fighting muskie wrote:
I think one scenario that would radically alter the face of college football would be for the Pac 12, Big Ten, and SEC announcing that the three conferences were going to form an alliance and negotiate their television packages collectively. This would instantly destabilize the ACC and Big 12 and allow all 3 conferences to immediately extract whomever they want. The question is would those 3 conferences be able to agree to terms?
That kind of thing existed in the '80s and '90s as the College Football Association, then the Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC (and Notre Dame & Big East) made their own media deals and it fell apart. I could see the Big Ten and Pac-12 potentially working together on a media deal, but that's not very likely. And the SEC is even less likely to work with another conference because they likely wouldn't make as much per school if they did.
Those three could work together privately and hand-pick who want out of the ACC and Big 12. If they each want to get 16 I could see:
Pac-12 adds Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
SEC adds NC State, Virginia Tech
Big Ten adds Virginia, Kansas
The SEC wants new markets and UNC and Duke aren't leaving the ACC unless major events make the ACC far less valuable/competitive as the SEC/Big Ten/Pac-12. With Virginia Tech gone, Virginia would rather join the Big Ten than the SEC and has more of a reason to leave, while the Big Ten has previously considered Kansas and they are an AAU member with at least slight access to Texas.
If they each want 18:
Pac-12 adds Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor
SEC adds NC State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke
Big Ten adds Virginia, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Syracuse
The options are far more limited if going to 18. Whether Kansas and Kansas State would go to different conferences is questionable but more likely than Oklahoma/Oklahoma State. I could see Pac-12 or Big Ten wanting the Kansas pair just to get KU. Kansas State would add more to a Pac-18 than Iowa State, and Baylor was considered in 2010 for the Pac-16. UNC and Duke would be the best options left for the SEC, giving them the Triangle rivalries and 2 more national fan bases. I don't see UNC and Duke separating, and I know UNC would rather be in the SEC than Big Ten (or at least their fans feel that way). Big Ten would get a southern school with mutual interest with Georgia Tech, and Syracuse is the best option left and would give them more of NYC market.
Florida State and Clemson seem missing in this, but the SEC has said they're not interested in doubling up in markets, and the Big Ten wouldn't want them. I think FSU, Clemson and Miami will be the core of the ACC if most Carolina/Virginia schools leave.
Ultimately whatever happens the ACC will survive simply because of numbers. Cincy, UConn, Temple, West Virginia, East Carolina and so on can be quality additions if 4-6 members leave. I do think the Big 12 will dissolve around 2025-27. The Big 12 GOR ends in '25, ACC GOR ends in '27, the last playoff contracted as of right now will be in '25-'26, SEC and Pac-12 negotiate new media contracts for '24 and Big Ten likely will around then too. I think West Virginia will go to the ACC then as if the above played out like that they would have more friends willing to get them in. However, I don't see how the ACC would have any interest in any other Big 12 schools that would get left behind. I can see TCU, Baylor, ISU and even KSU having to go to the American, since by themselves they couldn't get anyone to leave a stable conference for a shaky conference with not much better competition (Montana/MSU with the WAC for example). Baylor is clearly doing work to show they deserve a spot in a future Power 4, but anyone who's still a question mark in the Big 12 or elsewhere on that likely won't make it.