Since the afternoon of June 30, when the college sports landscape abruptly lurched and shifted again beneath our feet, everyone has stewed over what the future will hold. When the realignment tremors subside, how consolidated will the elite level be? How many schools, in how many conferences, will command the highest revenue shares and (at least in theory) the best chance to win national championships?

The only certainty at this point is that the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference are the biggest and richest, pumping up their membership to 16 each in the coming years with the additions of USC and UCLA in the Big Ten and Texas and Oklahoma in the SEC. The question is how serious they are about continuing to get bigger and richer, and which acquisitions might further their power grab. Everyone is weighing options, as the 37 Power 5 schools remaining in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Pac-12 jockey for position.

So this latest existential crisis in college sports seemed like a good inflection point for examining who really brings what to the table among the 69 schools currently in the Power 5, or ticketed to arrive in 2023. If you were to blow up every league and hold a draft to redistribute the balance of power, what does your draft board look like?

Maybe it would look like *Sports Illustrated*’s Power 5 Desirability Ratings—sure to infuriate, possibly to educate. Regardless, this is an attempt to apply some metrics to the debate. We ranked all 69 schools (see below for full list) against one another in five areas, some of which we know move the needle in terms of adding value to a conference, and some of which get a lot of lip service by leaders.

The categories:

The overall top pick in a blow-it-up-and-start-over iteration of big-time college athletics would be Ohio State. The Buckeyes check all boxes: football excellence, quality academics, all-sports success and a massive alumni base/fan following that fills the stadium and watches the broadcasts. They narrowly outscore Big Ten counterpart Michigan.

Ohio State leads SI’s Desirability Ratings.

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY NETWORK

Including future members, the Big Ten and SEC claim 13 of the top 14 spots. That’s why they’re making the big bucks and on the cusp of making much more. Notre Dame, a football independent and member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in most other sports, is the only school breaking up the Power 2 cartel at the top.

Outside of Notre Dame, Washington is slightly ahead of Clemson for the highest-rated school from outside the Big Ten and SEC. The Huskies have slid recently in football but are respectable across the board. Clemson obviously has had a superior football program but lags in all-sports ranking. (Which, ultimately, is the most disposable of the metrics here.)

The SEC’s additions of No. 4 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma outshine the Big Ten’s additions of No. 9 USC and No. 18 UCLA, but both leagues made high-impact acquisitions that simultaneously gutted the Big 12 and Pac-12. The most valuable remaining schools in the Big 12 are Oklahoma State at No. 25 and Iowa State at No. 27, while the Pac-12’s new leaders are Washington at No. 15 and Oregon tied for 22nd.

The average school ranking for each Power 5 conference, using future membership: SEC 25.1, Big Ten 25.8, ACC 39.6, Pac-12 41.4, Big 12 49.3.

If the SEC and Big Ten were to expand to 18 apiece and had their choice of all the rest of the Power 5, the Desirability Ratings would suggest the following moves: Notre Dame and Washington to the Big Ten, Clemson and Florida State to the SEC. If they then went to 20, the Big Ten adds Stanford (with Notre Dame’s approval) and Oregon, while the SEC tacks on North Carolina and Miami. (The Hurricanes would face stiff resistance from some in the SEC who are not in love with The U’s current NIL recruiting philosophy.)

There could well be a fierce battle at some point over North Carolina. School and conference administrators and TV execs like the Tar Heels more than these rankings do. Former Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany long theorized about bringing his alma mater into that league, and the SEC likely would also covet Carolina. Its academic profile, stature in the 10th-most populous state and appeal as a power in men’s basketball and Olympic sports would be an attractive commodity in realignment.

If schools could be kicked out of swanky leagues for failing to add much to the bottom line, these would be your most endangered members according to the Desirability Ratings: No. 65 Rutgers and No. 59 Illinois in the Big Ten, No. 63 Vanderbilt and No. 53 Missouri in the SEC. Could it ever come to that? Who knows? But nothing is inconceivable in a world where USC, UCLA, Rutgers and Maryland are conference brethren.

The best thing for everyone in the Power 5 would be a continuation of the Power 5. A viable, coast-to-coast college sports landscape would enhance the overall health of football and everything else. So here’s to hoping we see many more years of the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 as vibrant entities.

But if we’ve learned anything the past two summers, it’s this: Everyone is always looking out for their own best move and biggest pile of cash. Stay tuned, and keep the Desirability Ratings handy if the college athletics plates begin to shift again.

1.

Ohio State

2

20(t)

4

3

2(t)

31

2.

