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Conference Realignment–What if the ACC, Big 10, SEC, and Big XII Worked Together?

So far, conference realignment has been about taking… usually in the form of a happy conference (stealing a school), a happy school (happy to be stolen) and–cue the sad trombone–a sad conference (losing a school).  So far, the unhappy conference has usually been the Big East, but the Big XII has lost Missouri, Texas A&M, Colorado, and Nebraska, while the ACC has lost Maryland.  Only the Pac-12, SEC, and Big 10 have been exclusively happy.  In the meantime, there are rumors upon rumors of the ACC being carved up, with fewer (but existing) rumors regarding the Big 10 eying more Big XII schools.  But what if the ACC, Big 10, SEC, and Big XII sat down and worked on a plan that would keep each of these conferences roughly happy, while allowing each conference to arguably expand its market base?

Consider that the Big 10 has eyes on the Southeast market, but is leery of alienating its midwestern base/roots.  While some people talk about expanding to 18 or 20, these additions always involve Michigan and/or Ohio State moving to the eastern side.  On the other hand, the Big XII has a grant of rights that makes it more difficult to pry away a school.  But what if everyone sat down and came up with a plan that would kind of/sort of make everyone happier.

First, the Big XII would give up its GOR rights for Kansas, allowing them to slide to the Big 10.  In exchange, the ACC would give up Pitt, who would slide to the Big XII.  The SEC would give up Missouri.  In exchange for Missouri, the ACC would give up North Carolina State.  Missouri would go to the Big 10.  The Big 10 would be at 16, the SEC at 14.  At 10 members, the Big XII would have the option of taking Cincinnati and USF to move into further new markets (Ohio and Florida), while also adding a conference game.  The ACC could take UConn–adding a new market to replace the NC State “market” lost.  The ACC could also take Temple, adding a private school in the Pennsylvania market.

This would result in:

SEC East: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, NC State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky

SEC West: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi, Miss State, and Texas A&M.

Big 10 West: Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa

Big 10 East: Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, Michigan, Rutgers, Purdue, Indiana, Michigan State

Big XII South: Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

Big XII North: West Virginia, Pitt, Cincy, USF, Iowa State, Kansas State

ACC Atlantic: UConn, BC, Temple, Louisville, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, (ND)

ACC Coastal: Syracuse, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Miami, (Navy–same deal as ND, only less money?)


Big XII loses Kansas–a major basketball power.  However, Kansas is also terrible at football.  The Big XII stays strong in football at the top by adding Cincy and USF–two beatable teams in great markets for recruiting.  Cincy and USF are on the upswing in hoops too.  Pitt is very established in hoops.  A nice home-and-home pod with Pitt and Cincy for West Virginia.

SEC loses Missouri, but picks up NC State.  A market for market swap that probably hurts the SEC somewhat.  But the SEC adds a school that gives inroads into North Carolina, while further fitting in better on the Eastern side.  If, in 10 years, the SEC and Big 10 decide to carve up the ACC–the SEC has a lure for North Carolina–State is already there.  Meanwhile, NC State is more of an SEC school in terms of football zeal by the fans.  The basketball program could thrive freed from the shadow of Duke and UNC too.

The Big 10 gets a stronger Western flank with Missouri and Kansas.  With both schools freed of games against the powers of the SEC and Big XII, they could thrive.  The divisions finally start to make geographic sense, allowing for a 9 game schedule–7 games inter-division, plus two games against other division.

The ACC loses NC State and Pitt–two decent football programs.  UConn and Temple are a downgrade… but this staves off a loss of the major football powers and the major markets/leaders.


Of course, in a perfect world, the existing conferences could sit down and make complete geographic sense.  But that cannot happen.  In the interim, however, the conferences could work to share markets to allow all TV deals to slide upwards.  Although it is will get the most criticism, the Big XII would really be the big winner here.  The adds of Pitt, Cincy, and USF would open up three major recruiting markets, without exactly taking on terrible metro markets (Pitt, Cincy, Tampa).

