The Confidential

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Big Ten Expansion, ACC Contraction?

The dominoes have been falling steadily.  Part of me just wishes the dominoes would go ahead and fall so we can be done with the madness.  It looks like another domino will fall soon.

It depends what you want to believe, but where there is smoke, there is fire. The big realignment pundits are all over this, including Frank the Tank. He paints a fairly pessimistic picture, basically saying “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

I think any departing ACC school would be a fool to announce before the Maryland suit settles, but the ACC looks anything but stable at this point. Could the Big Ten ruin the ACC?

Update: from a man who is a caricature of himself, self-endowed as “the Dude,” a title only reserved for the real Lebowski.  I digress.  Here’s what he said:

As Allen alluded to in his comments, many of these rumors are likely just that.  However, there have been enough of these rumors that something is bound to stick eventually.  Assuming UNC were to leap to the Big 10, where do you see the other ACC schools going?

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10 thoughts on “Big Ten Expansion, ACC Contraction?

  1. This huge realignment news only warrants a tweet? Let me know when Mr. Swaim cites some sources who work for the Big 10, UVA or UNC. Then, I will give some credence to it. You only encourage people to keep spouting this baseless junk when you re-post it.

    • You raise a good point but without spring practice, recruiting, or actual football, the only substantive topic remaining is conference realignment. I actually think there’s enough smoke to this rumor–so much so that no one has come out and said the rumors are false. Again, this is a rumor, but UNC is going through all of the motions to become a Big 10 member.

  2. Vinnie Saltine on said:

    If true, this could be exactly the type of catalyst necessary for ESPN to pony-up the cash it would take to keep the ACC together as-is. It would be interesting to see the B1G’s advancements back-fire if ESPN (or an ESPN/FOX combo) stepped-up to save the ACC. If you can create stability, then where will the B1G turn for their next expansion?

    On the other hand, if ESPN doesn’t counter and UNC/UVA go to the B1G; then that allows the ACC to add Cinci and UConn. That effectively makes the ACC the de facto Big East…and by paying each school $13-17M/yr thats pretty much the value that ESPN put on the Big East before their offer was rejected.

    • So, it’s ESPN’s cost benefit analysis.

      Would ESPN “saving” the ACC mean overpaying for a product in hopes that it becomes more valuable in the future?

  3. Jon Wren on said:

    I’m going to call BS on this one solely because of the timing. I tend to agree with Frank the Tank in terms of being a skeptic of the ACC apocalypse. It would be beyond foolish for any school to move before the Maryland lawsuit is resolved.

    In reality, ESPN is on the clock on deciding whether to pony up the bucks to keep the ACC together. To beat a dead horse, a GOR would secure their investment and end the realignment for the ACC. There is plenty of justification for ESPN to do so: awesome footprint of TV markets, ND brand name, ACC basketball with ND, Louisville, Pitt and Cuse, ACC is 3rd in football viewership, ESPN passing on the BE contract bid could free up $ to invest in a stable ACC,…there are probably other factors I’m leaving out.

    • Vinnie Saltine on said:

      To beat a dead horse, a GOR would secure their investment and end the realignment for the ACC.

      I believe the ACC members voted-down the idea of GOR at the Winter Meetings. Which could be good strategically if they are hoping to use the idea of teams leaving as leverage against ESPN.

      If the teams are locked-into a GOR, then ESPN has nothing to worry about so they have no need to increase the ACC contract. However, as teams like FSU, Clemson, UNC/UVA get wandering eyes (or worse, actual offers to the B1G) then the lack-of GOR forces ESPN to do something.

      ESPN would likely rather get the SEC contract locked away first, and not negotiate against themselves (an increase in ACC’s contract would result in an increased valuation for the SEC). So, it’s shrewd of the B1G to force ESPN’s hand now.

      • Jon Wren on said:

        There have been rumors of the ACC declining to sign a GOR at the winter meetings, but you bring up the key point – why would they sign until ESPN offers the right amount of money? ESPN wants a GOR to secure their investment and they will have to pay extra for it since the ACC schools are wanted. The ACC schools want financial security and offer to sign a GOR to get it. It’s in both parties’ best interest.

  4. The Dude is possibly the most notorious blogger out there as far as “definite deadlines” and “inside sources” go. He incorrectly stated that FSU, Clemson and Miami would be gone multiple times by now, and as a WVU fan, has an agenda against the ACC. He’s entertaining, but extremely hard to trust. I’ve found that Frank the Tank, while a Big Ten fan, is not as biased as many of the other sources. If he’s skeptical, so am I. The original poster, Inside Maryland Sports, also has an agenda because they may be realizing that they made a huge mistake by joining the Midwestern Conference. It’s hard to say. It COULD be true, but I certainly hope that it isn’t.

    One interesting thing that I would like to note is that UNC’s current chancellor, Holden Thorp, is stepping down this summer and going to Washington University in St. Louis. While much of the academic community is standing behind him, many alumni (myself included) are still outraged at the academic and athletic scandals that have happened under his watch. I’m just not sure I see an outgoing chancellor move his school to a different league. That wouldn’t make any sense because he won’t be a part of our community anymore. Still, if someone was going to do it, it WOULD be a guy like Thorp. He’s been anything, but a leader since his appointment in 2007, and moving UNC to the Big Ten would be his biggest mistake yet. ACC sports are everything in this State, and I promise you that he would receive death threats if he made this move. I certainly wouldn’t do it, but knowing the fanaticism, there’s no doubt that it would happen.

  5. I can’t help but think of all the ultra-traditionalists who warned that too much change – ie, the BCS or playoff system – would somehow end up taking away things that you loved about college football. Obviously, more than pigskin is affected, here, and I have to say it’s a bummer…RU, MD, UNC, PSU, UVA, GT lumped together gives the B10 the “coastal” eye-test pass it needs, whereas FSU still seems geographically out in the cold being further down South. None of it feels right. Nothing works for FSU outside of the current ACC, the SEC, or independence. Maybe B10 goes after Miami, though.

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