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Some in the conference are worried about keeping up in the money race.
Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame (kind of) joined the ACC officially on Monday. To celebrate, festivities were held in New York, because nothing says ACC like Times Square and bus tours. But something went terribly wrong.
Louisville grad Mark Ennis and ACC aficionado Martin Rickman chat about the grant of media rights, racquetball, pleated pants, and other topics relevant to the ACC and college football as a whole.
By all accounts, FSU is content to still be in the ACC after the announced grant of rights. But what if they're only happy because everyone gave them lovely gifts?
Besides all the times Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim lamented ACC country's reliance on Denny's, of course.
Four of five power conferences now have similar deals, leaving very few major realignment possibilities on the table.
DeLoss Dodds thinks an alliance between the Big 12 and ACC could be a stabilizing factor for college football. He offered opinions on that and other topics Monday.
The Big East has announced that Notre Dame's non-football teams will depart and play in the ACC starting next year.
Both the Big Ten and SEC are reportedly interested in perhaps the ACC's flagship school.
With the Big East no longer big, Cincinnati is doing its best to impress the ACC.
* No. It did make ACC Twitter really fun, though.
Spilly welcomes Louisville to the ACC with a Hot Brown, a mint julep and a PASTECANNON.
No, we're probably not done with realignment. Mark Ennis and Martin Rickman talk about the ACC's recent move to add Louisville, and how this affects the landscape of college sports moving forward.
Louisville's move to the ACC stands to help its recruiting quite a bit, especially in the Sunshine State.
The successful, committed football program has churned out winning seasons, has a storied stadium and continues to make great coaching hires, but was left behind in the Big East by Rutgers and Louisville.
Wednesday morning, we learned that Louisville will move to the ACC in 2014. This will be an abject disaster for the Cardinals.
Louisville's joining the ACC, and here's your updated look at who's going to which conference now.
Louisville once looked like it would be passed by UConn in the ACC expansion race, but we might find out Wednesday that the Cardinals have escaped the Big East after all. UPDATE: Louisville's in.
Florida State president Eric Barron is keeping a close eye on Maryland, and the $50 million dollar exit fee the Terrapins could whittle down while leaving the ACC for the Big Ten.
After the Maryland Terrapins announced they would leave the ACC for the Big 10, the conference is reportedly in talks with four Big East schools. UConn is reportedly the favorite.
Will it be UConn or Louisville for the ACC, now that the Big Ten has swiped Maryland? UConn's reportedly in line, but is that the right call?
Monday could see Maryland announce plans to leave the ACC for the Big Ten, with Rutgers coming along from the Big East as well. Follow @SBNationCFB
Conference realignment is back? Conference realignment is always with us. The Big Ten might be about to pull Maryland and Rutgers from the ACC and Big East, establishing a swath of land from the Atlantic coast to Nebraska and adding two big TV markets (and traditionally lackluster athletic departments). WHO'S FIRED UP? Follow @SBNationCFB Follow @JasonKirkSBN
Yeah, this is gonna be really awkward if this falls through. (These tweets have since been deleted.)
Hey, is it football Saturday? Have we made it through a whole bunch of football Saturdays in a row without conference realignment news? WELL GOOD HERE COMES SOME.
Spilly and Sean Keeley celebrate Pitt and Syracuse's impending move to the ACC with chili. Try it at home, friends.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish may be moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference sooner than you think. Big East commissioner Mike Aresco acknowledged that Notre Dame has engaged the conference in talks on an early departure that would allow the Fighting Irish join the ACC for the 2013-14 sports calendar. Aresco acknowledged the proverbial smoke, but tried to keep the fire under wraps. He described the early exit talks to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune as "very preliminary."
But make no mistake, there is plenty of smoke. Aresco certainly left the door open for Notre Dame's early departure:
"Notre Dame has expressed interest in at least discussing leaving early. We'll have a discussion about it. (Athletic director) Jack (Swarbrick) wasn't sure what they were going to do at this point. He and I are going to have some discussions regarding that, but nobody has said, 'We definitely want to do 'X,' or we definitely want to do 'Y.' We'll adhere to the bylaws, and if there is a desire to do something sooner, then obviously it would have to be something we could agree to."
There is a 27-month wait period for a conference change mandated by Big East bylaws, but Notre Dame has already agreed to join the ACC and they announced the move back on Sept. 12. The Irish have been busy planning for the shift, recently opting out of their contract with Michigan to knock 2015, 2016, and 2017 matchups off the schedule.
West Virginia reached an agreement on an early exit from the Big East that includes a $20 million fee, so there is precedent for such a move in the Big East.
News broke on Wednesday that Notre Dame would be joining the ACC for all sports except for hockey and football, and today we had some comments from the Big East on the upcoming move. Big East commissioner Mike Aresco spoke today about the move, and he had the following to say about Notre Dame potentially leaving early:
They may make that request and then we'd have to negotiate with them because they are required to stay for two more seasons. If they do, we'll engage them in a negotiation. I can't tell you much more than that
He was also asked about a potential fee for an early departure:
I really don't want to comment much on that. There is a precedent for that. We'll maintain a good relationship with Notre Dame. We've been very magnanimous. That's the way we should be. We wish Notre Dame well. We'll talk to them. We may be able to figure something out. We may not. We just don't know yet.
Notre Dame would not be the first Big East school to negotiate an early exit. Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia have done so in the past. West Virginia paid the conference $20 million to join the Big 12, and both Syracuse and Pittsburgh agreed to fees of $7.5 million to join the ACC in 2013.
Notre Dame's going to start playing five ACC football games a year. Great! But how do you divide 14 opponents by five games? Here's a theoretical look at the future of Irish scheduling.
For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
ACC commissioner John Swofford doesn't just pick a fight with anybody -- he's not exactly trying to pilfer South Carolina or Vanderbilt from the SEC -- but when he does get into the ring, he does so knowing that he's going to win.
Notre Dame intends to stay independent in football going forward even though the school has officially joined the ACC, as athletic director Jack Swarbrick insisted during a press conference on Wednesday. The Fighting Irish will be joining the conference in every sport but football and hockey.
ND's Swarbrick: "It's our intention to remain independent" in football. "If something drastic were to change, we're committed to the ACC."— Hokies Journal (@HokiesJournal) September 12, 2012
The ACC tried to add Notre Dame as a full member, but ACC commissioner John Swofford said that the option, "wasn't in the cards." Instead, the Irish will be joining in every sport but football and hockey, so the school's highly-regarded basketball program will be moving from the Big East to the ACC.
While the Irish aren't officially a part of the ACC in football, they will play five games annually against teams from the conference. By doing so, Notre Dame will be able to maintain its individual broadcast rights contract with NBC while strengthening ACC's leverage with networks in negotiations for broadcast rights.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish announced on Wednesday that the school is leaving the Big East for the ACC, and it will pay $5 million in order to do so. That is the conference exit fee for leaving the Big East, and it also requires that Notre Dame give 27 months notice before exiting.
The Irish, though, may be able to leave the Big East earlier if it agrees to pay the conference a larger sum of money. The West Virginia Mountaineers were able to leave the Big East for the Big 12 before the 2012 season by agreeing to pay a sum of $20 million. The Syracuse Orange will leave the conference in 2013 by paying $7.5 million, as will the Pittsburgh Panthers. Both Pitt and Syracuse will leave the conference exactly one year before the end of the required 27-month period.
Notre Dame will join the Big East as a full member with the exceptions of football, which will play five games a year against ACC opponents, and hockey, which will remain with the Hockey East conference from 2013 onward.
Now that the ACC has added Notre Dame, it gives them the ability to rework their contract with ESPN.
Source: Bringing in Notre Dame will allow ACC to ask for additional compensation in ESPN deal— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) September 12, 2012
The ACC's deal with ESPN was seen by many as a disappointment, with each school getting approximately $17 million annually. In comparison the Big 12's deal pays its schools $20 million annually and allows schools to sell their own third-tier media rights. But now the ACC has landed TV darling Notre Dame, which will give it the ability to increase their revenue from ESPN.
The draw of Notre Dame football is unquestioned and while it will help the ACC in their renegotiations, Notre Dame's own contract with NBC will not be affected.
A final note -- for now -- on ND-ACC elopement -- the arrangement will NOT affect #NotreDame's TV contract with NBC.— Eric Hansen (@hansenNDInsider) September 12, 2012
For more on Notre Dame, check out One Foot Down.
How will Notre Dame's move to the ACC impact football recruiting?
The ACC ensured on Wednesday that its addition of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish won't go to waste by increasing its exit fee to $50 million. That increase was voted on by the conference's Council of Presidents.
The ACC has been the subject of conference poaching rumors, with the Florida St. Seminoles allegedly flirting with jumping to the Big 12. The conference made a move earlier this summer when it took the Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange from the Big East, but its television deal with ESPN in the wake of those moves was seen by most as a letdown.
That poaching of the Big East coincided with talks between the ACC and Notre Dame involving a post-season partnership based around the Orange Bowl. We will likely find out soon enough if the idea of Notre Dame joining the conference grew out of those initial talks.
Notre Dame's move to the ACC in all non-football sports is the latest setback for a Big East conference that just two years ago seemed likely to dominate college basketball for the foreseeable future.
While we all wrap our heads around the news that Notre Dame is (sort of) joining the ACC, they'll just be over here having their cake and eating it, too.
The ACC issued the latest shakeup to the NCAA landscape on Wednesday, announcing that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have joined the conference as a full member with the exceptions of football and hockey. As it pertains to football, Notre Dame has agreed to play five games annually against ACC opponents, with Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune reporting that each ACC school is guaranteed to play the Irish at least once every three years.
Notre Dame will join the conference whenever it exits the Big East, and that timeframe is something that may be worked on in the near future. Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated reported that unless there's a payout to the Big East, the Irish won't switch conferences until 2015. The ACC also announced that it increased its own exit fee to $50 million, all but assuring that the conference will be intact when the Irish make their move.
Notre Dame already has future football games scheduled with the Miami Hurricanes, Boston College Eagles, Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange, the latter two of which will be members of the ACC by the time the Irish join. Thamel also reported that the school prefers to keep a presence on the West Coast, meaning annual rivalries with the USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal are likely to be privileged over those in the Midwest with teams like the Purdue Boilermakers or Michigan Wolverines.
Aside from football, Notre Dame's hockey program will also not be joining the ACC. It has plans to join Hockey East beginning with the 2013-14 season.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will join the ACC in all sports except football and hockey.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford met with Clemson Board of Trustees and school President James Barker on Friday to discuss the current state and future of the conference. There's been agitation about the ACC's TV deal and persistent realignment rumors surrounding more traditional football powers Florida State and Clemson. There's also a perceived Tobacco Road and basketball bias from some of the conference's fanbases outside of North Carolina. The meeting with Swofford was an exchange on all theses matters, with the new television contract a top-of-mind topic for the trustees.
According to Barker, it was a productive and positive meeting that reaffirmed Clemson's commitment to Swofford and the ACC, via Travis Sawchik of The Post and Courier:
"It was a very positive and professional exchange," Barker said. "We let our board ask any questions they wanted to ask. It was a shattering of myths and legends about the ACC and commissioner Swofford.
"I think it did nothing but reinforce our role in the ACC."
Barker would not address the reports that the conference had met with Notre Dame officials. Notre Dame confirmed it had spoken with the ACC about the conference's new deal with the Orange Bowl, but Barker indicated that was an issue best left addressed by the ACC.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
Both Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be playing their sports in the ACC in 2013, having reached agreements to exit the Big East for the ACC next year, according to CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy.
The Big East announced Monday that Syracuse reached an agreement to pay the conference $7.5 million to leave the Big East for the ACC in 2013.
Pittsburgh's deal with the conference was for the same total dollar amount, with the original $5 million exit fee plus an additional $2.5 million making up a $7.5 million total fee. The Big East had previously attempted to make sure the Panthers did not leave for the 2012-13 season, but with Boise State and other schools joining the conference for 2013, getting rid of Pittsburgh could solve some number problems in the Big East's own expansion.
For more on Pittsburgh football, visit Pitt blog Cardiac Hill, plus SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more on Syracuse football, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, plus SB Nation New York. And for more on the Big East, go to Big East Coast Bias.
The Big East announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with Syracuse that will allow the school to leave the conference and join the ACC in July 2013.
Syracuse will pay the Big East $7.5 million (in addition to "other consideration") to extricate itself from the conference and allow the school's Orange teams to begin play in the ACC in the 2013-14 academic year. Syracuse will join the ACC on July 1, 2013.
