Lamar Hunt, Bud Adams, Bob Howsam and Max Winter still are owners in the league though Baltimore's Carroll Rosenbloom also gets a franchise and the league plans to start out with teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, Baltimore, New York and Minnesota. Eventually in an effort to undermine the new league, the NFL owners tried to lure some of the teams into the NFL. Eventually the Minnesota Vikings accepted. Baltimore, led by Carroll Rosenbloom was almost accepted but George Marshall, the Redskins owner, had not wanted a rival so close to Washington, and while he didn't want another Southern team, he accepted a team in Dallas Texas, later to become the Cowboys.

1960. The Dallas Cowboys take the field.

The American Football League also begins play with the Dallas Texans, Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, New York Titans, Boston Patriots, and Baltimore Colts.

1962- The Chargers move to San Diego

1963. The Texans move to Kansas City and become the Chiefs. New York changes its name to the Jets

1966- The NFL expands and adds teams in New Orleans and Atlanta

1968. The AFL adds teams in Cincinnati and Miami.

Things mostly go the same as OTL. I'm sure there would be a whole lot of butterflies involving players, but I figure that as far as the teams themselves go, there wouldn't be many changes though if there would be, please be free to comment.
 
Honestly I would expect so long as Hugh Culverhouse ran the Bucs, if any other football team came to Tampa and made an effort at winning, the Bucs would had been sent packing in short order.

I say this as a Tampa native and a Bucs fan. The Culverhouse years were horrorable dark years in our history. Then again outside the late 90s and early 2000s our history isn't the greatest.
I remember back in the late 80s the Cleveland Browns we're an incredibly popular team down there, so much so that the number of Browns backers was several times the number of Bucs fans.

It makes me wonder, would a White Sox team Moving to St. Pete have some impact on the Buccaneers also, true Tampa and st. Petersburg are different cities but it is close enough in the market that if the White Sox do decently it might drain the number of Buccaneers fans even more, at least during the first month of the NFL season.
 
hings mostly go the same as OTL. I'm sure there would be a whole lot of butterflies involving players, but I figure that as far as the teams themselves go, there wouldn't be many changes though if there would be, please be free to comment.
Nothing changes them. I wonder how would have been if Hunt was able to buy the cardinals over the bidwill, they would have move chicago anyway so to texas(Texas Cardinals?) would have worked and no AFL them
 
You're right about Maryland.

As for the Big Ten... They pride themselves in being a "Public Ivy League" with everyone a member of the AAU. Kansas + Missouri to make 12? If they're expanding beyond that and can't poach anyone from this *Big East or ACC to get the BosWash tv markets... they'd have to reach to Texas. Big TV markets and prime recruiting ground. Texas and A&M, or Texas & Colorado if they're feeling frisky?

Conversely, I do like the idea of the Big Ten staying at ten, the rust belt step child of the *Power Five.



I'd say the impetus is still there to build a northeast power bball conference by the mid-80s.

My thoughts after pondering this on and off for the last week:
- Syracuse/Notre Dame[1]/Pitt/Penn State/Michigan State schedule each other pretty often in the 50s/60s as the biggest independent programs in the Northeast, with match ups helping to determine a national champion several times (e.g. Game of the Century, '66).
- West Virginia leaves the Southern Conference per OTL in '67 and schedules them more.
- The "Big Six" considers forming a conference starting in the late-60s. To make eight, they reach out to the service academies (Army/Navy). However, the Pentagon vetoes this proposal, in part because of rampant student activism on several campuses.
- Around 1975, when the NCAA basketball tournament expands, they successfully form a conference. They're all blue chip football programs with half of them claiming a National Championship since the War (Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Syracuse). Shoring up the basketball side would be the focus. A silver lining would be picking some weaker football sides to make conference play less of a gauntlet[2] - Temple and Cincinnati seem probable choices here. Both are within the footprint of the league while bringing basketball chops to the table. Add Louisville and you'd have the losing 3/4ths of the '59 Final Four[3]. On the other hand, Rutgers hasn't made a final four yet and their football team is still mostly scheduling arch-rivals Lehigh/Lafayette and the Ivy League - I'd say they make more sense in the 90s when this *Big East is looking more closely at media markets. Ditto Boston College - oddly enough Notre Dame only first played them in 1975.

As to what it is called... "Big East" seems the most obvious choice, even if Michigan State and Notre Dame are technically in the Midwest, since "Big Eight" is already taken.