What do you think?  Even if impossible, does it make sense?



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14 thoughts on “Conference Realignment–What if the ACC, Big 10, SEC, and Big XII Worked Together?

  1. Trading Pitt and NC State for UConn and Temple would leave the ACC very, VERY unhappy, IMO. No deal.

  2. swap Louisville for USF and you got yourself a deal!

    • The big hurdle is that the SEC probably does not want to go from Missouri to NC State. The unofficial commentary from Frank the Tank’s commentariat was about 7-1 that the SEC would prefer Missouri.

  3. How about this – instead of trading teams, why not (1) do away with the silly BTN rule that they get less money if there is no school in a given state (why?), and (2) if you want to play a game in a given state, set up a neutral site game there – play an ACC team if you like. Now THAT is true cooperation.

    • Well, whose “rule” is that? If you are running a North Carolina cable company and you get $59 for basic cable… having to pay the BTN $.90 instead of $.10 is a big difference. How do conferences make that agreement. And neutral sites do not do that much.

  4. The SEC will grab VTU if that was the case.

    • Why would Virginia Tech want to leave the ACC & Virginia?

    • Parker on said:

      The SEC recently cherry picked two of the top three teams from the Big 12 (A&M & UM are both AAU members,TAM has a ridiculously large endowment, improves recruiting in Texas, and expands the conference footprint to bring in additional TV markets . It would be ridiculous to even consider Virginia Tech at this point as it brings little academic prestige, $$$$ or TV markets that the SEC might consider attractive (Having lived in DC for several years it would be a stretch to say that is truly a VT market).. Its sports programs outside of football are quite marginal and as such the SEC would be well served to go after programs that have prowess in other sports such as basketball, baseball or even soccer.

  5. PVineyard on said:

    UConn and Temple? You’ve just signed the ACC’s death warrant, as Clemson, FSU, Miami, Ga. Tech, and likely Louisville run, not walk, to the Big 12 or SEC. On the other hand, the SEC, Big 12, and ACC could dominate the country by a few simple swaps, consolidation into two conferences along the current borders, and excising a few unnecessary teams such as Missouri, TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor, Wake Forest, and anything north of Virginia. The Big 10 may have the money, but they lack quality football product outside of Ohio State and the occasional Michigan/Michigan State/Wisconsin team. The SEC, Big 12, and ACC should be working together to put the Big 10 in its place; instead, they are shaking in their boots (Big 12), checking their back pockets (ACC), or walking around blind to their peril (SEC).

    • None of those teams are wanted by the SEC… so losing them is not going to happen. All 5 of them duplicate existing markets. So you lose points for not understanding how the SEC works.

      • PVineyard on said:

        I understand the SEC doesn’t want those teams under the current mindset. I was raised in Atlanta; I completely understand the SEC mindset and the market coverage aspect. My point is generally that the Southeast as a region, including Texas and Oklahoma, is home to the best football and the most loyal fans in the country (with all due respect to Nebraska, USC, and Oregon). If the three conferences in the Southeast would work with each other and as I hypothesized, consolidate into two conferences, they would be almost completely self-funding and self-autonomous.

        I don’t care what market you’re in; if you don’t have a quality product, nobody is going to watch you, and the TV dollars will go bye-bye. Atlanta is a huge market, but Ga. Tech is not going to create a lot of viewers for the Big 10. And the Big 10 alumni in the area, if they really wanted to watch their favorite Big 10 team, need only go to the internet to find the game. The broadcasters might be a little behind in figuring this out, but it’s only a matter of time when the money grab becomes an air grab. Better to consolidate in a tight, highly populous region and rely on the strengths that got college football to where it is today: quality, regional rivalries, and tradition.

  6. I like. I like anything that pairs State with the SEC. As much as I want the ACC to thrive and despise that “other” southern conglomerate, I could get used to that idea pretty quickly. Of course then I would have to hook up with some SEC blogsite…

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