The Big East's focus will now turn to securing a similar payment from Pittsburgh, which is in the process of joining Syracuse in its flight from the Big East to the ACC. Previous reports had the Panthers definitely not leaving the Big East for the 2012-13 season, but the Panthers leaving in 2013 might actually facilitate the Big East's own expansion.
For more on Syracuse football, visit Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, plus SB Nation New York. For more on Pittsburgh football, visit Pitt blog Cardiac Hill, plus SB Nation Pittsburgh. And for more on the Big East, go to Big East Coast Bias.
Notre Dame still enjoys what amounts to favored-nation status in the American game of realpolitik that is the never-ending storm of conference expansion and ever-shifting bowl partnerships. The Irish are trying to retain that status in part by partnering with the ACC and staying in the mix of teams eligible for the Orange Bowl, the school confirmed Monday.
Notre Dame has long been happy with the status quo of the Bowl Championship Series, with any finish in the top eight of the final BCS standings guaranteeing the Irish a berth in a BCS bowl game. But with the BCS melting into the four-team playoff that will begin in 2014, the Irish may need new dance partners, and the ACC — seen as the distant fifth of the elite quintet of athletic conferences that also includes the SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten — would seem to be the league most likely to get on the floor with them, given the other four conferences' deals to secure spots for teams in major bowls.
Talks remain in the preliminary stage between the school and conference, but Rivals' Clemson site, Tiger Illustrated, reported that a group of ACC presidents met with Notre Dame on Sunday.
For more on Notre Dame, head to One Foot Down.
The debate has been underway for decades now: When will Notre Dame join a conference, and which one? The Big Ten was the favorite for decades (literally), but now the argument centers on the Big 12 and the ACC. The former could offer an independent-friendly spirit, considering Texas' largesse, while the latter offers similar universities and a couple former rivals.
Clemson site Tiger Illustrated reported Sunday that the Irish and the ACC have met, but not necessarily that conference realignment is the entire agenda.
Remember the ACC's new Orange Bowl deal, which gives the league half-ownership of a bowl that's included in the new playoff plan's big six bowls? A Notre Dame-ACC bowl would be a valuable property, and a win for both sides. The Irish could be guaranteed a spot at the table -- provided they win, say, nine games or achieve a certain ranking -- and the ACC could have a bowl that would do numbers, whether we like it or not. And often better numbers than it could get if it paired with the Big East's champ, an at-large, or the SEC's runner-up. If people watched the Champs Sports Bowl pairing of FSU and Notre Dame last year (and they did), they'd certainly watch the same game featuring the ACC's champ.
But that's all speculation for now.
For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
The BCS may be dead, but the power conferences didn't give up any of their guaranteed seats at the table. And no team has a better chance to take advantage of the new arrangement than FSU. Is that worth making less money?
Remember how we all said we'd revisit conference realignment once the playoff plan was set? Guess what! The playoff plan is set now, so now we have to pay attention to Big 12 expansion rumors again. Oh boy! Where were we? Still the Florida State and Clemson things?
Doesn't sound like it, according to a memo by outgoing commissioner Chuck Neinas:
Both representatives of ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports indicated that Notre Dame's involvement with the Big 12 Conference would increase the value of the conference relative to future television and also improve the image of the conference nationwide.
Our television partners agreed that the only new member that would enhance the Big 12 value for television was Notre Dame.
Remember when Boston College's AD denied TV partners play a major role in conference realignment? Neinas isn't talking about being instructed to pick up one or another team, and it might not matter to ESPN which conference Notre Dame joins anyway, since it owns ACC inventory too, and even more of that than it does of the Big 12's.
If Notre Dame were to join -- Texas' AD has mentioned courting the Irish to begin transitioning in as their NBC deal winds down -- then maybe FSU could come along as an addition, but this might just kill the idea of the Noles and an ACC mate coming aboard.
For more on Irish football, visit Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
It appeared Clemson coach Dabo Swinney may have spoken slightly out of turn earlier in the week when he said the Tigers remain "1,000 percent committed" to the ACC and blamed reporters, bloggers, the four winds, probably Steve Spurrier, 1985 Topps checklist cards and beagles -- all beagles -- for the recent spate of Big 12 rumors. Clemson fans didn't like that he appeared to be cutting the legs out from under the Board of Trustees, which was set to meet days later to discuss matters of import.
But the BOT actually pretty much sounds just like Dabo anyway. Here's Clemson Board of Trustees chairman David Wilkins, via TigerNet:
"We are 1,000 percent in the ACC," Wilkins told TigerNet. "There are no offers, no discussions and we are concentrating on being the best we can be in the ACC. We are in the ACC, and we need to work together on making the ACC better."
"What we need to do is have the premier sports program in the league we are now in," Wilkins said. "And that is the ACC. That is where all of our effort and focus needs to be."
Just weeks ago, Wilkins said that Clemson would be wise to listen to an offer to join another conference, but that one hadn't been made.
Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney, newly extended contract in back pocket, was topical with the media on Tuesday, producing a pair of nuggets of interest to a couple of important stories. There's a little something for fans of both actual football and conference room football up ahead:
Dabo Swinney: "We’re a 1000 % committed to the ACC. Going to the Big 12 is the worst thing we could do as a program. It makes zero sense"— Travis Sawchik (@travis_sawchik) June 12, 2012
Just to clairfy, Dabo said Watkins' punishment will likely include game action. He did not say how much game time— Travis Sawchik (@travis_sawchik) June 12, 2012
He's not all that interested in the conference realignment stuff, but Swinney might be the first Clemson higher-up to deny interest. We've heard denials from at least one rep at every other ACC school, but the only Clemson comment I've seen so far was the Board of Trustees' affirmation of general interest.
However! If star wide receiver Sammy Watkins is to miss playing time for his drug arrest earlier this offseason, that would mean missing, say, a half or more against the Auburn Tigers, the team Clemson draws in Week 1. That would put a serious hamperin' on Clemson's offense, as we've gone ahead and tallied here.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together:
Remember when West Virginia reportedly wanted to join the SEC or ACC, but was shot down by both? Now that they're in the Big 12, they're in a demonstrably better place then they would've been if the ACC had taken them, so one can expect a little bit of chortling.
And chortling there is! As shared by the Smoking Musket:
President [James] Clements was also at the event and during his remarks mentioned that the ACC "should be pretty nervous right about now." Those were public remarks to an exclusively WVU crowd, so take them for what they're worth.
That's a remark made to boosters and alumni, so of course it's a little bit more assertive than you'd hear if it came from an official statement. But it's got to feel pretty good to be WVU and see Pitt heading to the ACC with conference realignment rumors sure to keep quaking for at least the next month, right?
As Tomahawk Nation's Bud Elliott tried to tell you, Florida State isn't quite as broke as certain financial revelations would cause it to appear. FSU's budget status has helped ramp up hopes within the fan base of a Big 12 exit, but the situation isn't quite as dire as that reported $2.4 million deficit would make it appear.
The athletic department has a $1.5 million reserve that the boosters are holding for us that we have had there and we were looking maybe long term and that can be a possibility, in which it still will, to use that for the painting of the stadium. Well in the short term and what we know for the future and we're not ready to paint the stadium for a few years, we were going to go to the president and be allowed to use that $1.5 million. So we have closed that gap, and we will go into next year with a balanced budget for next year.
You can assume FSU fans would prefer to be in the Big 12 than the ACC whether there's technically a deficit or enough stuff can be slid around to make the whole thing float. Because the stadium needs painted, everyone. It makes the whole thing look nice, sure, but it's also vital to the preservation of the facility. It's why they constantly paint the Brooklyn Bridge. Like, they just paint and re-paint that thing all year long. You should read "The World Without Us." It mentions that kind of stuff. There are also videos about it on YouTube.
Think about that, 'Noles.
You heard FSU-to-the-Big-12 rumors would pick up quite a bit as the week winds down, and yep! You heard right! As the school's Board of Trustees prepares to meet, here's the latest word on the street:
FSU's Pres will likely deny previous talks w/ BIg 12. I expect FSU's BOT to give him authority to formally begin nego'ns w/ BIg 12— Ingram Smith (@IngramSmith) June 7, 2012
As we learned earlier in the week in greater detail than ever before, realignment denials mean something more than they mean nothing. However, this meeting has apparently been planned for a while, with the realignment element only recently being added to the docket.
And, of course, it's a meeting with FSU's BOT, which will want to talk Big 12 with absolutely anybody and everybody, based on its recent comments. Doesn't necessarily mean Barron's on board at all or will soon change his public course. Then again again (so many reversals here!), if the Board is all in, and the Big 12 is actually interested (which we don't know for sure), then Barron will find himself being rapidly convinced of their position.
Why do conferences go out of their way to make it look like they're not trying to take someone else's teams? Twitter superstar and real-life lawyer @BobbyBigWheel explains it all.
You may recall Florida St. Seminoles Board of Trustees chair Andy Haggard from his starring turn as that guy who got real mad about the ACC that one time. After insisting FSU should listen if the Big 12 comes calling, Haggard is denying that the Big 12 has in fact done so:
"We have not heard a thing and we have not approached them and they have not approached us," said Andy Haggard, the chair of FSU's Board of Trustees. "If anybody approaches us, we are certainly going to listen to them. We have an obligation to Florida State to listen. You can't close the door."
Speculation on the Noles has reached the point at which college football observers respond with a wink and a nod to anything said by any official on any side of the issue. Just two weeks ago, a denial by Haggard would've slammed the story shut for the time being, but now everyone's convinced it's really happening, so we're all a bunch of super spies all of a sudden.
The Miami Hurricanes have been mentioned in a number of Big 12 expansion rumors, most prominently whatever TCU's athletic director was citing here. But unlike the Clemson Tigers and Florida St. Seminoles, the Canes aren't giving any quotes that can be read as curious interest. In fact, Miami's denying the whole thing, a la the Virginia Tech Hokies and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The complete statement by athletic director Shawn Eichorst, in which Miami's leadership talks up Miami's leadership:
We are so fortunate at Miami. Our University, under past and present visionary leadership and with an 87-year history of achievement, is strong in our foundation and in our beliefs. It allows us to stay steady when there are stormy seas, and that core strength holds us together today more than ever.
Since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004, the University of Miami has worked hard to measure up to the high academic and athletic standards set by our peers and we could not be more proud than to call the ACC our home. We are confident in our progress and in our accomplishments, yet there is still much work to be done. We are committed to the ACC and to doing our part to continue the tradition of excellence across the board. In that regard, we have not engaged in any formal or informal discussions with any other conferences.
The additions of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University, as well as the new exclusive television partnership with ESPN, signal the very strength and nationwide appeal of the ACC. Fans will be able to watch more ACC sports and more ACC games in more ways than ever before with the most powerful brand in sports behind us. This is an exciting time to be a part of the ACC and we are honored and humbled to be among its members.
For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog The 7th Floor.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets joined the realignment rumor convention last weekend, when Ingram Smith reported they'd be among the ACC teams the Big 12 would consider taking in the event of a Florida St. Seminoles acquisition. AD Dan Radakovich is now denying the Jackets have made contact -- Virginia Tech is of course also again denying they want out of the ACC -- but the most interesting comment of his is likely this one:
Radakovich also told fans that the league is trying to develop a bowl game similar to the one that the Big 12 and SEC announced Friday. That game will match those two leagues' conference champions should they not make the expected four-team playoff. He said there is a great desire for the ACC to match up its conference champion, should it not make the playoff, "and play a quality bowl game."
Radakovich mentioned the Big Ten and SEC as potential partners.
Better late than never for that kind of idea, yes?
The ACC won't be able to get the SEC's or Big Ten's champ, of course, as those teams will be committed to the Rose Bowl and this new Big 12 venture, respectively, in the event that they miss the playoffs. The Big East remains available. Winner gets to play its basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, maybe?
There's also the option to try and pair of the ACC's winner against another league's runner-up, which sounds like the plan the ACC has in mind.
The ACC is ripe for the pickin', if the latest college football realignment rumors are to be believed. You see, the Big 12 has gone from the hunted to the hunter and is now poised to pick off a few schools, should it choose to expand. And those schools would, from all indications, come from the ACC.
There's rumors of Florida and Clemson expressing interest in the Big 12, and the two would make pretty ideal travel partners from a Big 12 standpoint. But these are just rumors and, if the past is any indication, nobody really knows what will happen next.
ACC commissioner John Swofford, however, is pretty confident his conference is on a solid foundation. He also believes everyone is ALL-IN right now and trusts that the schools he oversees are trustworthy.
This is where we drop in the ironic quote.
