The ACC & Texas
To the average pro-imperialism Big 10 fan, the ACC is ripe for colonization. Indeed, there is a certain sense of “Well, the grant of rights is nice, but we’ll be back for Virginia, North Carolina, and a few other schools soon enough.” Just take a look at the comments over at Frank the Tank. The only issue for them is whether the Big 10 goes to 16 or 20 or 24. Let’s assume, however, that the Big 10 was able to take Kansas and Virginia (as they predict) in the next round of expansion… do not be surprised to see Texas in the ACC. Consider this…
1. Suppose the Big 10 takes Kansas and Virginia as the Big XII and ACC grant of rights near a conclusion. This is not an implausible scenario. Virginia and Kansas are both geographic fits for the new Big 10. While Kansas’s academics might not be up to par, Virginia’s certainly are. And neither school would be a threat to the football kings, while both would add significantly to basketball. That is an understatement–Kansas is elite. A Big 10 with Kansas, Indiana, Michigan State, and Wisconsin would be quite a powerful hoops conference.
2. This would leave the ACC at 14 teams. A perfect opportunity to expand with two more teams to get to 16. While UConn would have some allure, what about Texas and Texas Tech? From an ESPN perspective, it would be great to get these schools into the ACC. With the Longhorn Network, ESPN and Texas can have a smooth transition regarding the Tier 3 rights (i.e. the Texas exception for Tier 3 rights). Perhaps lay the foundation for a Sunshine Network for the Tier 3 rights for Miami and Florida State. Or Texas could end up with a similar “deal” as Notre Dame–partial schedule, retaining Longhorn Network rights to the remaining games. Consider this new-look ACC:
Atlantic: Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Florida State, Clemson (Texas 5-6 games per year)
Coastal: Syracuse, Boston College, Louisville, Duke, Pittsburgh, Miami, Virginia Tech (Notre Dame–5-6 games per year)
The “Tech problem” would be solved. ESPN would have made up for some mid-Atlantic losses by adding the Texas market. This would give ESPN a pretty broad scope from the NE to SW, including the important Southeast.
3. The Big XII, of course, would have some issues. From here, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in the SEC would make some sense.
4. Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, and Iowa State would have refuge in the American, which would now be positioned to merge with the MWC to create a conference with a lot more depth. Even without such a merger, the existence of two conferences in the Tier below the Big Four would be better for the sport. Of course, all of these programs would have to continue improving, as expansion by the Pac-12, Big 10, SEC or ACC would be inevitable. Eventually, 16 will beget 20 and 24.
Sure, there are reasons why it would not happen. Nothing is guaranteed or even likely. But is it really that implausible? What do you think?