College football realignment: Conference changes for 2023 take effect Saturday

By Kevin Kelley -

College football realignment heated up again a couple of years ago. On Saturday, July 1, conference changes for the 2023 season officially take effect.

The biggest conference changes in the latest round of realignment include four schools joining the Big 12. Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are moving to the Big 12 from the American Athletic Conference, while BYU leaves joins after playing as a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Independent.

To replace the three teams joining the Big 12, The American added six teams from Conference USA — Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA.

Conference USA responded to the gutting of their membership by adding Liberty and New Mexico State from the FBS Independent ranks. They also added two schools — Jacksonville State and Sam Houston — that are moving up from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Below is a look at the conference alignment for the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2023:


Leaving: None

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, NC State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest


Leaving: Cincinnati, Houston, UCF

Joining: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, UTSA

2023 Lineup: Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, Navy, North Texas, Rice, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UTSA

BIG 12

Leaving: None

Joining: BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF

2023 Lineup: Baylor, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, UCF, West Virginia

The Big 12 loses Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC beginning with the 2024 season.


Leaving: None

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Wisconsin

The Big Ten adds UCLA and USC beginning with the 2024 season.


Leaving: Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, UTSA

Joining: Liberty, New Mexico State, Jacksonville State, Sam Houston

2023 Lineup: FIU, Jacksonville State, Liberty, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, New Mexico State, Sam Houston, UTEP, WKU

Kennesaw State is set to move up from the FCS and join Conference USA in 2024.


Leaving: BYU, Liberty, New Mexico State

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Army, Notre Dame, UConn, UMass


Leaving: None

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan

The MAC has maintained the same 12 members since UMass departed after the 2015 season.


Leaving: None

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State, Wyoming

The Mountain West retains its 12 members for the 2023 season, but could be losing San Diego State to the Pac-12 in the near future.


Leaving: None

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Utah, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State

The Pac-12 loses UCLA and USC to the Big Ten in 2024. More changes to the Pac-12 could be coming.


Leaving: None

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt

Arguably the top conference in college football gets better in 2024 with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12.


Leaving: None

Joining: None

2023 Lineup: Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, James Madison, Louisiana, Marshall, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Southern Miss, Texas State, Troy, ULM

As mentioned above, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston are moving up from the FCS to the FBS and joining Conference USA for the 2023 season. But those aren’t the only changes in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Two teams from the Big South Conference — Campbell and North Carolina A&T — officially join the Colonial Athletic Association on Saturday. Additionally, Murray State joins the Missouri Valley Football Conference after departing the Ohio Valley Conference.

As a result of their move up to the FBS and Conference USA next season, Kennesaw State will play the 2023 season as an FCS Independent. They will play a nine-game schedule this season and are ineligible for the FCS Playoffs.

In other realignment in the FCS, the Big South Conference and Ohio Valley Conference begin their partnership as a 10-team league in 2023. The ASUN and WAC, which began their partnership last season, have rebranded their nine-team alliance as the United Athletic Conference beginning this season.

Next season, Western Illinois is slated to depart the Missouri Valley Football Conference for the Ohio Valley Conference (Big South-OVC for football).

Comments (3)

San Diego State is staying in the Mountain West! They are not leaving the conference!