Swofford also said he would be disappointed if any universities were not being straightforward with him, "Yeah, we've got a league in which, you know, people sit in a room and talk very forthrightly with each other. There's a lot of respect within the room, there is a lot of trust within the room, and on this particular subject, and by the subject I mean conference affiliation, I think we've all learned, or should have over the last two or three years that there are an awful lot of things put out there that have no foundation or basis of truth and often times are irresponsible in being out there in the first place."
It's not as if any institution has pledged its allegiance one day while working a backroom deal to bail out of the ship for calmer waters at the same time. Nor is it as if Swofford and the ACC have regularly picked off other Big East schools out of the blue by way of the same dealings.
If anything, nobody should be trusted when it comes to the shifting landscape of realignment. And if Swofford really does believe he's sitting pretty, then he and his conference are actually sitting ducks, in all likelihood.
If the Florida St. Seminoles leave for the Big 12, they'll likely take along at least one other school from the ACC, so the prevailing wisdom goes. The Clemson Tigers have long been believed to be that additional party. While Clemson's denying they've been contacted* by the Big 12, its Board of Trustees is meeting to talk about the whole thing.
"We're getting the board together to share information," Clemson Board of Trustees president David Wilkins said. "There's no specific proposal we're going to be addressing. We're going to let everyone share options for the direction forward and share what information they have."
The latest round of reports have FSU, Clemson and three or so other ACC schools all reaching out to the Big 12 via secret mystery channels.
* Not necessarily a denial that Clemson has contacted the Big 12, of course.
For more Tigers football, visit Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
Rumors of the Florida St. Seminoles and perhaps the Clemson Tigers leaving the ACC for the Big 12: they are months old and have been widely discussed all over the place. The Miami Hurricanes too? Yes, to a lesser extent. But so far, it's been denials all over the place by school officials, unless if we count Board of Trustee members.
But no more! TCU Horned Frogs athletic director Chris Del Conte appears to have either confirmed the whole thing or addressed them in such a way that they can be interpreted as confirmed. I leave you to decide. Now, this gets complicated, but here's what happened:
According to Chris Level, who is the publisher of RedRaiderSports.com and a co-host of a radio show on 104.3 FM in Lubbock; he Tweeted that Del Conte said that the once dead Big 12 "now has schools like Florida State, Clemson and Miami trying to get in."
TCU hasn't even played in the Big 12 yet, and it's out here sort of confirmin' rumors. Rumors that Texas has cast as mere fantasies a couple times now. Complete fantasies pouring from the mouths of deranged sailors who've been dragged ashore after having been abandoned at sea for months! Guess not?
It's all in the inflection, either way:
TCU's Chris Del Conte clarifies comments: I was referring to rumor mill, not confirming schools interest in #Big12.— Stefan Stevenson (@FollowtheFrogs) May 23, 2012
While we wait for the late-summer conference realignment scramble, let's go ahead and prepare ourselves for the best and the worst.
By the end of the week, about half the ACC will have reportedly contacted the Big 12 about making a move. Florida State and Clemson rumors have been with us for months now, joined over the past couple weeks by Miami, Pitt and others. Now Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com confirms Ingram Smith's report that the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have unofficially joined in:
One of my best sources in the Big 12 just indicated that Georgia Tech has also put out informal feelers to the Big 12 about the Big 12's potential expansion plans, and that source said Georgia Tech would be very appealing as a potential expansion target because of its strong academics.
The Big 12 has only 10 teams at the moment, so it could bring on more than just two if so inclined. You'd have to wonder if Georgia Tech could surpass Clemson as a candidate. While the Tigers have a superior football culture and fan base, the Jackets offer top academics and a piece of the football-rabid Atlanta market (they surely don't deliver it themselves, but you can bet Texas and Oklahoma in Atlanta would draw attention).
Conference realignment news is going to be with us all summer, and based on the coming playoff system, the Big 12 and SEC alliance, Notre Dame's TV contract, and league changes that are already set to take place years down the road, it'll be with us for farther than that. But we can still try and get a sense of exactly where things stand for the next month or so.
Big 12 won't do anything til after playoff is set, ACC's football schools are using back channels to talk to B12, and Texas is trying to pump the brakes on expansion to wait to see where Notre Dame is at.
The Notre Dame part is no surprise, as that's been in the news for almost a solid year now. Those schools include Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech (which also has SEC rumors of its own), and the playoff stuff won't be set until June. It's worth noting that the report from Brown, who covers the Big 12 side and not the ACC side, has the ACC schools approaching the Big 12 and not the other way around.
In the event of a move, the Big 12 will want that to be the official story line in order to avoid accusations of tampering with the ACC's schools. The SEC did this masterfully in its pickups of Missouri and Texas A&M. If FSU and others do join the Big 12, look for several statements from the conference about not really wanting to expand, but being presented with an offer too good to pass up.
Brown also revisits the moment when it looked like Texas could join the ACC, but the ACC declined. Imagine what we'd be talking about right now if that had happened.
Let's chart the recent history of rumors about the Virginia Tech Hokies making their way to the SEC, shall we? The most recent, of course, comes from ESPN's Chris Low, who was on the Paul Finebaum show Monday, saying, "I can tell you the SEC has their eyes on Virginia Tech."
That wouldn't be a surprise, as the Hokies were believed to be on a short list during last summer's realignment round that produced moves by Mizzou and Texas A&M. They were also among the teams mentioned during the previous year, which didn't result in any SEC moves.
In September, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari listed VPI among three teams he'd like to see added, along with Maryland and Missouri. A month earlier, we attempted to keep track of all the times Virginia Tech was forced to deny SEC rumors, finding at least three times. (It's at least four now.)
Virginia Tech could also be an interesting fit for the Big Ten, if the SEC ends up looking elsewhere. But the Big Ten has more options here, simply based on geography, and the SEC kind of has to move quickly if it wants to expand its borders, as there simply aren't very many more major football programs left on the outskirts of its current territory.
For more on Hokies football, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.
Not to belittle the efforts of the many smaller sites reporting the Florida St. Seminoles are inching closer and closer to the Big 12, but you'd really like to see something from a more traditional outlet on the subject before lending too much confidence to the story. There was this report from an Atlanta radio host's site over the weekend, followed by similar notices from multiple other lesser-known outlets, all while nothing's coming across the big tickers.
And for what it's worth, the officials involved are sticking with the party line, now that FSU's rebel contingent has been at least publicly quieted:
"The athletic directors ... seemed very comfortable with 10 [teams]," [former interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck] Neinas told Austin's "The Horn" KTXX-FM (104.9) on Monday. "But there's nothing more consistent in life than change. Right now, people seem to be satisfied with 10."
If the Noles and a friend or two do end up making the leap to the Big 12, it won't exactly be a surprise at this point, but it will be a move that was reported every step of the way by largely unfamiliar websites, even going back to several months ago. How do we feel about that?
If we're going to follow conference realignment as if it's a sport, we might as well come up with a scoring system.
The chatter surrounding Florida State's movement from the ACC to the Big 12 is growing, and fun, for people who are big fans of chatter. One person -- Ingram Smith of ChuckOliver.net -- reports that it's inevitable, and that Clemson is an "almost certain" addition as well.
(However, Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World describes the Big 12 as still very much divided on the subject, and Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com adds, "anyone saying Notre Dame, Florida State or Clemson are done deals are talking to people with wishful thinking.")
Smith has it from a pair of sources "with the strongest ties possible" to FSU's athletics department that the Seminoles intend to leave the conference, and that one of those sources said it is "inevitable." If so, keep an eye out for a potential continued partnership with the SEC.
Smith reports a number of specific details, citing how long the two sides have reportedly been in touch, and goes on to say that the process will begin in June:
Important dates to watch will be: May 30th, the Big 12 will have its conference meetings. June 15th, the new commissioner of the Big 12 when Bob Bowlsby will take office and August 15th, the deadline for any institution to withdraw from the ACC.
So, whether or not this report is true, all we have to do is, you know, wait.
Chuck Neinas says the Big 12 has not had any discussions with Florida State about adding the Seminoles in an expansion move.
Plenty of distinguished people from Tallahassee to Austin have weighed in on the Florida State-to-Big 12 rumors that heated up this month. Now legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden has put his opinion on the record, and he is not in favor of a potential move to the Big 12.
Bowden went on Jack Arute's SiriusXM radio program on Thursday and, in his best Southern drawl, emphatically advocated that the 'Noles stay put. Via John Taylor at CollegeFootballTalk:
"My message would be stay in the ACC," Bowden told Arute in a transcript provided by SiriusXM. "Do you want to win a National Championship at Florida State? You've got a better chance in the ACC than you have in the Big 12, or even the SEC.
"You say, ‘Well, gosh, they're much stronger in those conferences.' Yeah! They beat up on each other and you can't hardly get there. You know what? Florida State, wait ‘til you get good enough to rule the ACC then you start looking for someplace to jump. But my opinion? They should stay right where they are."
Bowden also cited increased travel costs for all the non-revenue sports as another reason to stay in the ACC, stating that the East Coast is FSU's "base."
While some had wondered whether the Florida St. Seminoles would call for ACC commissioner John Swofford's job during league meetings this week -- due to the many rumors about FSU's displeasure with the ACC -- everything seems to be on course so far. On the same day that former FSU linebacker and trustee Derrick Brooks claimed the Big 12 and the Noles had mutual interest, Swofford dismissed pretty much everything:
"Obviously, Florida State's representatives were here, but in terms of it affecting our business, it really didn't," Swofford said. "It was business as usual as we move ahead becoming a 14-team league.
"We've got 12 important members, and we'll soon have 14 important members," he added. "And moving ahead with the implementation that needs to be made, decisions that need to be made, and the start of an excellent new television contract and just the normal, operational kinds of things that we do on an annual basis that aren't really newsworthy (or) sexy, so to speak. ... We just had an excellent meeting in regard to all of that.
"And in terms of Florida State, they are a valuable member, just like our other 11 - and soon our other 13 - are."
Guarantee you there are many FSU fans seething a little bit about that last line. Florida State's technically more valuable than any of the other 11 most of the time, but no commissioner's going to say that.
Former Florida St. Seminoles linebacker Derrick Brooks -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one, for our NFL readers -- has made some pretty big news in the great Big 12 realignment story, telling Tim Brando that the Big 12 actually contacted FSU, not the other way around.
Former player says some stuff we should ignore? Hard to say, as Brooks is also a former FSU trustee. Athletic director Randy Spetman says, "I don't know where Derrick got that."
If true, that would change pretty much everything about this story, as the Big 12 has been silent, Bob Bowlsby has called for a few weeks to get his freaking feet in the doggone door before everyone starts asking him about the goshdang Seminoles (he didn't say it like that), and DeLoss Dodds has said there's nothing to the whole thing. Thus, we should approach Brooks' claim with a good bit of skepticism.
But still! FSU-to-the Big 12 stuff remains in the news, and will continue to do so for at least a few more weeks, in all likelihood. It'll be hard for either side to release a definitive final answer until the new playoff plan gets firmed up.
Florida St. Seminoles fans and trustees have made it clear they'd like to see the program at least listen to what the Big 12 may have to offer, while the president and athletic director have publicly said they're committed to the ACC. But what about the Big 12?
There haven't really been any reports of any specific interest coming form the heartland, and that's after many months worth of reports that the league is interested in BYU, Louisville, Cincinnati and others. It's not like the Big 12 is an iron drum of secrecy. There's Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville saying FSU would be a nice get, and that's about it.
Brett McMurphy reports the conference still isn't even settled on whether it wants to expand at all, likely waiting until it gets to see how the new playoff plan's money shakes out before making a move:
And, oh by the way, the Big 12 is very satisfied with its current 10-member makeup.
"The Big 12 is literally on the fence as far as expansion," an industry source said. "One day, they're like 'Let's expand.' The next day, it's 'No, let's not.' There's no reason for them to expand except if there are some compelling reasons."
Since the playoff stuff won't be settled until later this summer, expect many more weeks of this before we can even begin talking about it for real. Hope you like conference realignment rumors, because they're never, ever going to stop!
Will the Florida St. Seminoles leave the ACC for the Big 12? We've now heard from just about every level of FSU's leadership, while Big 12 admins have been silent on the matter. Unless you count the Texas Longhorns as the official voice of the conference, which often seems like just the sort of thing you should do.
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has again commented on the FSU rumors, affirming that the two sides haven't been in touch and pointing out that Florida State is pretty far away.
Texas AD DeLoss Dodds says there "have been no conversations" between Big 12 and Florida State.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 14, 2012
DeLoss Dodds says of FSU: "They're a long ways away" in distance, prospects of joining Big 12.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 14, 2012
As others have pointed out, Tallahassee is closer to, say, Dallas than Morgantown is. Others have also pointed out that Texas, along with three other Big 12 schools, have given serious thought to joining the Pac-12 at least twice that we know of.
