Andy Lyons

ACC expansion: Louisville, Notre Dame on board

Imagine that. Check back here for the latest college conference realignment news.

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Maryland-to-B1G made UNC AD nervous

Some in the conference are worried about keeping up in the money race.

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The real story of the ACC invasion

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.

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A very #goacc chat

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.

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The ACC still loves you, Florida State

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?

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RIP, realignment: 2009-2013

Besides all the times Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim lamented ACC country's reliance on Denny's, of course.

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ACC ends realignment (for now)?

Four of five power conferences now have similar deals, leaving very few major realignment possibilities on the table.

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Dodds talks ACC alliance, A&M series

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.

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ND officially to ACC for 2013

The Big East has announced that Notre Dame's non-football teams will depart and play in the ACC starting next year.

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UNC the new Notre Dame?

Both the Big Ten and SEC are reportedly interested in perhaps the ACC's flagship school.

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Cincy sends stadium plans to ACC for Christmas

With the Big East no longer big, Cincinnati is doing its best to impress the ACC.

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ACC pledges solidarity #goacc

* No. It did make ACC Twitter really fun, though.

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Welcome to the ACC, Louisville

Spilly welcomes Louisville to the ACC with a Hot Brown, a mint julep and a PASTECANNON.

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Can realignment end now?

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.

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Louisville to ACC boosts recruiting

Louisville's move to the ACC stands to help its recruiting quite a bit, especially in the Sunshine State.

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What about Cincinnati?

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.

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Louisville moves to the ACC, hates itself

Wednesday morning, we learned that Louisville will move to the ACC in 2014. This will be an abject disaster for the Cardinals.

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Realignment recap

Louisville's joining the ACC, and here's your updated look at who's going to which conference now.

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ACC judgment day for Louisville

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.

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Maryland to drop ACC exit fee for others?

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.

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Add Cincy, USF to ACC candidates

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.

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Things to know: Maryland/Rutgers to Big Ten

SB Nation's Spencer Hall, Dan Rubenstein, Bud Elliott, Bill Connelly and Jason Kirk convene to discuss what the Maryland and Rutgers moves mean for the Big Ten, ACC, and Big East.

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UConn or Louisville for ACC?

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?

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Maryland to Big Ten likely

Monday could see Maryland announce plans to leave the ACC for the Big Ten, with Rutgers coming along from the Big East as well.

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Maryland, Rutgers to Big Ten? Whoa

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?

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Maryland Twitter fires 'Carolina Bias' shots

Yeah, this is gonna be really awkward if this falls through. (These tweets have since been deleted.)

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Maryland, Rutgers could join Big Ten

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.

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Spilly made you chili

Spilly and Sean Keeley celebrate Pitt and Syracuse's impending move to the ACC with chili. Try it at home, friends.

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Notre Dame wants early Big East exit for ACC move

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.

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Problem Solved: Recommending Notre Dame Football's ACC Schedule Rotation

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.

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Notre Dame-ACC Partnership A Lesson In Picking The Right Fights

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.

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Notre Dame Joins ACC: Exit Fee Now About $50 Million

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.

For more on Notre Dame, check out One Foot Down or SB Nation Chicago. For more news, notes and analysis from around the country, head over to SB Nation's college football news hub.

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Notre Dame's Move To The ACC A Monster Blow For Big East Basketball

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.

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Notre Dame Football Stays Independent, Gets Everything At Once

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.

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ACC Accepts Notre Dame As 15th Member

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.

For more on Notre Dame, check out One Foot Down or SB Nation Chicago. For more news, notes and analysis from around the country, head over to SB Nation's college football news hub.

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Notre Dame To Join ACC With Football Exception

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will join the ACC in all sports except football and hockey.

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Pittsburgh Joins Syracuse In Reaching Agreement With Big East To Join ACC In 2013

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.

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Big East, Syracuse Reach Agreement On 2013 Departure For ACC

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.

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Notre Dame, ACC Meeting Likely Involves Orange Bowl Somehow

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.

