Welcome to the last season of college football as you know it. Although college football in 2022 has already been rearranged by various interests, this upcoming season is the swan song for the status quo before it's upended by the impending round of college football realignment. With NIL and the independent College Football Playoff weakening the NCAA's power, college football realignment has become the most powerful force in a decentralized sport, fueled by the television rights deals now run the show. Over the next few years, Big 12 tentpoles Oklahoma and Texas will decamp for the SEC, while USC and UCLA will leave the PAC 12 to join the Big Ten.
While the SEC and Big Ten have emerged as 16 team mega-conferences with media deals that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year, the state of college football at large has never been more uncertain. Here's everything you need to know about the history—and future—of college football realignment.