With the college football season completely ending in the next week, avid fans will start counting the days til National Signing Day, spring practice, the spring game, fall camp and eventually the first game and everything else that is massively important to fans. For them it's much better than pretending to care about basketball.
However, there is a lot of calendar between those events, so fans need something to talk about, something to ponder and sink their teeth into.
Thus shall begin the realignment talk. With UAB looking destined for the boot out of Conference USA, the eventual talk of the Big 12 wanting to add two teams, the Sun Belt needing one more team for 12 and the reshuffling and aftershocks that would result from any of those movements, people need to know what to think.
Thankfully for most everyone, there's already people out there who you may be like.
1. The Theorist
This person sees the stories about UAB and the Big 12 looking for members as a bat signal of sorts.
This person sees one article mentioning Memphis is talking with someone so he stays up for hours, looking at diagrams and spreadsheets and plots the entire shift of movements. He's theorizing and makes no bones about it, but he sounds so convincing it provokes others into responding.
The Theorist likes the attention so he won't stop. Three of the top five threads on your message board are started by him, one about Boise State, one about Jim Delaney and the other about Conference USA. All have difference scenarios which have Georgia State or UTSA going to a three different leagues.
This person doesn't actually know anything on the inside. All he knows is what's out in the public and uses that information for his dream scenario. And if news ever happens, he's the first to think what's next.
As long as there is an off-season, The Theorist will dominate discussion. They are relatively quiet during the season because they might not actually care about the team they professes to support. It's debatable whether he can name ten players on the team. Once realignment talks happens anywhere on any corner of the internet, The Theorist shows up with his brand new East Coast Conference.
2. The Guy With Sources Who Are All Wrong
This guy knows his stuff, until he doesn't know his stuff. He's got sources, who are well connected to the inner-working of the NCAA. This source might as well be working at NCAA HQ for all the juice they provide. In all likelihood, he's taking "probables" from difference websites and turning them into "certainties".
This guy has Georgia Tech going to the Big Ten, Florida State and Clemson a lock for the Big 12, the end of the ACC and the start of the four power conferences who are all at 16 teams apiece. Pencil it in, put some money down. It. Is. Happening. The Theorist goes nuts with the info Source Guy is providing and chaos breaks loose.
A few days later, the sources got a new story. It's being delayed because Baylor or Duke is threatening to sue everyone. Everyone is lawyering up. After a couple more weeks, this guy disappears altogether. His name becomes dirt and becomes fodder for message-board inside jokes.
Then, a few months later, he's back and stronger than ever. He's got some new sources and we repeat the cycle all over again.
3. The Doomsday Scenariost
While everyone is talking about what this means for their team, there's one guy, likely who has been going to games for approximately four-hundred years, who hates all this change.
If it were up to him, the Southwest Conference would reform, the Big 8 would get back together and the Big East wouldn't be a football conference.
This guy has had it up to here with all this greedy conference moving. These young whipper-snappers in their nice suits and using that fancy lingo are destroying the very spirit of college sports.
He will argue anyone and might challenge someone to a fight in the real world. Most everyone laughs at him from behind their monitors or phones because he doesn't quit. The same 4-5 points will be made over and over again until he has a believer or two.
Usually there's always a poster who finds out who this person really is and actually meets the man and finds his sociable, humble and nothing like what everyone thinks about him, unless the message board subjects are brought up. At that point, he turns into crazy old man who yells his points and talks about those dang kids and their hip and hop music.
4. The Cryptic Commentor
This is the guy that is usually right, but you only realize it after the fact. He doesn't start threads or discussions, but jumps in and offers an anecdote, usually in the form of a riddle. Something like "I got a feeling something will be announced next week *winky face*".
Only those who have been around take him seriously. The uninitiated will reply to him asking questions, but get stonewalled in return. The Cryptic Commentor doesn't reply to anyone and sometimes had a regular message board alias that he discusses other topics with.
When what he said happens actually happens, people will link back to his post and proclaim him Nostradamus. However the Cryptic Commentor doesn't revel in his prediction that TCU was going to the Big 12. He will disappear until the next big bombshell is dropped, after he plays golf with the AD.
5. The Guy Who Can't Even Right Now
Everything is happening. The Theorist is creating seven different models of super conferences, Mr Wrong Sources is saying the deal is done, the Doomsday guy hates it all and the Cryptic Commentor left his first comment in four months.
And at the end of it is the poor soul who can't even begin to process all this.
The Guy Who Can't Even Right Now is typically a lower-level booster, has a modest job, goes to most of the home games and likely is a die-hard supporter of the local NFL team. He never wins Fantasy Football because he won't even touch the waiver wire, but yet still chugs along.
This fella reads all this written about conferences changing or even going away and he doesn't get it. He doesn't know who on the message board to trust. His neighbor is asking about it, so this guy has to have something to tell him the next day, so he goes through the message boards, probably buys a Rivals subscription just to view the comments and ends up more confused than before.
The next day, he just mumbles to the neighbor that there's a lot of moving pieces going on behind the scenes and then diverts to subject to the NFL.
6. The Please Can We Talk About The Team Guy
While everyone already mentioned is all about some realignment to one extent or another, there's always the guy who is sick of it. This guy doesn't care whose joining the Big 12 next year. All he cares about is who will start at DB in the first game, how the depth chart will shake out and how the coaches won't screw it all up with their razzle-dazzle.
It doesn't matter if the team plays Our Lady Of The Blind, Deaf and Dumb or the Green Bay Packers, all this guy needs to know is kickoff time.
While the message board fills up with hypothetical conferences, he wants to know a hypothetical front seven, how that schedule three years from now is filling up and how many more recruits the coaches need to get before National Signing Day.
Now go forth and speculate!