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New Orange Bowl Deal Means Florida State Would Be Crazy To Leave The ACC

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?

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Big 12 Expansion: Only Notre Dame Would Add TV Money, Said Chuck Neinas

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.

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Big 12 Expansion: Clemson BOT Echoes Dabo Swinney's '1,000 Percent' Comment

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.

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Dabo Swinney On Sammy Watkins Punishment, Big 12 Expansion

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:

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:

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Big 12 Expansion: Florida State Not Quite As Broke As It Seemed

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.

From Warchant's transcript of Spetman's explanation:

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.

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Florida State Meeting To Include Big 12 Expansion Talk

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:

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.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Conference Realignment: How To Poach Schools Without Getting Sued

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.

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Big 12 Expansion: Florida State Next To Deny Contact's Been Made

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, Virginia Tech Hokies and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets all previously alleged that no talks have happened, while multiple reports claim otherwise.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Big 12 Expansion: Miami Denies Contact, Says It's 'Committed To The ACC'

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.

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ACC Wants Champions Bowl Partner, Georgia Tech And Virginia Tech Deny Realignment Rumors

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.

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John Swofford Confident ACC Schools Are Trustworthy, Uninterested In Big 12

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.

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Big 12 Expansion Rumors All But Confirmed By TCU Athletic Director?

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:

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Notre Dame To The Big 12 And Other Best/Worst Case Scenarios For Conference Realignment

While we wait for the late-summer conference realignment scramble, let's go ahead and prepare ourselves for the best and the worst.

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Big 12 Expansion: Georgia Tech Also Reaches Out, According To Report

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).

For more on Jackets football, visit Georgia Tech blog From The Rumble Seat, plus SB Nation Atlanta.

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Big 12 Expansion: FSU, Clemson In Touch, But Texas Still Wants Notre Dame

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.

During his radio show, Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com talked (starting around the 2 minute mark) about the current state of things. The basics:

David WunderlichDavid Wunderlich@Year2

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.

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What's Your College Football Program Worth? Introducing Realignment Value Rankings

If we're going to follow conference realignment as if it's a sport, we might as well come up with a scoring system.

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Big 12 Expansion: FSU To Big 12 'Inevitable,' According To Report

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.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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ACC Realignment: John Swofford Not Worried About Florida State

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.

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Derrick Brooks Says Big 12 Contacted Florida State First

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.

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Florida State Might Want Big 12, But Is Interest Mutual?

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!

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FSU To Big 12? 'No Conversations,' Says Texas' DeLoss Dodds

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.

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.

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Big 12 Expansion: FSU President States Case Against Leaving ACC

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.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Conference Realignment: The Big 12 Should Swing For The Fences

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.

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Big 12 Expansion: Miami Trustee Calls Move 'Highly Unlikely'

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.

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Conference Realignment: Florida State, Big 12 Rumors Now Include Statements, Actual Reporting

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:

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Conference Realignment: FSU President Issues Statement On Big 12 Rumors

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.)

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Florida State BOT Chair Andy Haggard Rips ACC, Would Listen To Big 12 Offer

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!

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Florida State To Big 12 Rumors Have No Basis, Says Texas AD

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.

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.

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Big 12 Expansion: Florida State AD Says 'We're Committed To The ACC'

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."

More from Spetman:

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.

For more on FSU football, visit Florida State blog Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Big 12 Expansion: Florida State, Clemson Rumors Denied By Texas Officials

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:

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.

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Conference Realignment: Louisville Wants Either Big 12 Or ACC, According To Report

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.

Louisville blog Card Chronicle analyzes:

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.

For more on Cardinals football, visit Louisville blog Card Chronicle, plus Big East blog Big East Coast Bias and SB Nation Indiana.

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New ACC Deal With ESPN Worth $17 Million Per Member, According To Report

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.

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Syracuse, Pitt Officially Announced As New ACC Members

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."

For more, head to Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and Pitt blog Cardiac Hill, which will soon big ACC blogs.

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