I predict that the SEC Commissioner and Staff will love the new cash flow via the SEC Network so much that eventually they won't care about upsetting the ACC's apple cart. As the SEC adds to their National Championships between now and 2027 (year ACC's G.O.R. expires) surely it will eat that them that the Big Ten makes more money before National Championship/Playoff cuts are factored in. This is like LeBron James finally realizing (this NBA off-season) that he deserves the most/maximum in guaranteed money every season. For years, LeBron had been hovering in the 10-15 range of highest paid NBA players by salary. The SEC Network Offices are not located in a current SEC state. It is practically a given that the next SEC school will come from that state--North Carolina. Otherwise why move the offices there? That would be like the Big Ten Network choosing to relocate to South Bend, Indiana.
As we've seen with Texas and to a lesser degree Penn State (approached by ACC), if the state has multiple relevant football programs, no conference is going to take the main school on the first try. So, while North Carolina is quite obviously the best of the bunch, it would be foolish to assume anyone could land them in one try given how much they mean in terms of delivering their state and in this case how much their existence in the ACC allows the ACC to exist. Long story short, North Carolina State is the SEC's 15th and it might actually work out well for both conferences given what I predict will happen next.
ESPN is 50% of the SEC Network. ESPN wants to make the SEC happy but "not kill-the-ACC-and-add-Texas-to-the-SEC" level happy as that would cost them a fortune and lose them ACC hoops in the process. Here's where ESPN's desire to keep SEC payments down kicks in. Florida State. I know what everyone's gut reaction is. "They can't", "they already tried", "no doubling in owned markets" etc. But all I'm saying is lucky number 16 won't be the SEC's call and the SEC won't get any number 15 from the ACC at any point ever without ESPN allowing it to happen. From a business end, an ACC without Florida State costs ESPN less in payments to the ACC and an SEC with Florida State means that ESPN doesn't have to pay for Florida State's true market value (adding a football king program) if they move to the SEC. SEC fans, fear not. With this move, you will absolutely get the SEC Network on Tier 2 Cable Coverage (or better) in the State of North Carolina and whatever National Championships Florida State is then able to win in college football under the SEC banner. Keep in mind, the Playoff won't involve just four teams forever; as capitalism has never once worked under a "less money is more money" principle; so we all very well know that at minimum two SEC schools will get a chance to win the Football National Championship each year. All this means that realistically no amount of regular season losses by any SEC school (within reason) is ever going to diminish the SEC's Playoff Cut or chance to win the National Title. It goes without saying that the "pie slice" for each SEC will increase as that pie slice is determined by the facilitating party (ESPN). So, worry not, SEC pie slices will be guaranteed to increase as per the baker's mouth. In this case, the baker just doesn't want to buy "Florida State ingredients" at their true market value.
So how in the cheese does the ACC benefit? Notre Dame. Florida State leaving (N.C. State leaving does nothing to the ACC) is the impetus for the ACC's marriage proposal to Notre Dame. It's also ESPN's chance to claim all of Notre Dame football and not whatever loose claim them have now. Notre Dame is a bigger and better brand than Florida State will ever dream of being. At true market value, I think Notre Dame is above Texas. Debate that if you want, but it's not my main point here. My main point is that right now, the ACC would drop Florida State for Notre Dame. Right now, the Big Ten would drop Michigan for Notre Dame. If Texas wasn't running the Big 12, they would drop themselves for Notre Dame. Notre Dame is just that valuable from a monetary standpoint. Money is the reason people do crummy jobs. Money is the reason your kids don't die of measles at age eight. In short, no conference commissioner is ever going to decline a willing Notre Dame and Notre Dame's couch roommate status with the ACC is null and void should the ACC's contract with ESPN get restructured in a post-Florida State world. Unless Notre Dame wants to but their Olympic Sports in the Horizon League (again), it's full ACC or no (Division 1 and relevant) Olympic Sports at all.
bigshotbob, some of your predictions appear within a perceptual scope of possibilities with some interesting rationales if a given scenario falls a certain way; others I would regard as free speculation. Nothing is fluid right now, but they may be doing some exploratory, preliminary talking.
As I conveyed in an earlier post, I anticipate some collaborative deal shall be attempted involving the SEC, ACC, ESPN, and perhaps Notre Dame. There's already tweet rumors being generated that ND will join the ACC for full fb sometime after the 2017-18 fb season. (We know how those unsubstantiated tidbits get going....someone from Florida or wherever supposedly leaks insider information to someone in West Virginia who......_)
While I cannot see all the specifics falling a particular way, I believe the theme does offer merit.
1) Agree, the ACC could lose NCSU and not particularly miss them. NCSU would do much for the SEC's market expansion. NCSU and South Carolina at one time had been a close rivalry. NCSU could be part of a deal. VPI? That may be a bridge too far.
2) Notre Dame or not, I would find it difficult for the ACC to bargain FSU away. That's a bread N butter fb school for the ACC. And the SEC would still be concerned about market duplication. I had suggested Miami as a compromise by default. The ACC is going to want to stay as contiguous as possible. Miami is still in Florida, but south Florida is a major market for recruiting.
3) The ACC will only add if ND fully commits or lose somebody beforehand. They're counting on that GoR, and only a comprehensive deal involving a lot of network money and cross-conference cooperation could possibly change that. With a ND full commitment, replacements could include Cincy or UConn or an arrangement with Navy. Involving WVU would complicate the negotiations because it would involve another conference whereby ESPN would have less direct influence.
4) The question concerning Texas and/or Oklahoma ultimately coming to the SEC could still be remotely possible, but I would bet strongly against it. It involves so many conditions, demands, attitudes, and tangential accommodations, nothing appears practical about it. I believe the SEC is looking into the State of North Carolina as the top priority.
5) For ND to budge on anything, it will take formidable, collective pressure; not just carrots and getting little in return. ND has proven time and time again, they are savvy operatives and don't mind being sly about it if such satisfies their agenda. If conferences and network executives approach them with excessive deference, Notre Dame will only accept the parts that fit into their current scheme.