Michigan

16

8

3

1

5(t)

33

3.

Notre Dame

6

5

8

16

2(t)

37

4.

Texas

12(t)

14

1

7

7(t)

41

5.

Georgia

3

19

18

8

5(t)

53

6.

Florida

18

11(t)

5

12

12(t)

58

7.

Wisconsin

8

17

23

15

12(t)

75

8.

Oklahoma

5

52(t)

10

13

1

81

9.

USC

30

10

12

23(t)

9

84

10.

Alabama

1

55(t)

21

4

4

85

11.

Penn State

7

28(t)

41

2

10

88

12.

Texas A&M

12(t)

30(t)

24

5

18(t)

89

13.

Auburn

11

41(t)

31

11

12(t)

106

14.

LSU

14

62

16

6

11

109

15.

Washington

25

24(t)

27

19

16(t)

111

16.

Clemson

4

33(t)

58

14

7(t)

116

17.

Stanford

46(t)

1

2

54

24(t)

127

18.

UCLA

43

6

15

40(t)

28(t)

132

19.

Florida State

56

22(t)

14

21(t)

21(t)

134

20.

Michigan State

27

38(t)

39

18

15

137

21.

Iowa

9

38(t)

52

20

21(t)

140

22.

(tie) N. Carolina

48(t)

11(t)

6

39

41(t)

145

22.

(tie) Oregon

20

41(t)

30

36

18(t)

145

24.

Tennessee

54

45(t)

13

9

28(t)

149

25.

(tie) Oklahoma St.

10

65(t)

22

30

24(t)

151

25.

(tie) Miami

23(t)

22(t)

48

34

24(t)

151

27.

Iowa State

15

48(t)

40

23(t)

35

161

28.

Mississippi

35

55(t)

19

31

23

163

29.

Northwestern

38

2(t)

35

58

32(t)

165

30.

(tie) NC State

37

36(t)

17

26(t)

53(t)

169

30.

(tie) Arizona St.

23(t)

47(t)

25

38

36(t)

169

32.

Virginia

48(t)

9

11

51

52

171

33.

Nebraska

46(t)

54

47

10

16(t)

173

34.

Arkansas

60

59(t)

7

25

24(t)

175

35.

(tie) Virginia Tech

41

33(t)

32

21(t)

49(t)

176

35.

(tie) Utah

17

41(t)

42

42

34

176

37.

TCU

22

38(t)

38

49

31

178

38.

Minnesota

28

30(t)

27

45

49(t)

179

39.

Kentucky

26

52(t)

9

32

61(t)

180

40.

BYU

50

36(t)

28

26(t)

41(t)

181

41.

Purdue

36

20(t)

51

35

45(t)

187

42.

S. Carolina

52

47(t)

36

17

36(t)

188

43.

Mississippi St.

21

67

63

28

20

199

44.

Baylor

39(t)

33(t)

45

47

36(t)

200

45.

California

55

7

26

55

58(t)

201

46.

Pittsburgh

33

24(t)

62

52

36(t)

207

47.

Wake Forest

32

11(t)

43

66

58(t)

210

48.

West Virginia

29

69

56

29

28(t)

211

49.

Indiana

42

30(t)

57

48

36(t)

213

50.

Duke

63

2(t)

20

69

67(t)

221

51.

Texas Tech

44(t)

68

37

33

41(t)

223

52.

Maryland

58

24(t)

44

57

41(t)

224

53.

Missouri

44(t)

49(t)

53

37

53(t)

236

54.

Georgia Tech

62

16

60

46

53(t)

237

55.

(tie) Louisville

53

65(t)

33

44

45(t)

240

55.

(tie) UCF

19

55(t)

67

50

49(t)

240

57.

Colorado

61

41(t)

54

43

45(t)

244

58.

Kansas State

31

59(t)

64

40(t)

53(t)

247

59.

Illinois

66

18

50

59

58(t)

251

60.

Syracuse

59

24(t)

61

60

53(t)

257

61.

Arizona

65

45(t)

34

53

61(t)

258

62.

Boston College

51

15

66

61

66

259

63.

Vanderbilt

68

4

59

67

63(t)

261

64.

Washington St.

39(t)

63(t)

65

64

32(t)

263

65.

Rutgers

67

28(t)

46

56

67(t)

264

66.

Cincinnati

34

55(t)

69

62

45(t)

265

67.

Oregon State

64

59(t)

41

63

67(t)

294

68.

Kansas

69

49(t)

55

68

63(t)

304

69.

Houston

57

63(t)

68

65

63(t)

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