Are the Florida St. Seminoles interested in listening to the Big 12's (still hypothetical) conference realignment offers or not? The Board of Trustees is apparently on board, while the athletic director has shot down the whole thing. President Eric Barron denied the Noles are looking, but has now taken more of his time to address the practical implications in a memo via Tomahawk Nation:
I want to assure you that any decision made about FSU athletics will be reasoned and thoughtful and based on athletics, finances and academics. Allow me to provide you with some of the issues we are facing:
In support of a move are four basic factors argued by many alumni:
1. The ACC is more basketball than it is football, and many of our alumni view us as more football oriented than the ACC
2. The ACC is too North Carolina centric and the contract advantages basketball and hence advantages the North Carolina schools
3. The Big 12 has some big football schools that match up with FSU
4. The Big 12 contract (which actually isn't signed yet) is rumored to be $2.9M more per year than the ACC contract. We need this money to be competitive.
But, in contrast,
1. The information presented about the ACC contract that initiated the blogosphere discussion was not correct. The ACC is an equal share conference and this applies to football and to basketball there is no preferential treatment of any university with the exception of 3rd tier rights for women's basketball and Olympic sports. FSU is advantaged by that aspect of the contract over the majority of other ACC schools.
2. Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M left the Big 12, at least in part because the Big 12 is not an equal share conference. Texas has considerably more resource avenues and gains a larger share (and I say this as a former dean of the University of Texas at Austin - I watched the Big 12 disintegration with interest). So, when fans realize that Texas would get more dollars than FSU, always having a competitive advantage, it would be interesting to see the fan reaction.
3. Much is being made of the extra $2.9M that the Big 12 contract (which hasn't been inked yet) gets over the ACC contract. Given that the Texas schools are expected to play each other (the Big 12 is at least as Texas centered than the ACC is North Carolina centered), the most likely scenario has FSU playing Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and West Virginia on a recurring basis and the other teams sporadically (and one more unnamed team has to join to allow the Big 12 to regain a championship game), we realize that our sports teams can no longer travel by bus to most games the estimate is that the travel by plane required by FSU to be in the Big 12 appears to exceed the $2.9M difference in the contract actually giving us fewer dollars than we have now to be competitive with the Big 12 teams, who obviously do not have to travel as far. Any renegotiated amount depends not just on FSU but the caliber of any other new team to the Big 12.
4. Few believe that the above teams will fill our stadium with fans of these teams and so our lack of sales and ticket revenue would continue.
5. We would lose the rivalry with University of Miami that does fill our stadium.
6. It will cost between $20M and $25M to leave the ACC we have no idea where that money would come from. It would have to come from the Boosters which currently are unable to support our current University athletic budget, hence the 2% cut in that budget.
7. The faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker and in fact, many of them resent the fact that a 2% ($2.4M) deficit in the athletics budget receives so much attention from concerned Seminoles, but the loss of 25% of the academic budget (105M) gets none when it is the most critical concern of this University in terms of its successful future.
I present these issues to you so that you realize that this is not so simple (not to mention that negotiations aren't even taking place). One of the few wise comments made in the blogosphere is that no one negotiates their future in the media. We can't afford to have conference affiliation be governed by emotion. It has to be based on a careful assessment of athletics, finances and academics. I assure you that every aspect of conference affiliation will be looked at by this institution, but it must be a reasoned decision.
The Big 12 has, on multiple occasions, found itself on life support in the last couple of years of conference realignment. For a brief moment, however, it has a chance to go on the offensive. It should not waste the opportunity.
When buzz about the Florida St. Seminoles eyeing the Big 12 along with a mysterious accomplice first sprang up, it was the Clemson Tigers who were believed to be in the running. Since then, the Maryland Terrapins, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and others have also been mentioned, but Dan Wetzel reports the Miami Hurricanes could get the longest look.
Miami's Board of Trustees, for its part, is not quite as gung-ho about the whole thing as FSU's is, but then again, nobody is really quite as gung-ho as FSU's Board of Trustees. From CBS Sports' Brian London:
"It's highly unlikely," the BOT member, who wished to remain nameless, said. "I'm not sure Miami's academic standards are a good fit in the Big 12."
It's fun to read this stuff from 1990 in light of the current state of realignment. At the time, FSU thought Miami would end up in the SEC, which led to disappointment when the Noles went into the ACC themselves. Twenty years later, we're talking about them both leaving for the Big 12, which didn't even exist in 1990.
For more on Canes football, visit Miami blog The 7th Floor.
Unless you're the type to check in on conference realignment rumors during the weekend (bless you, if so), you may have missed some of the Florida St. Seminoles excitement over the past few days. The big takeaways are all in this great piece by Dan Wetzel, which contains much of the original reporting on whether FSU is actually a potential Big 12 target or not. There were certainly a number of statements, albeit conflicting, from FSU leadership that make this story look like it's really heading somewhere.
The Wetzel story helps clear up some of the concern over the ACC's new TV deal. For one thing, it's largely backloaded, so by the time Florida State and others actually see the new contract pay off, the ACC could have fallen far to the back of the pack again anyway. People in the ACC are legitimately worried about FSU, while those in the Big 12 seem to view the whole thing as an interesting potential surprise opportunity, according to the story. Wetzel also reports the Miami Hurricanes -- not the Clemson Tigers -- could be a more likely traveling companion for the Noles in the event of a conference switch.
Also, from earlier in the weekend, in chronological order:
Well, not "rumors," per se, but rather the head of FSU's Board of Trustees saying the Florida St. Seminoles should listen to what the Big 12 may or may not have to offer. Not exactly rumory anymore. Oh, and coach Jimbo Fisher going along with whatever he was asked about the Big 12.
Either way, here's Florida State president Eric Barron on the matter:
Florida State University regrets that misinformation about the provisions of the ACC contract has unnecessarily renewed the controversy and speculation about University's athletic conference alignment. Florida State respects the views of the Chair of its Board of Trustees that, of course, any university would examine options that would impact university academics, athletics or finances. At the same time, Florida State is not seeking an alternative to the ACC nor are we considering alternatives. Our current commitments remain strong.
BOT chairman Andy Haggard's issues with the ACC, as shared by Warchant.com, were indeed incorrect on the exact matter of third-tier media rights, a central issue in the whole dispute. However, Barron isn't exactly in sole charge of this matter, and if the board were to eventually decide it's time to go, then it would be time to go.
Then again, all we've heard is a bunch of anger from FSU's side and very little actual interest from the Big 12's side. (It's hard to imagine the Big 12 wouldn't be interested.)
With the ACC in shambles and the Big 12 less in shambles, FSU's interest in the Big 12 is apparently a thing. It's become more of a thing with the news that head coach Jimbo Fisher thinks the Seminoles should look at the conference that used to have 12 schools.
"There have been no official talks, but I think you always have to look out there to see what's best for Florida State," Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel. "If that [jumping to the Big 12] is what's best for Florida State, then that's what we need to do."
As head coach, Fisher probably has some say. This whole "Florida State being in the ACC" thing might not be too long for the future, considering the fact that Fisher, the FSU Board of Trustees, and also, apparently, the Big 12 think the Seminoles being in the Big 12 might be a good idea.
The conference realignment dance between the Big 12 and Florida State continues, with both Noles and Big 12 sources making overtures of mutual interest this weekend. FSU Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard expressed his displeasure with the ACC's recent television deal, and indicated in no uncertain terms that the Board would be interested in looking into what the Big 12 had to offer.
On the other side, Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel is now citing a source that says the Big 12 would be interested in Florida State. Via @DanWetzel:
Big 12 source on whether league would be interested in Florida State. "I can't imagine how we wouldn't be interested in Florida State."— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) May 12, 2012
This runs counter to what Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds stated earlier in the week, which was that the FSU rumors had "no basis." With both denials and expressions of interest already floating in the press from both sides, it appears the FSU and Big 12 rumors are just heating up.
We thought the Florida State to the Big 12 talk was over. It seemed the door was firmly closed and locked on Friday. The Seminoles' athletic director shot the rumors down, then Texas AD DeLoss Dodds did the same.
But expansion and realignment are never that simple. Add in the mess of a situation at Florida State, in a leadership sense, and we've got a recipe for dissent.
For example, take Florida State Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard's comments via Warchant.com.
"How do you not look into that option," asked Haggard. "On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State's best interest."
Haggard is fed up with the ACC and isn't going to take it. He ripped the conference for giving up third-tier broadcasting rights for football while keeping them for basketball. That move, he said, shows a bias towards the Carolina schools, and puts FSU in a bad spot.
So on one hand there's the athletic directors squashing the rumors. On the other there's the Board of Trustees at FSU apparently endorsing, perhaps begging for, a move to the Big 12 -- or at least listening to what the conference could bring to the table. And we're back to square one again.
Get ready for a fun summer!
Completely unfounded speculation about the Florida St. Seminoles and an ACC accomplice heading to the Big 12 has now been specifically rebuffed by FSU, but how about from the Big 12's side? For an official statement, we should probably turn to new commish Bob Bowlsby. Or, for an even more official word, Texas Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds.
DeLoss Dodds on Big 12 expansion rumors: "I don't think the Florida State-Clemson thing has any basis at all."— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 11, 2012
Add that to the UT and Texas Tech officials cited off the record by Kirk Bohls, and we now have denials from all over. We can probably go ahead and once again declare this one dead for now, just as we did the last time it flared up for absolutely no specific reason.
It's still a fun scenario to play around with, so don't expect the conversation to just up and halt.
Here we have the first official comment or report from pretty much anyone anywhere on the Florida St. Seminoles possibly making a move to the Big 12. And it's a denial, from FSU athletic director Randy Spetman, who tells the Orlando Sentinel he's "not out negotiating."
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, FSU athletics director Randy Spetman said his programs were "committed to the ACC" and that any conversations about the school switching conferences is pure nonsense.
"We're in the ACC. We're committed to the ACC," Spetman said. "That's where our president and the board of trustees has committed to, so we're great partners in the ACC."
Rumors will persist, of course, since conference realignment moves all the way back to Nebraska have been preceded by official denials. To this point, it's all been speculation, which was sparked again when the ACC revealed its new TV contract, which will bank the Noles and other programs noticeably less than they could make after an entirely hypothetical jump to the Big 12.
The ACC has a lot on its conference realignment plate right now. Conference realignment plates are basically just lists of cities by population, which school presidents and conference commissioners find to be the most delicious things in the world. The ACC has growing resentment among its football-first fan bases while a neighbor or two to the north is still, presumably, looking to get in.
The Connecticut Huskies more or less openly courted the ACC back when it looked like the Big East was about to explode, but perhaps they're being a little more subtle about it this time.
Connecticut's governor is calling for UConn and the Boston College Eagles to resume their rivalry. As Eagle In Atlanta points out, considering the ACC's nine-game schedule, that could be a clever call for the two to be in the same conference.
The long-standing theory is that the ACC wants to make its league as habitable as possible for Notre Dame, and is waiting to see whether the Irish show interest before taking UConn and somebody else. Rutgers has been the presumed Domer substitute, but now the Louisville Cardinals are also reportedly looking for an invite.
Maybe one day we'll look back all this speculation about the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers joining the Big 12 and laugh, the way we did when everyone thought Oklahoma was going to join Conference USA. Wait, you don't remember that one? Crazy weekend, man. You should've been there.
Regarding the latest Big 12 rumors, and there are always latest Big 12 rumors to regard, here's Kirk Bohls:
Texas, Texas Tech school officials dismiss rumors of FSU/Clemson possible exit to Big 12. "First I've heard of it," one high-up says.— kbohls (@kbohls) May 10, 2012
Doesn't mean we should take anything completely off the table, though it's sort of weird that it's believed to be on the table to begin with. Unlike almost every other realignment move, this hypothetical one is pretty much a grassroots thing. There's been not a single report from a non-message board outlet that FSU and Clemson are being courted by the Big 12 or vice versa, yet we'll all just keep talking about it.
Maybe we should just, like, pretend it's actually happened. Give the Noles a spot in the Big 12 standings and pretend they're Holiday Bowl-bound sometimes. That might be fun.
For months now, reports have had the Louisville Cardinals as the Big 12's next target in the event that the Big 12 indeed makes a move for 12 football schools. The Cards tried to swipe the West Virginia Mountaineers' invite, in fact. Now, with the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers emerging as widely hypothesized potential additions to the Big 12, Louisville could be in good shape to get what it reportedly wants: out of the Big East.
