Look… this is just never going to end. With the Big East dying a slow death, and with Maryland’s departure, it is clear that the ACC is everyone’s target for future expansion. And now the Big XII commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, is going on record that it may not be d0ne expanding. So, if you are an ACC fan, this is not the time to get over-confident.
To be sure, it may be that the Big XII will decide not to expand. They have plenty of money per school and the good fortune of a true round-robin in conference play. The only real drawback to 10 members is the absence of a conference title game. And Bowlsby does have a problem with the NCAA stating that 12, rather than 10, is the magic number for a lucrative championship game. And, frankly, he has a point. Who really cares–if the Big XII wants to have a conference championship game, the NCAA might as well let them. A pretty victim-less “crime.”
Returning to expansion, the usual names will always pop up–Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami, etc. It is hard to see other schools adding to the per-school payouts that the Big XII will be generating. And it is even harder to see a Duke, North Carolina, or Virginia being amenable to the academic inferiority that the Big XII would bring. Still, the ACC has to be a little nervous.
More positive from an ACC standpoint is this blurb from Bowlsby:
“That’s exactly one of the questions we’ll be asking ourselves,” Bowlsby said Wednesday. “Look at Maryland and Rutgers. They don’t bring programs that are of the ilk of the others in the Big Ten. The philosophy clearly is: ‘As members of the Big Ten we can grow them.’ “
Maybe the Big XII is wondering whether it can grow a program or two of its own. If so, enter Cincinnati, BYU, and perhaps even UConn. These have to be the best three overall schools that are not affiliated with the top 5 conferences. And perhaps nobody should be sleeping on South Florida. The Big XII could add some viewership with the Cincinnati and Tampa markets. At the very least, it is possible for the Big XII to expand without trying to lure an ACC school.
In the meantime, all anyone can do is sit back and watch. Unless, of course, the ACC wants to start discussing a Grant of Rights… but that is another topic for another day.