[1] It doesn't seem like Notre Dame was destined to remain independent until they penned their gravy train contract with NBC in 1991. The Big Ten was pretty anti-Catholic as well which didn't help, whereas this league would seemingly be less so. It helps that John A. Hannah and Father Hesburgh served together on the US Civil Rights Commission throughout the 60s.
[2] Of the major conferences, only the Big Eight, Pac-8, and Southwest Conference were playing full round robin schedules at the time.
[3] Assuming an electrified butterfly net, of course...

Interesting you bring up Notre Dame. I know that in some ways their desire to stay Independent is a bit of a myth. Rockne wanted to get then into the Big Ten and they were even considered as a replacement for Chicago but were rejected due to anti Catholicism as iirc Fielding Yosef was straight up anti catholic while Woody Hayes did not want to split Ohio’s Catholic population of Notre Dame joined. So I could see them join such a league since they already would be playing Michigan State and Pitt.
 
How's this scenario?

The history of Division I remains unchanged until 1975 when the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) offers membership to William & Mary and they accept. They begin play in 1977. This results in Georgia Tech remaining with the Metro Conference. The next big change is that Holy Cross and Rutgers are among the founders of the Big East. Villanova joins in 1980.

A side effect of Georgia Tech remaining in the Metro is that Raycom ("superconference") report is commissioned earlier than OTL. The report recommends expanding the conference to sixteen member schools. The expansion schools include some major independents such Penn State and Pittsburgh. These schools are invited the Metro's annual meeting where the report is presented. As with OTL, the Metro rejects the report's recommendations. This leads Metro members Florida State and Georgia Tech talk with the invited schools about creating a new conference. In 1988, they establish the Eastern Seaboard Conference (ESB) with play to begin in 1990. The founding members are Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, South Carolina, Temple, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech. They sign a big money television contract with NBC.

The ESB's creation begins a wave of conference realignment. The SEC decides to expand to twelve. They approach Texas A&M (and Houston), but they are unwilling to pull the trigger. So, the SEC ends up grabbing Arkansas from the Southwest Conference (SWC). To reach twelve, SEC adds Louisville. Kentucky objects, but they lose to expansion vote, 7-3.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame attempts a secure their own television contract, but was unable to find any takers. At the same time, the Big Ten decides to explore their expansion options. They approach Notre Dame. The negotiations are going well until the Indiana AD shoots his mouth off and angers the Notre Dame alumni. This leads Notre Dame to joining the ACC. For their part, the ACC agrees to expand to twelve by 2000.

Not wanting to be left behind, the Big 8 decides to expand to twelve. Their initial choices are BYU, New Mexico, Texas, and Texas A&M. However, pressure from the Texas Lt. Governor results in the Big 8 taking two additional Texas (Houston and Texas Tech) in place of BYU and New Mexico. Due to the Big Ten trademarking "Big 12", the new conference is called the Golden West.

The remaining SWC members keep the conference going by adding other Division I-A independents. The Metro Conference decides to sponsor football in 1994. Just as in OTL, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) expands to sixteen by absorbing teams from the collapsing Big West. This arraignment only lasts three years. Tension between the old and new members results in some members forming a new conference, the Heartland Conference. In 2000, the American South Conference is formed by the remaining Division I-A independents.

------

DIVISION I-A (2000) - 118 schools

THE POWER SIX
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
ATLANTIC: Buffalo, Clemson, Navy, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Wake Forest,
COASTAL: Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, William & Mary,

BIG TEN CONFERENCE
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin

EASTERN SEABOARD CONFERENCE
NORTH: Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple
SOUTH: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia Tech

GOLDEN WEST CONFERENCE
NORTH: Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska
SOUTH: Houston, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

PAC-10 CONFERENCE
Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Washington State

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
EAST: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
WEST: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Louisiana State, Mississippi, Mississippi State

THE MID-MAJORS
AMERICAN SOUTH CONFERENCE
Army, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, South Florida, Troy State

HEARTLAND CONFERENCE
Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State. Nevada-Las Vegas, New Mexico, Texas-El Paso, Utah, Wyoming

METRO CONFERENCE
Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Northern Illinois, Southern Mississippi, Tulane

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan

SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE
Arkansas State, Baylor, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, New Mexico State, Rice, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian, Tulsa

WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah State

------

In 2004, the Big Ten decided to expand into new television markets. The targets would be the New York, Pennsylvania, and DC/Maryland markets. They approached Maryland, Penn State, and Rutgers plus Notre Dame for additional national coverage. Both Maryland and Notre Dame were unhappy, so they accepted the Big Ten's invitations. However, they were surprised when Penn State and Rutgers rejected their offer. Both schools were satisfied with the ESB. The attempted raid on their membership spurred the ESB into action. To block further expansion into their "territory", the ESB began talking to some ACC members. Duke and North Carolina were the first to be invited. The two With South Carolina already in ESB, Clemson knew they wouldn't be invited to join. So, they jumped to SEC. North Carolina State followed suit for the same reason. Later that year, the ESB became the first major conference to reach sixteen teams by adding Virginia (as "suggested" by the state legislature) and Connecticut. The remaining ACC schools invited additional schools to keep the conference alive. However, it would no longer be viewed as a major conference.

It wasn't until after the dust had settled with ACC that the PAC-10 began its expansion. Their first move was to add Colorado and Utah. Talks with Texas and Oklahoma followed. In response, the Big Ten invited Missouri and Nebraska and both accepted. This lead to Kansas and Kansas State applying to join the Big Ten. However, only Kansas was accepted. The Big Ten decided that Iowa State would be its sixteenth member (ignoring Iowa's objections). Seeing the writing on the wall, Texas A&M left for the SEC. At the same time, the PAC-12 admitted Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech. The SEC would also grow to sixteen by adding Houston.

The realignment of the Power Conferences also caused some adjustments among the mid-majors. In addition, Division I-A and Division I-AA would be renamed Division I FSA (Football Subdivision Alpha) and Division FSB (Football Subdivision Beta). In 2014, the Sun Belt Conference transitioned from Division I FSB to Division I FSA.

------

DIVISION I FSA (2020) - 132 schools
THE POWER FOUR
BIG TEN CONFERENCE
East Pod: Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State
North Pod: Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin
South Pod: Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
West Pod: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame

EASTERN SEABOARD CONFERENCE
East Pod: Boston College, Connecticut, Rutgers, Syracuse
North Pod: Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech
South Pod: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Carolina
West Pod: Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple, West Virginia

PAC-16 CONFERENCE
East Pod: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech
North Pod: Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State
South Pod: California, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA
West Pod: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
East Pod: Clemson, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina State
North Pod: Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
South Pod: Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State
West Pod: Arkansas, Houston, Louisiana State, Texas A&M

GROUP OF EIGHT (formally the Mid-Majors)
AMERICAN SOUTH CONFERENCE
Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, South Alabama, Texas State, Texas-San Antonio, Troy State, Western Kentucky

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
Army, Buffalo, Marshall, Massachusetts, Navy, Old Dominion, Wake Forest, William & Mary

HEARTLAND CONFERENCE
Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, Kansas State, Nevada-Las Vegas, New Mexico, Texas-El Paso, Tulsa, Wyoming

METRO CONFERENCE
Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida, East Carolina, Memphis, Northern Illinois, South Florida, Southern Mississippi, Tulane

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan

SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE
Arkansas State, Baylor, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, New Mexico State, Rice, Southern Methodist, Texas Christian

SUN BELT CONFERENCE
Appalachian State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, James Madison, Liberty

WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah State
 
ABA no merger, 1976-77
EASTERN DIVISION
Baltimore Claws
Carolina Cougars
Floridians
Indiana Pacers
Kentucky Colonels
Memphis Tams
New York Nets
Pittsburgh Condors
Spirits of St. Louis
Virginia Squires
WESTERN DIVISION
Anaheim Amigos
Dallas Chapparals
Denver Nuggets
Houston Mavericks
Los Angeles Conquistadors
Oakland Oaks
San Antonio Spurs
San Diego Sails
Utah Stars

ABA Finals -- Houston Mavericks d. Kentucky Colonels 4 games to 3
ABA Finals MVP -- David Thompson, Houston
All ABA Team
Artis Gilmore, C, Kentucky Colonels
Julius Erving, F, New York Nets
David Thompson, G, Houston Mavericks
Bob McAdoo, C-F, Houston Mavericks
Calvin Murphy, G, Houston Mavericks

Most Valuable Player -- Erving
Rookie of the Year -- Quinn Buckner, G, Indiana
Coach of the Year -- Gene Shue, Houston

NBA teams, alignment unchanged other than Golden State Warriors known ITTL as San Francisco Warriors (play in Cow Palace)

NBA Finals -- Boston Celtics d. Seattle SuperSonics 4 games to 2
 
The history of Division I remains unchanged until 1975 when the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) offers membership to William & Mary and they accept. They begin play in 1977. This results in Georgia Tech remaining with the Metro Conference. The next big change is that Holy Cross and Rutgers are among the founders of the Big East. Villanova joins in 1980.
William & Mary dropped to Division I-AA shortly after this. You might need to go back to the 1951 transcript-altering scandal - something that both ACC officials and the faculty administration would remember too well.