Andy Katz reports Louisville is making no secrets of its desire to land in either the ACC or the Big 12, meaning a move by the Big 12 into ACC territory could be an all-but guaranteed win for the Cards. Either they could accompany FSU into the Big 12, or they could help shore up football losses in the ACC. Again, all totally scenarios and war-planning, but this could shape up nicely for UL.
The fact that Louisville would prefer to get out of the Big East isn't exactly news. The play they made last fall to try and woo the Big 12 spoke pretty loudly. Tom Jurich being completely up front about that desire, however, is news.
For months, Jurich has made statements along the lines of "we're in the Big East and will do whatever we can to strengthen the Big East going forward, but of course we're still going to keep all of our options open." This was essentially a lengthy euphemism for, "if someone asks, we're bouncing."
Now, with U of L ally John Marinatto having been forced out, there's no reason for Louisville to be polite.
The ACC is the next to establish a long-term television contract, inking an extension with ESPN that will reportedly put the conference within hollerin' distance of the Big 12's new deal.
Thought we were done with this, but guess not. Here we are compiling rumors regarding the Florida St. Seminoles and Clemson Tigers leaving the ACC for the Big 12, just in case you were wondering from whence such chatter hails this time around.
So here's the source, the same one that was widely scorned and hooted down last time around. An individual going by the name Honus "The Dude" Sneed at Eer Insider makes a mostly strong claim this week:
Remember that as you read what's below. It's true right now, May 4th, 2012 as I write it, but it may not be true tomorrow.
Clemson and FSU have an agreement in principal to withdraw from the ACC and compete in the Big 12 starting in 2013.
Sounds like quite a leap, and it's hard to imagine what sources a West Virginia blog would have inside either FSU and Clemson or the Big 12 that would enable such a mostly confident report. And it's hard to imagine any school would have an established agreement with a conference that is literally hiring a new commissioner on this very day.
But certain Noles and Tigers backers have indeed tired of the ACC's apparent basketball-first initiative, so the idea will again be popular among certain circles.
Which college teams are in which conferences now, and where will they be next year? Not only do we have all 11 conferences in list form, we've got some projections for the future.
WIth the ACC and SEC expansions, the ACC plans to go to a nine-game conference schedule for football, which could put future out-of-conference series in jeopardy. One series feared lost was planned between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers. Thankfully, according to Clemson Athletic Director Don Phillips, that series is still on.
Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips just told members of the Media that Clemson and Georgia will play football in'13 and '14— Will Vandervort (@steelerwill) March 30, 2012
The 2012 SEC schedule has been released, but the 2013 schedule is still a bit up in the air as the SEC will need to modify its scheduling procedures in preparation for the additional teams and conference games.
The ACC plans to move to a nine-game conference schedule once the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers join, jeopardizing many a planned out-of-conference series. For one thing, several ACC teams already play SEC teams as one of their four OOC games, so retaining another BCS series would mean just one cupcake per year. Think of the snacks!
One locally treasured series, the one between the Clemson Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs, will still happen, says Clemson's AD, but it doesn't sound like a sure thing that it'll necessarily happen in 2013 and 2014 as planned. Elsewhere, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are looking to trim two games from their four-game venture with the BYU Cougars, and the Florida St. Seminoles aren't expected to play the West Virginia Mountaineers next year.
Perhaps this is what's inspired Dabo Swinney to propose spring games between two teams, rather than just a one-squad scrimmage. Clemson and UGA fans think of their series as a deep rivalry even though the two rarely get the chance to meet.
Let Kyle King of Dawg Sports break it down by pointing to what happened to the series the last time the ACC expanded:
The conference realignment train has cooled for the time being, now that Temple's made its way back to the Big East. Let's take a look at what a fine mess we've all gotten ourselves into.
The ACC's been mighty quiet on the conference realignment rumor front of late, which is just when John Swofford's at his most deadly. Recall how he swiped the Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange from the Big East before John Marinatto even knew about it. So what's the ACC up to?
Still hoping to land the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Kelly Quinlan of Rivals' Georgia Tech site reports. That makes sense, as that's been the presumed standing for quite a while now. Quinlan cites multiple ESPN insiders. And not, like, the website subscriber kind.
But then, the report continues to list Notre Dame, Rutgers, Maryland and Georgia Tech as schools the Big Ten could pick up, also at the urging of Big Television. SB Nation's de facto ACC blog, BC Interruption, ain't buying that one bit:
The ACC is not as easy a poaching target as the Big 12 or the Big East, younger conferences that by their own design are destabilized. The Big 12 destabilized based on unequal revenue sharing; the Big East never quite solved the football-hoops split ...
The other reason I don't buy the second part of this rumor is based on the players involved. Why would ESPN, which has a long-term contract with the ACC, want to weaken the conference in favor of the Big Ten (who has its own television network and a partnership with Fox) and the SEC (CBS). If there is even a half truth in [Boston College athletic director Gene] DeFilippo's flippant comments about ESPN's role in conference realignment, why would the WWL want to tear down what they just helped create?
Speculation over whether or not the Pittsburgh Panthers would jump from the Big East to the ACC this season can all but stop now that Pitt AD Steve Pederson uttered an emphatic "no" when asked the question by Jerry DiPaola of TribLive.com.
The word was "NO" — maybe the most emphatic "NO" I have heard in my life (and, believe me, I have heard it more often than I care to remember).
Pederson did not explain his answer, because there was no need. It was in response to my question about Pitt possibly considering paying more than the required $5 million Big East exit fee to flee to the ACC.
That would close the door on both Pitt and the Syracuse Orange jumping ship in 2012, and it might put a serious damper on the schools leaving before the 27-month period required by Big East bylaws. Both schools' athletic directors are now on record as saying they would not pay the kind of money that West Virginia paid for an early release to their new home, the Big 12.
The big question for Pitt and Syracuse now is: Who will they play to fill those two open spots on their 2012 football schedules?
The West Virginia Mountaineers have made it out of the Big East in time for 2012, but the Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange won't be able to do the same. They're staying put, and thus avoiding having to pay a $20 million buyout like WVU's. But even the Big East isn't sold on making them stick around until the bylaw'd 2014 season.
Commissioner John Marinatto said the Big East "might be open to a discussion" on letting the two head to the ACC a year early. That's a change both from what the parties originally agreed to and from what Marinatto had recommended when the news broke and since.
Why the shift? The Big East will add quite a few teams next year, and it could be simpler to make a clean break. Out with the old! Keeping two programs around for one more year while importing [/counts on fingers] almost a half-dozen, with another one or two on the way later, could make for some brow-furrowing scheduling dilemmas. That's what I think, at least.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are in active, internal discussions to leave the Big East Conference in 2012 if the West Virginia Mountaineers are able to leave the conference first, according to the Post-Gazette.
I am now becoming more and more convinced in the conversations I've had in the past two days that Pitt will be in the ACC in 2012 and here is why - the school has had enough with the way the Big East has mangled this all and frankly is waiting on West Virginia.
If - or more accurately - when, West Virginia finally declares they are leaving for the 2012 season officially and the Big 12 schedule is announced with WVU on it, Pitt is going to follow them out the door and dare the Big East to stop them.
The report also mentions that Pitt AD Steve Pederson has become extremely optimistic about Pitt and the Syracuse Orange joining the ACC by next athletic season.
The report also mentions that even if they stay and West Virginia leaves, Pitt and Syracuse could sue the Big East over breach of contract since both schools will lose what would have been a marquee television game and the revenue that goes with it.
However ugly you think this situation is, remember, it can always get uglier.
Need a refresher on the latest round of college conference realignment as we enter the 2012 football offseason? You're in luck!
The Pittsburgh Panthers and Syracuse Orange are tied to the Big East for 27 months (well, more like 26 by now) and were supposed to have to pay $5 million in exit fees in order to join the ACC. The West Virginia Mountaineers were looking at the same deal, now that they're on their way to the Big 12 at some point.
But according to Patrick Southern of BlueGoldNews.com, both Pitt and WVU could be looking to pay four times that in order to leave early. Southern reports a $21 million exit fee payment would allow the two schools to leave the Big East well before that 27-month period ends.
No word on if Cuse can expect the same deal, but that'd be pretty dumb if they couldn't, if this is all accurate.
If this is the Big East's plan, it could be one of the few smart moves they've made. They'd get to unload some schools that don't want to stay, add some that do, pick up some cash and completely re-brand during one offseason, instead of morphing over a quarter of a decade into something entirely different.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford appears to have given Notre Dame an ultimatum: Either join as a full member or look elsewhere. At least that seems to be what he meant when he said this:
The popular theory has been that the ACC has been holding two spots open in order to get to 16 teams. Notre Dame and UConn seem to be the most obvious choices. Notre Dame, which currently is in the Big East for all sports other than football, doesn't want to move their entire sports department over, the ACC seems poised to move in another direction. Among the most obvious candidates is Rutgers.
Notre Dame has long enjoyed the fruits of remaining independent for football, and is understandably reluctant to give that up. Even if success has not been as plentiful as they would want, they do not have to share any of their significant revenues with other teams. In a 16-team ACC, there would be 15 other mouths to feed.
For the latest updates on ACC realignment, be sure to follow this StoryStream.
TCU to the Big 12? Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC? Everybody to the Mountain USA? What has the recent realignment drama done to the actual balance of power on the college football field?
Boston College Eagles athletic director Gene DeFilippo is kind of a loose cannon, judging by his past week. His most infamous comment, a little thing about the ACC taking conference realignment direction from ESPN, raised a minor uproar, as did his claim that BC helped block the Connecticut Huskies from fleeing the Big East and joining the ACC.
Here's DeFilippo as of Tuesday, dialing it all back just a bit:
I spoke inappropriately and erroneously regarding ESPN's role in conference expansion. While I harbor some ill feelings toward the University of Connecticut regarding the lawsuit, depositions and derogatory comments from UConn officials when we announced our decision to join the ACC, it was inappropriate to express personal feelings that might have been construed as the position of BC or the ACC.
The statement has been met with a firm eyeroll from around the college footballosphere:
And stay tuned here for more conference realignment news.
Sunday, a quote from Boston College Eagles AD Gene DeFilippo that the ACC had added Syracuse and Pittsburgh because ESPN "is the one who told us what to do" raised much squalor and dismay, as it darn well should've.
It seems DeFilippo just isn't very careful when he talks -- Exhibit B -- but it's hard to say whether he let a cat out of a bag or accidentally referred to a general situation by giving it the same name as a large, powerful media entity. An entity you could totally see telling a conference like the ACC what to do.
Both the ACC and ESPN are denying the former. From a report by the New York Times' Pete Thamel:
"We've got a great partnership and a great working relationship with ESPN," an A.C.C. spokesperson said. "But they have never and will never dictate to us, especially in regards to expansion."
An ESPN spokesman also denied DeFilippo's claims, adding, "The driving force on realignment lies with the conferences and universities."
There's room for parsing. Dictating is different than advising, which still could've happened. Providing a piece of a decision isn't the same thing as being the driving force. Conspiracy theorists, this one somehow hasn't been definitively squashed yet, as nutty as the whole thing sounds.
Stay tuned for more conference realignment news.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is a basketball league, and with the recent ACC expansion that has never been more clear.
Across college athletics, the push for conference expansion has been driven by football and the gigantic television contracts that TV networks hand out to the nation's BCS conferences. But the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse -- perennial contenders in basketball with mediocre football programs -- proves the conference is also interested in re-establishing itself as the nation's best basketball conference.
No one denies that the addition of these school's will help the league expand its appeal in the northeast. But the Boston Globe's Mark Blaudschun reports that while football money was the main reason for the move, it was also about basketball.
According to sources in the Big East and ACC, the idea is to reestablish the ACC as the preeminent conference in college basketball and was a predatory strike at the Big East, which, while struggling to improve its BCS rankings in football, had established itself as the runaway leader in basketball.
This makes even more sense when you consider that the ACC reportedly wanted to add Syracuse and Connecticut, but Boston College blocked UConn's bid. UConn, coming off a national championship, would have given the ACC an even bigger basketball profile.
Of course, like everything else, it's all about the money. And BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo said this move was about football money:
"We always keep our television partners close to us. You don’t get extra money for basketball. It’s 85 percent football money. TV -- ESPN -- is the one who told us what to do. This was football; it had nothing to do with basketball.’’
But even so, the ACC has aligned itself as an elite basketball conference by adding two top teams from its closest competition.
Every time you think conference realignment is over, something crazy happens. That said, between the Big Ten saying they're content with 12 teams, the Big 12 saying they'd like to stick with 10 teams and the ACC now saying they feel "very settled" with 14 teams, perhaps things are indeed beginning to slow down.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Swofford said Friday that the league is "very settled" at 14 members after announcing last month it would add Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East. It's still unclear exactly when those schools would begin play in the ACC. Big East bylaws require a 27-month notice and $5 million exit fee.
