This Florida State to the Big XII stuff may not have much truth to it. But where there is smoke, there may be fire. And Florida State fans are just delusional enough to think that it’s everyone’s fault but their own that are a mediocre football school. Delusional fans have led to conference switches in Missouri and Texas A&M. That is reason enough for the ACC to perhaps not panic, but consider that this is THE TIME to do everything possible to keep Florida State happy. If Florida State leaves, the whole party could come crashing down, with the SEC and Big 10 smelling blood.
Now, the ACC can play the Big East role and just hope that it does not hurt too much. Or it can get proactive. And, by proactive, that means ensuring that the conference remains football relevant. If Florida State wants something–give it to them. So if I am running the ACC, I think the time has come to make a sweetheart offer to Notre Dame. Specifically–offer Notre Dame and Navy membership as a package.
This converts a must-play game for ND into a conference game. I know Navy is close to Maryland, but is Navy REALLY a threat to ever be a serious player with their admissions limitations? And it is not like Navy is an inferior academic institution. The only issue is basketball–and does that really matter in this big picture? The goal is to keep the football schools happy for once. Navy fits the geographical profile.
Then, go back to an 8-game schedule. This allows FSU to schedule another home game, etc. Again, the ACC favoring the football teams. ND and Navy can each schedule 4 OOC games too. That allows ND to schedule USC, plus three other games. Navy gets Army, Air Force, and two more.
The loss of a 9-game schedule means 7 less games. But adding Navy and ND adds in 8 more games (if calculating correctly). Anyway, when you are talking adding ND, that has to add to the value of the conference slate. Plus, Navy is no slouch either. If you are ESPN and you can get Notre Dame into the mix, I am sure you can increase the ACC payout, plus perhaps allow some third-tier rights to stay with the schools. The damage to NBC alone has to have some value. We are talking Notre Dame here.
Why would ND do this? They probably would not. But if they did, it would be because:
- ND would get scheduling flexibility that no other conference could offer
- ND gets to have games from Boston to Miami and all points within. Games against Syracuse can be played in NYC every other time. Games against Pitt can be played in Philly every few times. Games against Navy in DC.
- ND gets a place for its other sports that is far superior to the Big East. ND basketball gets games against Duke, UNC, Syracuse, Pitt, Maryland, etc. ND alums get a few games in Florida and the south.
- ND lacrosse joins up with Syracuse, Virginia, Duke, UNC, and Maryland. Pretty darn good too.
It may be a pipe dream, but the ACC has something that no other conference has–access to the major media markets on the East Coast. The ACC also has the potential for high-quality football. Throw in outstanding academics and a fair balance of private/public schools and you have a reasonable fit for Notre Dame. Willingness to take Navy would be the best way of ensuring the scheduling flexibility to keep ND fans happy.
Or, the ACC can sit on its hands and hope that some combination of Notre Dame, UConn, and Rutgers will someday appeal to Notre Dame. But the ACC may not be football relevant at that point. And football irrelevance would convert the ACC into the Big East 2.0–and that will never lure Notre Dame in.
So it is now or never. If the ACC has any lure for Notre Dame, the time has come to use it.