A Doomsday Scenario For the ACC–MrSEC Provides One

In the blogosphere, Mr. SEC is not someone to throw stuff at the walls.  And it is not happening here.  But the blog does have an article about how the Big XII and SEC could work together to kill off the ACC as a viable 5th big conference.

Part of the premise is that if the Big XII took Florida State, Louisville, Clemson, and Georgia Tech (along with say Miami and ND as a partial member for football), it could engage the SEC with a scheduling agreement.  That way the Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Georgia schools would continue playing each other, while Missouri-Kansas, Texas-A&M, etc., could be renewed.  The question that begs is who that helps?  The in-state rivalry games are going to happen.  The difference between calling them “out-of-conference” and “out-of-conference, but part of the scheduling agreement” is minimal.  That still only leaves a certain number of games for other opponents.  In the meantime, we’d never get to see Florida-Texas or LSU-Florida State, because Florida-FSU would be playing every year in the “alliance game.”

This is not to say that the Big 10, Big XII, and SEC could not figure out a number of ways to divide up the ACC.  The bottom line is that being Syracuse and Wake Forest right now is not fun.  Not much room for private schools in the top 4 conferences.  So a viable ACC is needed to sit at the adults table.  At least BC and Pitt occasionally show up elsewhere in some doomsday scenarios.

Really, unless the ACC moves to a Grant of Rights, the expansion issue is going to loom.  Otherwise, the Big XII has a relative strength advantage over the ACC.  And that makes the ACC a target.

What is your opinion?

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15 responses to “A Doomsday Scenario For the ACC–MrSEC Provides One

  1. Perhaps we all will get a inkling of what is going on based on what if any “news” and/or reports come out of the Winter Meetings. Although I have scanned Scout.com boards for the ACC as well as google etc, I have found nothing about the winter meetings (is this because Maryland is there and certain questions/strategies are avoided) and this QUIET period is disquieting….a few days ago the Big 12 was all blustery with its reporting. The lack of information I am taking as not good—-GO AHEAD, CHEER ME UP!

  2. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the BIgXII’s two biggest assets as a conference (GORs and Third-Tier rights) are also the conference’s two biggest liabilities, and as a result the conference is very vulnerable.

    1) GORs may prevent teams from leaving the Conference, but I predict that the GORs also prevent any future teams from joining the BIgXII. Even if we get to 4 super conferences of 16, do you think that is really going to stop conference realignment?

    The grass is always greener (as is the cash of other conferences). So, if the GORs are as insurmountable as some people say, then why would a team want to give up the ability to negotiate a deal out of a current conference to go to a conference where they will be stuck?

    Think of it this way: Let’s say that the Big XII manages to lure FSU and Clemson, its only a matter of time before the Pac12 also wants to expand: they target Texas (the one school who could probably afford to leave the BigXII). Now, FSU and Clemson are locked into a conference where the anchor is gone. Subtract Texas from the BigXII and would anyone even care about the conference?

    That’s assuming that football continues to be the driver for conferences over the next 10 years… if the NCAA or NFL make sweeping changes to rules or safety, or if the BigXII continues to put up Arena Football League-offenses (with no defense), will anyone outside of Tornado Alley want to watch?

    2) Third tier rights. – Big XII fans will tell you to no end how glorious their conference is because of Third Tier Rights, and how foolish the ACC is for bundling those rights into their media contract (yet they never seem to cast the same aspersions toward the Pac12 or B1G who also bundled those rights as part of a network deal). However, when push-comes-to-shove, the only team that truly seems to benefit financially from their Third tier rights is Texas, who was able to secure the Longhorn Network. Other schools have been able to leverage their Third Tier rights somewhat, but the amount of money is not really much (seems to be less than $1M/ea).

    So, you will have growing income disparity between schools; which will inevitably cause eyes to wander. How long will Kansas, Kansas St., Texas Tech, and Iowa St. idly sit-by watching as other schools make significantly more money, while they get less? Meanwhile, the difference between the ACC schools (equally) and the BigXII bottom will shrink.

    Schools like FSU and Clemson who argue they should be getting more than everyone else, are perfect candidates for the BigXII, but would either of these schools be happy to know that a 6-6 Texas was making $10M more than them AND was getting overtures from the SEC or Pac12? It’s a recipe for disaster.

    The BigXII is not a threat to the ACC, but the B1G most certainly is….and I’ll predict that their network is getting dangerously close to the failed thinking of the Big East.

      • It seems that the B1G’s last additions (Maryland and Rutgers) were less about adding quality football, and more about adding TV markets, making PSU happy, and keeping the ACC from getting a stranglehold on the east coast.