That sound you just heard was the remaining Big East football schools weeping.
Since they're settling with 14 teams, the ACC has begun renegotiating its TV deal with ESPN. Earlier this year, the league signed a $1.86 billion deal that gave ESPN and ABC exclusive rights to basketball and football programming. Expect that number to go up and expect Syracuse and Pitt to point to whatever that new number is as the reason they did what they did.
Stay tuned for more conference realignment news.
Well today is just What Kentucky Thinks About Conference Realignment Day, isn't it? Shortly after athletic director Mitch Barnhart hinted the Kentucky Wildcats might roadblock the Lousiville Cardinals' entry into the SEC, Cats basketball coach John Calipari offered his opinion on where the league goes from here:
"I don't think this stuff is done yet," Calipari said. "I've said for months that there may be four conferences with 16 or 18 teams each. But I can tell you that the SEC at 13, 14 or 16 is going to be stable. We're fine. If they're going to add, I'd like us to go and get Virginia Tech, Maryland and Missouri to go along with Texas A&M.
In that same article, Vanderbilt Commodores coach Kevin Stallings also says he favors an even number of teams. Add that to South Carolina and Georgia and you have prominent personnel at one-third of SEC schools saying 14 or 16, rather than the 13 Mike Slive is claiming would suit the conference just fine.
We haven't heard anything about Maryland's SEC candidacy in a while, other than that they were one of the two schools to favor a smaller ACC exit fee. Otherwise, they were mentioned once about a month ago and that's it. But those other two might be the most likely candidates for spot No. 14.
As if it was wasn't already abundantly clear that the Connecticut Huskies want out of the Big East and would like to join the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers in the ACC, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy made sure to douse the bridge connecting them to the Big East in kerosene one more time today.
Governor confirms UConn interested in moving to ACC if conference goes to 16 teams, says barring that "you fall back to the Big East."
The Big East is officially UConn's safety conference.
Malloy also discussed the fact that, whatever happens next in conference realignment, it's probably not going to happen anytime soon.
"I think there was expectancy built up initially that this was quickly going to be resolved," he said. "That's clearly not the case. The ACC has the first decision to make and that's whether they're going to stay at 14 teams or stay at 16. I know that there's one team, one school that they would like to get into the ACC that would guarantee them going to 16 teams and that's been speculated to be Notre Dame. I suspect that that's true. I don't know how likely that is to happen or not happen. Although, I tend to think it's not terribly likely."
As for whether or not it's in the best interest of UConn to be openly speculating on the ACC's decision-making process while also throwing the Big East under the bus...that remains to be seen.
For more, visit UConn blog The UConn blog, which is perhaps our most accurately named blog.
For some reason, the ACC wanted to keep secret the 12 school representatives who made up its conference expansion committee. The Daily Press' David Teel has done something about that, revealing the 12 committee members.
University of Miami president Donna Shalala's name appears on the list, as do three other presidents. Four faculty representatives are named, three of them scientists (yes, Georgia Tech's rep is an engineering professor). The athletic directors included: Gene DeFilippo of the Boston College Eagles, Randy Spetman of the Florida St. Seminoles, Dick Baddour of the North Carolina Tar Heels and Kevin White of the Duke Blue Devils.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but the fact that there's only one truly football-first school represented among the committee's athletic director makeup seems interesting.
The additions of the Syracuse Orange and the Pittsburgh Panthers, the likely Connecticut Huskies welcoming and the potential Rutgers Scarlet Knights acquisition are all basketball-friendly moves. It's been reported that UConn has a number of supporters in the ACC, which would almost certainly mean basketball schools rather than football schools.
For more, stay tuned to this conference realignment StoryStream.
The Temple Owls have been talking up their eventual return to the Big East for months now. As talk of the prodigal program's realignment grows, Louisville Cardinals coach Rick Pitino has thoughts on this matter and other matters. You will not be surprised by his thoughts:
Admit Temple immediately. They have a highly competitive football program with outstanding basketball tradition. They are a past BIG EAST member and an excellent school academically. And as all my friends say in Philadelphia, they are located in BIG EAST territory.
Offer Air Force, Navy, and Army to join in football only.
Sit down with Villanova and ask them to make a major commitment to football.
All of those schools have been tied to the Big East in one way or another, save Army. Navy and Air Force are supposed to join aaaany minute now, and Nova's onboarding was recently put on hold for now, though the Wildcats have also reportedly made eyes at the ACC. (That won't amount to anything.)
If my information is correct, the ACC, namely certain basketball coaches, did not like the amount of exposure BIG EAST basketball was getting nationally and the amount of tournament teams selected the past couple of seasons. Their feelings were made known at conference meetings. Now true or untrue, you can't tell me that Pitt and Syracuse are making ACC football significantly better. In the last few years, they have laid off more football staff coaches than Bank of America did with its employees last week.
For more on Big East realignment, check out Big East Coast Bias.
The Connecticut Huskies and Rutgers Scarlet Knights want to join the ACC, and the Navy Midshipmen might join the ACC. You knew that, but here's a sourced report from the Baltimore Sun on both potential moves that adds detail to both stories. Please meet me in the next paragraph so we can talk about some things.
Nationwide college conference realignment didn't really hit me until reports emerged of Navy football joining a conference. They've been independent for 120 years, likely longer than your school has even had a football program. That's longer than Notre Dame's been independent. Even Army joined a conference for a while. Kinda bums me out to see Navy have to give that up and join a basketball conference. The idea of Navy joining a conference makes me shake my head every time I think about it.
Thanks for listening.
Check back often for conference realignment news, because it pretty much never stops happening.
The Big East's announcement that it would enforce its 27-month rule against the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers, preventing the schools from leaving until 2014, might not be going over so well with certain member schools.
The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy reports some of the conference's approximately 11,000 basketball programs may prefer to rid themselves of Pitt and Cuse earlier than 2014. Really don't get why this conference doesn't just split itself according to sport. Nobody else gets it either. Thanks for listening.
The schools doing the exiting tend to agree. Here's Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim -- the fact that he's not all that happy about leaving the Big East makes it even more poignant:
"The Big East needs to move on," he said. "The Big East needs to be worrying about who they're adding and what they're going to do. If they can get a couple of teams, why would they say to those two teams, 'Well, no, you can't come in right now. We're going to hold Syracuse to two more years.' That doesn't make any sense at all.
The Connecticut Huskies have made no secret of their desire to follow the Syracuse Orange, Pittsburgh Panthers and Boston College Eagles into the ACC. Their lack of secrecy cannot be understated. Like, it's kind of odd. While one scenario had the ACC adding UConn and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to shore up its hold on those college football-rabid Corridor markets, the conference's more likely wish is to add the Huskies along with a bigger fish.
So, yeah, the ACC would add UConn if it could also add the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NBC Connecticut reports. That's the way the story's looked since the Cuse and Pitt pickups, but now there's a sourced story on the matter. Once the Irish say no, UConn and Rutgers could still be the fallback.
The ACC, along with every other conference except the SEC and probably Pac-12, would like Notre Dame too. Their presumed destination all along has been the Big Ten, if they ever do decide to stop bathing in NBC's money for a while.
There's at least some local interest among Irish supporters for the ACC, so.
Those $20 million buyout penalties the ACC reportedly installed last week, which we're supposed to think of as guarantees of conference stability despite Colorado and Nebraska having paid the same to exit the Big 12? They might have produced even less of a rock-solid foundation than you'd thought.
According to reports, the fee was supposed to be $34 million until the Florida St. Seminoles and Maryland Terrapins brought it down. Since those schools have potential options outside the ACC, that's interesting.
FSU has been mentioned as a possible SEC target, but its football program is such a national presence that the Noles could probably go just about anywhere they wanted. Maryland's size and AAU status make it a viable Big Ten expansion candidate at some point.
Pete Thamel thinks the SEC is staying pat for now, but there's now one more small reason to keep FSU in the back of your mind as a potential addition, if that's where you store information about such things.
Big East Conference commissioner John Marinatto came away from Tuesday's nights meeting between the conference football schools with the impression everyone was committed to the future of the conference.
According to UConn, West Virginia and Rutgers...not so much.
UConn President Susan Herbst released a statement today in regards to the school and it's future and at no point does she even mention the Big East:
"Please know that we will always do what is in the best interests for the University of Connecticut."
Meanwhile, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck's statement does actually mention the words "Big" and "East," but seems as noncommittal to the conference as UConn's.
"As I stated before, WVU is an excellent flagship, land-grant University, with national-caliber athletic and academic programs. We are, and will remain, a national player in college athletics."
Another source told the AP that Rutgers never actually committed itself to the Big East either.
Someone should probably double-check with John Marinatto that he was in the same meeting all of these schools were in.
For more on the ever-changing Big East landscape, head on over to Big East Coast Bias.
The college conference realignment news is changing by the hour, so QUICK, hurry up and read our breakdown of exactly what we know as of right now. It'll certainly be different by tomorrow.
Ouch. According to CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy, who's been the source of conference realignment news for the past week, the West Virginia Mountaineers have been already turned down by both the SEC and the ACC. Ouch.
We'd known WVU had requested a place in the new SEC, but their interest in the ACC is new information. Every Big East team is likely phoning Tobacco Road night and day, so it's not surprising, but the Eers just seemed like a much better fit for the SEC than for the ACC. Which I mean as a compliment to all parties involved.
Surprising news, since most conferences seem to be leaving all their cards on the table. Rejecting West Virginia would leave the SEC with the Missouri Tigers and Virginia Tech Hokies as major options for team No. 14, while solidifying the notion that the ACC will keep adding big northeastern TV markets unless they can break Notre Dame.
As the Big East stands to lose two of its best football-playing schools to the ACC, along with perhaps two more to the ACC, one to the Big Ten and one to the SEC, you'd be forgiven for assuming a somber tone out of the northeast. But this Pete Thamel piece on the conference paints a different picture:
"We have a track record of coming out stronger than we did before," [Big East commissioner John] Marinatto said, referring the A.C.C.'s raid of three Big East teams in 2003. "We may even hold the opening round of our basketball tournament in Greensboro," a frequent site of the A.C.C. tournament, he said in jest.
Elsewhere in Corridor pride, former Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese says at least his conference "kicked [the ACC's] butt in basketball the last 10 years" and Connecticut Huskies coach Jim Calhoun says he just wants his program to land in the nation's top basketball conference, whichever conference that may be. Look at Calhoun's comments and you can see one of the ways UConn is selling itself to the ACC:
"We sit near Fairfield county, where many of our fans are from, a bedroom community for New York City," he said. "I don't know of any other school, with the exception of St. John's, Seton Hall that has that much influence in that city, the media capital of the world."
For more on the Big East, check out Big East Coast Bias.
While all eyes were on Oklahoma and the SEC, the ACC sneaked in and created a whole new level of ruckus in the ongoing conference realignment saga. What happens now?
Is the ACC more popular right now than it's ever been? Kinda seems like it, with the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers finding safe harbor in the conference realignment storm and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights among the many programs looking to reserve a spot, along with the Connecticut Huskies.
Let's add the Villanova Wildcats to that list, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel that confirms news first reported by VUHoops and The Nova Blog. To say Nova is a longshot here ... well, let's not be mean to Villanova, which currently fields a Division I-AA football program that was turned down by the Big East earlier this year.
Nova's best chance would be if the ACC decides to start adding non-football members in an attempt to coerce the Notre Dame Fighting Irish into joining. Or, as Boston College blog BC Interruption hypothesizes, the ACC could add Nova and a school like Georgetown to lock down northeastern hoops and finish off the Big East (I'm not happy about it, but that's what's happening) without clogging up the football schedule any more than it already is because Wake Forest and Duke are on it.
For more on the Wildcats, head to Villanova blog The Nova Blog. It has a pretty clear name.
Those three entities in the title are listed in descending order of importance in this matter, of course.
As the Big East has already lost two of its football-playing schools and could lose three more if the Big Ten and ACC help themselves, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have found themselves with a tenuous home for their Olympic sports.
While the Irish remain a football independent, it would be hard to imagine them choosing to leave their basketball in a dilapidated conference with few other nationally branded institutions and no shot at a top media deal -- not to mention one that could soon be upstaged in its own home. Either way, Notre Dame remains the most-prized item on the market for the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East and ACC.
So when Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick comments on conference realignment, it's important:
I don't understand it. How do you vote as a collegiate president on something that has the potential to provide some benefit for your institution and the conference you're affiliated with but has a very negative consequence for a host of other members of the academy, as presidents like to call it?
