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Florida St. Considers Realignment Options

Sep
14
2011
By
Category: ACC Expansion & Realignment

So it seems that Florida St., one of the stronger programs in the ACC, is putting aside it’s “ACC solidarity” stance for a minute to consider all it’s options.

With the future of the Big 12 seemingly sitting in the hands of Oklahoma, who is considering an official pursuit of Pac-12 membership (along with Oklahoma St.), and the SEC set to expand to 13 with Texas A&M (and presumably an eventual 14), it is the general understanding that these movements would put the NCAA on the brink of the super conference structure.

ACC schools are considered to be the top targets for the SEC #14 spot as well as potentially 15 and 16. But thus far, schools such as Florida St. and Virginia Tech have taken a passive approach. Thus far, the stance has been: if you (SEC) is interested in us, you need to contact us first and extend an invitation. But the SEC, filled with fears from the onset of the Texas A&M flirtation, has held it’s stance that a school must contact the conference with interest…a move the SEC feels frees itself from any legal obligations to the schools other conference members.

Florida St. has been considered by most to be, along with Virginia Tech, the top SEC options. But there was also believed to be a “gentleman’s agreement” that the SEC would only add schools from new states not represented already by the SEC. This removed schools like FSU, Clemson, GA Tech and with the VA Tech decree of “not interested”, seemed to limit the pool to schools such as WVU and Missouri.

But even the schools claiming no immediate interest know that super conferences would be a game changer.

If the SEC expands to 13, the Pac-12 is likely to invite Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. Their additions would likely pressure Texas into making a move (with a Pac-16 an option with Texas and Texas Tech). The SEC would then have 13 with TAMU and consider schools like Missouri, WVU and the ACC schools for #14. But if the SEC went to 16, following a Pac-16, the ACC schools might need to make a move.

The ACC is in a comfortable position in the conference realignment future, but seemingly well behind the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten. The Big East and Big 12 remain lower. But in a move to 16 school conferences, it would likely mean the end to the Big East and Big 12…putting the ACC as the lowest on the totem pole.

And the ACC schools realize that.

As does the ACC commissioners office.

Because there is now a scenario being discussed in which Texas could join the ACC if Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. leave. Furthermore, Texas is considering a scenario in which they become a football independent and join the ACC for it’s other sports.

But for the ACC, they now realize they need to consider all their options, just as FSU is.

The ACC could be proactive by expanding to 16 first with three schools such as Uconn, Syracuse and Rutgers, and lock up the entire east coast from Boston College, into Hartford, into the NY/NJ area with Syracuse and Rutgers, then into Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

While those moves would lock up better television money with the new markets, it would only work if all the ACC schools remain.

And the SEC would have an appealing option if they expanded to 16 with Florida St., locking up the rich football recruit state of Florida with it’s two top programs. In adding Virginia Tech, the SEC would add a more northern market (and great football program) with access in the Richmond and DC markets. Missouri would still be an excellent SEC option for #16 by providing a new state and the Kansas City and St. Louis markets…right in the Big Ten’s footprint.

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