By: Mike Davis
I have expand the data from my last post to include conference realignment moves all the way back to 1981. I created the following pictures to better explain/visualize the conference realignment moves of 1981 to 2017. I recommend clicking on the images for larger view. I also made a gif version in the first image.
The 1980s saw over forty schools make the switch between FBS and FCS. It was one of the most chaotic times in college football divisional alignment. The college football online historical data sources have conflicting accounts regarding some of these moves. I did my best to find the most accurate layout.
I found evidence suggesting the MAC spent a single year at the FCS level in 1982 by both primary and secondary sources. I did not include this event in the project for two reasons. The first reason is that my most reliable year-by-year results have the MAC listed alongside the FBS schools for that year. The second reason is that the primary sources have conflicting statements regarding the number of MAC schools that moved down in 1982.
A large number of online sources state Georgia Tech joined the ACC in the late 1970s. Georgia Tech did not become a full football member of the ACC until 1983. This is despite their being listed in the ACC standings prior to 1983.
The Missouri Valley Conference had both FBS and FCS members in the 1980s. Their FCS members are being counted as FBS members for three reasons. The first is that my most reliable yearly results are counting them as FBS on the basis that they were in a conference with FBS schools. The second reason being a lack of evidence which clearly states the year they dropped down to FCS prior to 1986. The final reason is that this is a project to show the historical conferences and it would be misguided of me to not include these FCS institutions.
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© sportspolitico™ December 30, 2015