Also, "a congressman from a state with a university that could be harmed by realignment" is making noise about using the federal government to force other schools to play sports with a school his constituents happen to favor. And NCAA president Mark Emmert wants everybody to settle down.
For more, head to Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
Yep, it's come to this point. After Pittsburgh and Syracuse officially jumped ship to the Atlantic Coast Conference, other Big East teams are looking for some way - any way - out of their current situation. Poor, poor TCU. The latest team to attempt to jump ship is Rutgers, who have contacted the ACC and Big Ten.
Not to disrespect Rutgers fans or the university as an academic institution, but the only reason either of these conferences would want Rutgers is if they were truly desperate for a 16th team or something along those lines. Currently, no one is desperate for a 16th team.
The Big East, which had 16 teams as of yesterday (plus TCU), now appears to be dying a very quick death. Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti had this to say.
"I think given our assets and our location, the New York TV market, our AAU status and strong academic standing, and most of all - given all the nonsense that's gone on out there - running a clean program (with) integrity. We have great assets and we will continue to be a player nationally during this time as the landscape continues to shift."
Yes, Rutgers has the college football-crazy New York TV market. Who will be exceptionally crazy for Big Ten and/or ACC football. Because there is an average team in New Jersey who may be playing in one of those two conferences. Okay then!
For more on Rutgers, check out On the Banks.
The exit of the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers, along with the potential West Virginia Mountaineers evacuation to the SEC, has left Big East football-playing schools like the Connecticut Huskies, Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Louisville Cardinals in deep trouble. Let's not talk about the TCU Horned Frogs, as their situation is just too depressing.
UConn, for one, has stepped up its talks with the ACC, according to Andy Katz and Joe Schad:
According to the source, [UConn president Susan] Herbst was having conversations recently [with the ACC] but in light of Pittsburgh's and Syracuse's defections from the Big East, the talks have accelerated in the last 48 hours.
One semi-popular theory: the ACC expanded to 14 teams instead of going straight for 16 teams in order to make it clear to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish that there's still a stable home waiting for them. The ACC, Big East and Big 12 have loomed as potential non-Big Ten destinations for the Irish, should they ever deign to join a conference, but two of those are on the verge of losing power status.
If Notre Dame doesn't sign up, UConn and Rutgers seem like the most likely to be ACC teams No. 15 and 16, based on John Swofford's current plan of entering northeast media markets that care about basketball.
For more, stop by UConn blog The UConn Blog. That's the name of our UConn blog!
ACC commissioner John Swofford held a Sunday morning teleconference to announce the addition of the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers. It was a pretty standard teleconference, with a lot of boring stuff happening. But along the way, he dropped a pair of bombs.
When asked about the Texas Longhorns and the rumored mutual interest between the two, Swofford complimented the school but said he couldn't comment. Later, he called the ACC's revenue sharing arrangement "sacred," which would seem to rule out the onboarding of Texas and its Longhorn Network if true.
Then, Swofford admitted the ACC's basketball tournament could move to Madison Square Garden on a rotational basis. Which, whoa! Moving the conference's most prized event out of North Carolina would be a dramatic shift and signal that it thinks of itself as the east coast's conference, not just the other southeastern conference. Can't imagine Tobacco Road is very happy about hearing that, though.
The ACC made a move Sunday that will alter its geography, divisions, scheduling and culture. Well, the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers aren't all that great at football, so the culture will mostly stay the same. When the SEC added Texas A&M, we heard cautious approval from the conference's coaches and ADs. The ACC, however, is pretty pumped.
It's obvious that the world is turning upside down and we want the ACC to be in a position where we are strong. It's absolutely the right thing to do.
I'm proud of the leadership of our conference to be ahead of things. We're in a period of change. Whether everyone agrees with it or doesn't agree with it -- change is happening. It's not a revolution, it's evolution. These things are happening.
In that same ESPN.com story, N.C. State Wolfpack chancellor Randy Woodson is quoted as expressing his approval:
The great thing is that the conference is strong and committed to a unanimous commitment to staying together. And to the extent that this is kind of a dramatic shift in conferences, we're trying to be proactive and stay strong.
Well, that came out of nowhere. The Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers were announced in a Sunday morning release as the ACC's 13th and 14th teams. Pretty amazing, considering that before Saturday there were barely even rumors of these schools getting the call-up.
There's no reason to assume the ACC is done, as it could still lose Virginia Tech to the SEC, somehow convince Texas to join or wait and see if there are any other suitable Big East leftovers once that conference collapses. The Big East's bylaws place Pitt and Cuse into the ACC in 2014, but the Big East isn't really in a position to enforce much of anything, so presume 2012.
The rationale for the additions, from commissioner John Swofford:
"The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard," said commissioner John Swofford. "Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States."
Under the cover of college football Saturday, the ACC reportedly approved Syracuse and Pitt as its newest members. Rumors of the Orangemen and Panthers' possible exodus from the Big East emerged on Saturday morning, and now it's looking likely that the ACC announces the two as new members on Sunday.
The report comes from Kelly Whiteside of the USA Today and includes the timing of a possible announcement, which may come sooner rather than later.
The presidents of the Atlantic Coast Conference voted Saturday morning to accept Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the league, according to an official in the ACC. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league has not announced the move.
The ACC has scheduled a news media teleconference Sunday at 9:30 a.m., ET ostensibly to discuss the expansion, but no details were given.
So as everyone was watching Texas A&M's attempts to join the SEC and Oklahoma's rumored flirtation with the Pac-12, the ACC was busy swooping in and pillaging the Big East. Expansion is an absolutely ruthless game, and no conference is safe.
So what's next? Nobody has a clue. The Big East is down to seven football schools -- including TCU, who is set to join a conference that may resemble a barren wasteland -- and may be dead before the end of the month. The Big 12 is still clinging to life and may still lose members. And right now, it looks like the entire college landscape may be changing in front of our eyes.
We'll be back on realignment when more becomes available because it's clearly the most important thing going right now. Not like there's actual, on-field action going on or anything.
For some reason*, ACC news stories are never reported on until they're pretty much over with. While Texas and Oklahoma and Texas A&M have been the subject of realignment reports for literally years now, we only found out about Syracuse and Pitt joining the ACC once they'd pretty much already done it.
Gary Parrish reports ACC presidents could vote in the two new schools on Sunday. Remember, conferences don't vote on things unless they already know the subject of the vote will pass.
Meanwhile, attentions turn to the Big East, which always upsets everybody's attention. Parrish's colleague Brett McMurphy, who's led the way on this story all day long, reports the Big East has contacted every Big 12 school except for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State -- another sign those two are headed to the Pac-12.
Kansas, Missouri, Baylor and Iowa State were reported last year and earlier this month as being in some sort of talks with the Big East, so that's at least three instances of contact between the conference and some of those schools. Baylor and Iowa State are the most likely to need to settle for the Big East.
* You know the reason.
One interesting subplot of the ACC raiding the Big East for the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers, which will also likely mean the West Virginia Mountaineers (and others, including non-football member Notre Dame) must look elsewhere, is what happens to the TCU Horned Frogs. They're not even in the conference yet, and they already have to worry about their future just as much as the rest of the Big East's schools (and the Big East itself*) do.
Joe Schad quoted TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte as saying, "There are earthquakes going on all around us. And we don't know when they'll settle." That's not a reference to rumblings caused by construction and demolition at TCU's stadium, which seems to occur every few days.
* And now for the amazing stuff: Big East commissioner John Marinatto has no idea what's going on and might find out the same time you do:
Marinatto said there is no conference rule to force a member to notify the commissioner it has applied to another conference.
"Out of courtesy, I'm sure they would, but there is no protocol," he said.
Reading that makes me feel pretty sad for the Big East.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse appear to be departing the Big East for the ACC
Syracuse and Pittsburgh have submitted letters of application to join the ACC, according to a report from CBSSports.com. The news confirms Friday's report from the New York Times that the two schools had been in talks with the conference, and sets in motion of what could be another drawn out process of "will she, won't she" type discussions much like Texas A&M's affair with the SEC.
The CBS report also indicated that 10 other schools had made contact with the ACC, though those schools and their conference affiliations were not revealed by the anonymous high ranking league official. With most of the discussion in recent weeks centered on the Big 12 collapsing into the Pac-12 and SEC, news of the Big East and ACC has gotten lost in the shuffle. Saturday's news indicates that the ACC may have the same inclinations to expand to 14 or 16 teams, in which case the Big East would seem to be a natural source to pick from.
For more breaking expansion news and analysis, check out our extensively updated StoryStream. For more on Syracuse head over to Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. For a Pitt perspective go to Cardiac Hill.
Since the expansionpalooza that wasn't in 2010, there have been two conferences on deathwatch -- the Big 12 and the Big East. We've been keeping tabs on the Big 12 collapse, so let's check in on our other patient.
Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh, two bedrock members of the Big East Conference, are engaged in talks about joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks.
The fact that nobody is even issuing "we're happy in the Big East"-style non-denial denials is as close as you're going to get to confirmation of something like this. And keep in mind that conference realignment is always one step ahead or one step behind the latest reporting, so it's hard to tell how far along this is.
On some levels, this is not a surprise. You might recall that Syracuse was one of the first targets when the ACC raided the Big East in 2003, before Virginia politicians got involved and forced the Cavaliers to lobby heavily for Virginia Tech. (Given the two programs' trajectories in recent years, the Hokies might have been the better choice.) And, as we noted, the Big East has always been vulnerable given its precarious perch in territory that makes some of its schools easy pickings for the ACC and the Big Ten, among others.
One of those others is potentially the SEC. Some West Virginia fans, if not administrators, have been making googly-eyes at the SEC ever since that league started talks with Texas A&M -- on the theory that if the Aggies join the 12-team conference, the best shot at balancing things out is to add a team from the SEC East. And if the ACC is only getting stronger, the pressure on the SEC to look at West Virginia is only going to grow. Which would finish off any hopes the Big East has of surviving, even on the slim odds that it could make a go of it minus Syracuse and Pitt.
The report doesn't specifically mention whether the ACC is or isn't in contact with Texas -- though that would certainly be one reason the league would be reaching out to other schools. And if Texas and the two Big East schools are coming, then there almost has to be a 16th. But that's way down the path of speculation.
What we now reportedly know is bad enough for the Big East. And we're talking about a league that hasn't had much going for it over the last eight years.
For more on the Big East's chances to ward off this raid, check out Big East Coast Bias. For the Syracuse perspective, check out Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, and get a read from Pitt fans on the situation at Cardiac Hill.
The Texas Board of Regents will convene on Monday, and one of the items on the agenda deals with conference alignment. As is typical in these expansion wars, Texas president Bill Powers will reportedly be given the authorization to make all decisions with regards to the Longhorns' conference alignment going forward. And thus, the mysterious conference alignment agenda item is solved.
Texas, at its Monday regents meeting, will authorize president Bill Powers to act in its best interest in picking its conference.
This phrase certainly sounds familiar. In fact, we've heard it many times before when conference expansion heats up and schools begin weighing their options. It does not, however, mean Texas is going anywhere.
Instead, Powers will be driving the bus, or not taking it out of the driveway at all. If the Big 12 falls apart, Powers could steer the Longhorns to the ACC or the Pac-1?, among many other places. Powers has a plethora of options, and a difficult decision ahead of him.
For more, visit Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.
From the looks of it, Monday may be a big day for the future of the Big 12. We already know Oklahoma will hold a Board of Regents meeting on Monday, with conference alignment on the agenda. Now, Texas will get together, as well, holding a Board of Regents meeting with the same item on the agenda. Conspiracy theorists, assemble!
Here's the agenda for the Texas meeting, which includes vague and cryptic items related to conference alignment.
U. T. Austin: Discussion and appropriate action regarding potential legal issues related to athletic conference membership and contracting
U. T. Austin: Discussion and appropriate action regarding delegation to act on matters related to athletic conference membership and contracting
The first item above will take place during a closed session and the second will be out in the open. It should be a slammin' good time.
Texas is sitting in the driver's seat again, and has plenty of options on the table, including: keeping the Big 12 alive, taking its talents west to the Pac-1? and heading east to the ACC. What happens next is anyone's guess.
For more, visit Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.
The Florida St. Seminoles have held some sort of recent meetings on what to do about shifting conference allegiances. This much we know. But athletic director Randy Spetman said Wednesday that the ACC works just fine for FSU and that the Noles are just keeping an eye on things. FSU trustees chairman Andy Haggard is also cited as denying any contact with the SEC.
Talk of Florida State jumping to the SEC has again murmured forth after it was shouted down the first time around by presumptions of the so-called gentleman's agreement between Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky to refuse any team from a current SEC state.
