50 Years Of NCAA Football Realignment, VisualizedS

This Saturday's SEC championship game comes freighted with the awkwardness of college football realignment. Missouri, representing the "SEC East," will take on Auburn, representing the "SEC West," even though the latter lies a couple hundred miles closer to the Atlantic Ocean. Wacky!

Over at The New York Times, Mike Bostock, Shan Carter, and Kevin Quealy put together an excellent graphic (a portion of which you see above) that shows the member history of the NCAA's major football conferences, from 1965 through 2015. The real graphic is interactive, so you should go check it out on the Times's site.

Realignment isn't a new phenomenon—Arizona and Arizona State switched to the "Pac-8" in 1978, and plenty happened before 1965—but it's pretty clear that this process has accelerated, starting around 2010. In the last few years, the WAC and Big East have dissolved, the Sun Belt has become C-USA, C-USA and the ashes of the Big East have become the American, and every major conference has seen a couple teams come and go.

[NY Times]