Not wanting to be left behind, the Big 8 decides to expand to twelve. Their initial choices are BYU, New Mexico, Texas, and Texas A&M. However, pressure from the Texas Lt. Governor results in the Big 8 taking two additional Texas (Houston and Texas Tech) in place of BYU and New Mexico. Due to the Big Ten trademarking "Big 12", the new conference is called the Golden West.
Curious who the Lt. Governor is in this timeline - IOTL his juice is why Tech and Baylor made it in, as an alumnus of both.

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
ATLANTIC: Buffalo, Clemson, Navy, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Wake Forest,
COASTAL: Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, William & Mary
Connecticut reclassified to IA in 2000... do they move up much earlier ITTL?

EASTERN SEABOARD CONFERENCE
NORTH: Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple
SOUTH: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia Tech
Why wouldn't Notre Dame join *this* league? It has more of an appeal in terms of opponents - BC, Pitt, Syracuse, Ga Tech, Miami, etc. Unless it's an "any port in the storm" scenario?


The realignment of the Power Conferences also caused some adjustments among the mid-majors. In addition, Division I-A and Division I-AA would be renamed Division I FSA (Football Subdivision Alpha) and Division FSB (Football Subdivision Beta). In 2014, the Sun Belt Conference transitioned from Division I FSB to Division I FSA.
I'm not sure why this happened. But I'm also surprised the Power Four didn't split entirely from the Group of 8 so they can increase/reduce their scholarship head count, respectively.

I don't think all four power conferences would embrace a 4-team pod system (or ape the NFL naming schema) unless it was mutually required by this new FSA. Certainly it makes sense in the Pac-16, which is so geographically disperse and nicely divides into four. And it does allow a very even round robin schedule while still playing every other team at least once every two years. Though maybe consider UCLA/USC/Arizona/ASU and Stanford/Cal/Utah/Colorado to even out the California games (everyone would play in LA or the Bay at least once a year with that arrangement).

But e.g. in the Big Ten, the rivalries seemingly fit better into east/west divisions which would make it worth playing the other division only every four years on a 9-game conference schedule - in which case I might move Northwestern to the east so they all get Chicago games (where $o many alumni end up moving), and Illinois in the west with their perennial rivals.
 
The American Football League also begins play with the Dallas Texans, Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, New York Titans, Boston Patriots, and Baltimore Colts.
If the Bills don't exist in this world, Ralph Wilson still probably would have been granted ownership of the last team. Does he choose Baltimore? It's hard to say (he originally wanted Miami, but they wouldn't let him use the OB).
 
The history of Division I remains unchanged until 1975 when the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) offers membership to William & Mary and they accept. They begin play in 1977. This results in Georgia Tech remaining with the Metro Conference. The next big change is that Holy Cross and Rutgers are among the founders of the Big East. Villanova joins in 1980.
William & Mary dropped to Division I-AA shortly after this. You might need to go back to the 1951 transcript-altering scandal - something that both ACC officials and the faculty administration would remember too well.
The reason I chose William & Mary was that I read somewhere that they offered membership in ACC in the mid-70s, but turned it down. The reason I had them join the ACC in 1977 was that was the year they left the Southern Conference. In OTL, they remained a Division I-A Independent until 1981.

I tried to where I read about William & Mary and the ACC. I couldn't find it. So, I may tweak this scenario. Now, I'm thinking about revising the scenario. I probably use the POD of South Carolina staying in the ACC.

Not wanting to be left behind, the Big 8 decides to expand to twelve. Their initial choices are BYU, New Mexico, Texas, and Texas A&M. However, pressure from the Texas Lt. Governor results in the Big 8 taking two additional Texas (Houston and Texas Tech) in place of BYU and New Mexico. Due to the Big Ten trademarking "Big 12", the new conference is called the Golden West.
Curious who the Lt. Governor is in this timeline - IOTL his juice is why Tech and Baylor made it in, as an alumnus of both.
Republican Tom Craddick. In TTL, Bob Bullock ran for governor in 1990, but lost in the primary to Ann Richards.