As always, everyone is denying everything. Assume every school has contacted every feasible conference in one way or another, and assume every conference has World War I-esque maps detailing their counterstrikes to every far-fetched move another could make.
For more on the Noles, head to FSU blog Tomahawk Nation.
It's been nine days since ACC commissioner John Swofford appeared to deny reports that his conference has been looking into adding the Texas Longhorns. While everybody's denying everything at this point, looking more closely at his remarks reveals he definitely didn't deny anything in particular. Hmm.
Tuesday, the Austin-American Statesman attached its name to the rumors, placing the ACC, Pac-12 and independence as the three viable options, with the latter being the least preferable. So now we're pitting the Pac-12 against the ACC for Texas, at least in the popular narrative.
Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, who started all this off, followed up Tuesday night with more Texas-to-ACC chatter. Here, as always everywhere, the whole thing revolves around the Longhorn Network. The Pac-12 wouldn't allow it to exist as currently structured, while the ACC would.
Please assume Texas is emitting these vibes in order to pressure the Pac-12 into conceding ground on the Longhorn Network, even if Texas is indeed making kissy faces at the ACC. Please think nothing further of them.
For more, visit Texas Longhorns blog Burnt Orange Nation.
It seems we're getting even closer to a superconference, as news is coming out of Florida State that the administration will form a committee to explore switching conferences or bringing some Texas-sized help to the ACC.
Per The Palm Beach Post:
With recent talk of a possible formation of four super conferences, Andy Haggard, chairman of FSU's board of trustees, said Tuesday that his school has begun forming a committee that will explore the university's options. He says FSU should be prepared for any scenario, whether it's moving to another conference or staying in the ACC and having a say in who else may join the league. That could mean Texas...
Haggard went on to say that FSU has not been contacted by the SEC to become the potential 14th member of the league — and that he has no idea whether ACC rival Miami has either — and that the Seminoles are "very happy" in the ACC.
One interesting note from the interview is Haggard hypothesizing as to the college sports landscape after realignment:
"If you are going to four conferences of 16 teams we certainly want to be ready," Haggard said. "If the ACC is included in that we want to be sure we are included and have a say so in regard to the teams that are coming into our conference."
Four 16-teamers? The Pac-12, SEC, ACC and Big 10 would be the most likely. That sounds pretty cool, I gotta say — and it would be perfect for a playoff-style postseason. Again, just saying.
As The Big 12 implodes, the University of Texas is realizing that they might have to do a little more scrambling than initially intended to make sure their future is in good hands.
With Texas A&M gone to the SEC and the Oklahoma schools applying for Pac-12 membership, the Longhorns are apparently working on three viable options for their next move, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
If the Big 12 implodes, Texas would have to decide between pushing for membership in the Pac-12 or Atlantic Coast Conference or turning independent, an option Dodds has always strongly opposed.
"Texas' first choice is to keep the Big 12 together. That's always been and continues to be Plan A and B," a well-placed Texas source said. "However, they know that if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State leave, the conference is no longer viable. Then it's time to look at Plan C."
Considering there isn't going to be much of a Big 12 worth saving, expect Texas to look elsewhere soon. The most logical choice seems to be the Pac-12, but then again when is anything in the world of NCAA football logical?
For more on Texas and conference realignment talk, visit Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation.
The threat of super-conferences and a shift in the college landscape has everyone shaking in their boots, and the ACC is no exception. With the SEC apparently on the prowl, ready to add Texas A&M and perhaps one other team, the ACC is ready to hunker down and increase its enforcements to ward off a threat. Nobody is quite sure how this round of conference realignment will play out, and thus it's best to be prepared, else end up like the Big 12.
The ACC may vote to increase its castle walls, bbumping the buyout penalty up in an effort to keep its teams at home, according to a report.
League presidents are scheduled to discuss the topic early next week at their annual September meetings, but it is not the first time the topic has been discussed by the group, nor has the meeting been scheduled specifically to address expansion. The current buyout for an ACC team to leave the conference, according to both sources, is between $10 million to $13 million.
Whether it will work remains to be seen. As we've seen before, a buyout penalty can be merely a suggestion, with future riches and a new home enough to mitigate the hit that comes with a buyout. But at least the ACC is taking proactive action.
Another day, another crazy conference realignment story.
Today's big news comes courtesy of Orangebloods, which claim to have sources telling them that Texas, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers are going to leave their respective conferences and join the ACC.
Several sources said the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big East and Pac-12 are reaching out to schools in the Big 12 in anticipation that the league is about to come apart like an Alka Seltzer tablet in boiling water.
One source close to the situation said the ACC, which is trying to fend off a potential raid by the Southeastern Conference (Virginia Tech continues to be mentioned by sources as an SEC target), would possibly look to add Texas, Syracuse, Connecticut and Rutgers to grow to 16.
ACC commissioner was asked about the report and he, like you, has no idea where it came from.
"I need to read more to see what we’re doing," Swofford said laughing. "That’s news to me."
"I think we see a lot of things that are written, blogged and speculated about right now," Swofford said. "We’re not a point at doing anything from a conference standpoint other than a lot of discussion, analysis and seeing what the landscape may hold moving forward. That’s way beyond any type of discussion we’ve had."
Oh this is going to get so much messier. Buckle up.
For more on college football and conference realignment in general, bookmark our College Football hub.
There's no time like the opening Saturday of the college football season to answer the eternal question: "Wait, who's in which conference now?"
I don't know if you react to this stuff the same way I do, but when the Virginia Tech Hokies repeatedly deny rumors of their interest in joining the SEC, all I hear is a bluegrass cover of "Enter Sandman." Hey look!
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker called the rumors "poppycock" to David Teel, then later expressed frustration that "people are making things up." This is after athletic director Jim Weaver called the ACC "the perfect conference for us."
Thus, the Hokies have denied the SEC thrice. Missouri, Louisville, FSU and other rumored SEC candidates have all said the same things, but not with quite the same frequency as has Virginia Tech.
Maybe that means the Hokies actually aren't interested, but why would it matter what people think if they're actually not considering a jump? There would be no big loss in having people around the country talk about Virginia Tech athletics, especially if people think its football program is good enough to earn SEC admission. That's great publicity!
Losing the Hokies would put the ACC in a tough spot, as they'd likely have to grab a Big East school to replace their most productive football program. The main snag in the way of the SEC potentially taking VPI, as far as I can tell, is SEC commissioner Mike Slive's history of a working relationship with ACC commissioner John Swofford, not to mention ESPN, which stands to benefit from both a strong SEC and ACC.
Still, Virginia Tech's conference affiliation is going to be a topic until that 14th team is chosen. It could be 11 months before that happens, so expect more denials along the way.
For more, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.
With Texas A&M to the SEC an all-but done deal, it's time to start talking about which team the SEC might invite to maintain their conference's even number of members. It's totally not, because it's GAME WEEK PEOPLE, but let's do it anyway!
Monday, CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd listed Virginia Tech, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina and Missouri as the most likely candidates for that last spot. Here are a few quick notes on each, in no particular order:
Maryland: The Maryland Terrapins are the newest addition to the speculation list. They'd theoretically provide the SEC the D.C. and Baltimore TV markets, but I'd be surprised to see the conference sell a team that far north to its Yankee-suspicious fan base. Unless you assure them they'd get to try again to sack the White House this time around.
Virginia Tech: Tech AD Jim Weaver has already said his school would decline a SEC invite, which you should take to mean absolutely nothing. The Hokies fit just about everything the SEC is looking for -- they're a solid football school that delivers at least one new TV market, they'd open up those eastern Virginia recruiting grounds and they're a national football brand. There are now murmurings that the Hokies would change their tune if invited, which, duh.
Missouri: Mizzou has likewise denied interest, but they too field a recently strong football program that could pick off portions of both the St. Louis and Kansas City markets. Like VPI, they'd butt the SEC right up against the Big Ten's turf while still remaining technically southern, which would draw widely mixed reviews from everybody down here.
Louisville: Loovul has (SURPRISE!) also downplayed their SEC desires, but come on. You guys play in a basketball arena named after fried chicken. Adding the upstart football program, and one of the nation's few noticeably profitable basketball programs (note we've made it this far without even mentioning non-football sports?), might make up for putting off the Kentucky Wildcats, who've supposedly held some sort of gentlemen's agreement with Georgia, Florida and South Carolina not to admit any schools from current SEC states.
I really don't get what the SEC would gain by adding the Cards.
North Carolina: I lied when I said these weren't in any particular order. North Carolina, you're a SEC school whether the world yet realizes it or not. You're lumped in with Duke due to college basketball's best rivalry, but let's be honest. Duke's football team isn't being torn apart for rampant cheating, now are they? Thus, some part of you cares about football more than any of us would like to admit.
If I were in charge of the SEC, UNC would be my choice. The Heels fit the SEC profile better than most realize, but I don't know if Mike Slive would kneecap his associate John Swofford by taking away the ACC's most important team. (FSU and Virginia Tech are more important for football, but UNC is the state school of the ACC's heartland, the cog in multiple rivalries central to the conference and, if the talent Butch Davis brought in is any example, a sleeping football giant.)
Virginia Tech and Missouri look like the best bets at this point, not that you'd be well-advised to wager on any of this. Hey look, football games to bet on!
We always talk about the "four 16-team conference" scenarios as the conference realignment end game, but without dissolving all conferences and starting over, that really isn't an option.
Now that Texas A&M has made its intentions clear that it wants to join the SEC, the league has been looking around trying to find a team to become its 14th in the conference. Thus far, there have been public denials issued by Missouri and Florida State. Now, you can add Clemson to that list.
Clemson president James Barker told The Post and Courier in Charleston that the school has not been in touch with the SEC at all during the process. He added that the school remains "committed" to the ACC. Clemson's name originally came up in an ESPN report suggesting the league was looking to expand to 16 teams and had targeted Florida State, Missouri and Clemson. An SEC official strongly denied the report to Pete Thamel of the New York Times.
Given the SEC's preference to have 14 teams and not simply add only Texas A&M, it appears this whole process still has a ways to go before a resolution is met.
As most college football folks have surmised, if the SEC were to accept Texas A&M as it's 13th member, it would immediately go looking for a 14th in order to even things out. Since the Aggies would undoubtedly join the SEC West, the 14th school would become a member of the SEC East division, meaning it's likely to come from a state such as North Carolina or, say, Florida.
So it's natural that Florida State jumped to the top of many people's list as the main candidate. And according to a report in the Palm Beach Post, the rumors of Florida State actually wanting to make the move from the ACC to the SEC were "real."
Florida State President Eric Barron talked to the Associated Press about the FSU-to-SEC rumors on Friday saying "I don't think there is anything to talk about right now. I don't speculate when there's no conversation." ACC President John Swofford also said that he has received "no indication from any of our 12 presidents that they have any intention of being affiliated with any conference other than the ACC."
So, there you go.
SBN's crackerjack Maryland bloggers at Testudo Times aren't all that thrilled with the range of teams available to the ACC, should that conference choose to get in the expansion game:
Honestly, with better fits like UCONN, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers possibly joining the Big Ten, the ACC will have to bite the bullet. West Virginia and South Florida would be the front-runners, and it would probably be between Louisville and ECU for the final spot, with the other going to the SEC (the ACC's hand may be forced on this one).
What would that conference look like? Well, it wouldn't be pretty, and it certainly wouldn't be the utopian (or as close as you could get) version that I had proposed earlier. That won't happen unless the Big Ten stops at 14, which would probably surprise a lot of people at this point.
While Maryland maybe shouldn't be throwing stones when it comes to academics, their pessimism isn't unfounded: It's hard to imagine an ACC Voltron being any kind of powerhouse conference if the Big Ten (and, God forbid, other Big Six conferences) start widening their ranks. The VT bros at Gobbler Country skirt this malaise by going quite mad:
What if the Mayans weren't really talking about the physical earth like we know it? What if it was all just a metaphor for callllllage footbawl? People are talking about some crazy stuff, man. Like Ulta-super-mega Conferences. Conferences so big you can see 'em from space.
I mean, we've got the Big Ten about to devour the Big East like some kinda college football Megalodon, forcing Mike Slive, Swoffy and That Tennis Guy to do the same. And if Gray Lady Guy is correct, they're all four just going to break off like East Germany and put up a big wall between us and the Mountain West dudes. We'd be the oppressors, man. And that just ain't cool.
That's why I've got a much, much better alternative to conference expansion. Let's just all run around naked in a forest with J.J. Rousseau!
They (probably) don't mean it literally, but please don't let that stop you.
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