        This is similar to the Big East’s national conference idea: target key TV markets, not key teams, that have the promise of lots of tv sets, and that hope the existing teams at the top of the conference compensate for the lack of quality of the sports that are added.

        The B1G obviously has a huge advantage over the Big East, but the question is can they maintain the current level of revenue each team is getting even after adding multiple teams, and ideally (for them) can they continue to grow.

        If the new mouths they have to feed cannot bring in their fair-share, then is the B1G going to risk diluting revenue that the current teams are getting?

    • I am skeptical that anyone from the ACC will jump to the Big XII. The real risk is that if the Big 10 or the SEC were to offer–that is something that the current ACC schools would have a hard time saying “no” to. And once THAT happens, now the Big XII looks much prettier than the ACC.

      If the Big 10 took North Carolina and Virginia… and the SEC responded by taking North Carolina State and Virginia Tech–each grabbing two new markets in the process… you don’t think that the rest of the ACC would be in the same position as the current Big East? There is no “upgrading” UConn and Cincy to replace those schools.

      FSU, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, Pitt, and Louisville would all be attractive and attracted TO the Big XII.

      That would leave the ACC as BC, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Duke, and sometimes Notre Dame. There are other ways to break it down. The bottom line is that once the ACC is re-pierced, it could unravel fast.

      The GOR forces the Big 10 to look East. The ACC’s inability to secure a GOR forces the Big 10 and SEC to stay looking East. Unless Swafford can pull a GOR–even a 5-year one–out of his arse, this is not going away.

    • In a list I’ve seen citing 2010, $7m for Kansas, $6.4m for L’il Okie, $3.3m for Kansas State, $2.6m for Iowa State. So the Kansi do OK with 3rd tier rights.

      • Yeah, but that includes all so-called Tier III rights. While “Tier III” includes the television rights to certain games in the Big XII, it also includes the full panoply of other rights. We are really talking about 1 football game and a few hoops games difference between the Big XII and the ACC. So the DIFFERENCE in rights is not as significant as claimed.

        That being said, there is no doubt that the ACC’s television contract is undervalued and the Big XII’s television contract is overvalued. It’s all about timing… the Big XII had it, the ACC did not. Unless Swofford can figure out how to address that, these issues will not go away.

  3. I’m just glad that idiot fan boys are not running major conferences, or we’d have 2 conferences with 32 teams each by now… I don’t want the NFL, I want college football, so please, let’s stop trying to create NFL-sized conferences!

      • Sorry, Steven, I’ve been out of town… as for you question about the “clamp down”, I don’t think it’s a mystery, really… there is a lawsuit going on and both parties (Maryland and the ACC, as represented by Swofford) are in the same room, and we expect them to reveal important plans? I’m surprised they said anything at all! This is one of those “on the advice of my lawyer” deals.

    • I personally don’t trust Swofford’s leadership. The only reason I feel he is still the commissioner is because it would otherwise signal a failure of the ACC. We’re stuck with his lack of vision and focus. IF, and only if, he can secure ND’s FULL membership, then the ACC can be considered a viable home. However, Big East leftovers is not going to cut it. This tangentially starts another discussion, but I’d also be in favor of cutting a weak link like Wake Forest. I’m an FSU grad and there is absolutely no reason why Wake should make as much as FSU. The ACC needs FSU to be a perennial top 5-10 team again; that will never happen at Wake. I’d be happy to post about FSU’s expansion potential but I’m going to keep it simple: if a better offer was available, they would have taken it by now.

  4. The ACC isn’t going anywhere. In my opinion, the ACC has more potential than the Big12 as a whole and most other conferences. It just so happened the ACC had a few down years, trust me it happnes. It comes & goes in cycles. Once Miami and UNC get off of probation, and a few others continue to improve (see Clemson, FSU, VT, etc) you’ll see a huge jump in conf prestiage. The pieces to the puzzle are in place. The ACC is potentially the most dominant force (complete package, football, baseball, basketball, academics, etc) that exsists in the NCAA.

    • I completely agree Ben&Jerry’s. Any ACC team moving to a different conference (Maryland included) would be incredibly short-sighted. The ACC just has WAY too much growth potential, especially with the very real possibility that ND will be forced into full-time membership soon. With that said, no other school needs money quite like MD did so hopefully, they will think about 15+ year monetary projections and not just 5 years down the road.

  5. The Big12 is an unstable conference with a good TV contract and a quality product spread over a lower populated region; the ACC is a stable conference with a bad TV contract and a mediocre product spread over a higher populated region. I think it will, at the end of the day, be the ACC as the hunter (and not the hunted). Remember, Texas was close to joining the ACC last summer but for a few issues, one of which being the ACC’s lack of interest in Texas Tech (a huge mistake). Texas and Notre Dame would solidify any conference.

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