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
ATLANTIC: Buffalo, Clemson, Navy, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Wake Forest,
COASTAL: Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, William & Mary
Connecticut reclassified to IA in 2000... do they move up much earlier ITTL?
In TTL, events are generally occurring about one to two years early. For example, Central Florida transitions to Division I-A in 1994. They don't have the same money problems that they did in OTL.

EASTERN SEABOARD CONFERENCE
NORTH: Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple
SOUTH: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia Tech
Why wouldn't Notre Dame join *this* league? It has more of an appeal in terms of opponents - BC, Pitt, Syracuse, Ga Tech, Miami, etc. Unless it's an "any port in the storm" scenario?
There are three reasons that Notre Dame joined the ACC.

1. The ESB's big fish (FSU/Miami/PSU) preferred to keep Notre Dame out.

2. TTL's BCS (first incarnation) only included the major conference champions. In order for a non-champion to qualify, it had to finish within the Top 4. Notre Dame decided that the best path would join a weak conference and dominate. Note: Notre Dame's first decade in ACC was similar as FSU's.

3. Most importantly, the ACC offered the right money deal.

The realignment of the Power Conferences also caused some adjustments among the mid-majors. In addition, Division I-A and Division I-AA would be renamed Division I FSA (Football Subdivision Alpha) and Division FSB (Football Subdivision Beta). In 2014, the Sun Belt Conference transitioned from Division I FSB to Division I FSA.
I'm not sure why this happened. But I'm also surprised the Power Four didn't split entirely from the Group of 8 so they can increase/reduce their scholarship head count, respectively.
While scenario didn't go past 2020, I envision the Power Four breaking away from the NCAA in 2022. That's the year that the television contracts are up for renewal. Their new association will be called the United States Association of Athletic Conferences (USAAC).

I don't think all four power conferences would embrace a 4-team pod system (or ape the NFL naming schema) unless it was mutually required by this new FSA. Certainly it makes sense in the Pac-16, which is so geographically disperse and nicely divides into four. And it does allow a very even round robin schedule while still playing every other team at least once every two years. Though maybe consider UCLA/USC/Arizona/ASU and Stanford/Cal/Utah/Colorado to even out the California games (everyone would play in LA or the Bay at least once a year with that arrangement).

But e.g. in the Big Ten, the rivalries seemingly fit better into east/west divisions which would make it worth playing the other division only every four years on a 9-game conference schedule - in which case I might move Northwestern to the east so they all get Chicago games (where $o many alumni end up moving), and Illinois in the west with their perennial rivals.
The pod system isn't mandated, it's just a way ensure that every school gets a chance to play to every other school within a three year cycle.

The pod names are a way to help fans to know which division their team is in that year. It also enlivens the division names. In the original Raycom report, the divisions were called Division A and Division B. The pods were Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, and Group 4.

The Power Four mandates that nine conference games be played. Seven of the nine are a team's divisional opponents. How the two remaining games are chosen depends on the conference.

In 2020, Florida State will be in the South-East Division (consisting of the South and East pods). So, their divisional opponents are their podmates (Georgia Tech, Miami, and South Carolina) and the East pod teams (Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Temple).

The Big Ten, ESB, and SEC use a designated rival to determine the last two conference games. So, FSU's West's rival is West Virginia and for the North, it's Virginia Tech. In the Big Ten, Northwestern and Illinois are designated rivals, so get play each other every year.

Currently, the PAC-16 follows the NFL's example of place finished. For example, USC is the South-West Division this year. They finished first in South Division last year. So, for their two non-divisional conference games, they play the teams finished first in their division Oregon (North) and Texas (East). This system has proved unpopular with some of the membership. So, they will be changing to the designated rival system in 2021.
 
If the Bills don't exist in this world, Ralph Wilson still probably would have been granted ownership of the last team. Does he choose Baltimore? It's hard to say (he originally wanted Miami, but they wouldn't let him use the OB).
I wonder if maybe Ralph Wilson uses influence to get Miami over a team like Oakland. I think Carroll Rosenbloom still would own the Colts. So maybe instead of the Raiders you get the Miami Dolphins founded in 60? Maybe later you could have the AFL expand to Cincinnati and maybe another LA team if they got an owner?
 
I wonder if maybe Ralph Wilson uses influence to get Miami over a team like Oakland. I think Carroll Rosenbloom still would own the Colts. So maybe instead of the Raiders you get the Miami Dolphins founded in 60? Maybe later you could have the AFL expand to Cincinnati and maybe another LA team if they got an owner?
I don't know because he couldn't get into Miami. He wanted to go there instead of Buffalo, but they wouldn't let him use the Orange Bowl.
 
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