Wednesday, September 21, 2011

College Football Musical Chairs

The musical chairs of college football continue as Pitt and Syracuse will be joining the ACC. The move not only improves the football of the conference, it also dramatically improves the quality of the basketball. Syracuse, Duke, and UNC will all be directly competing against each other. The move also widens the ACC's footprint in the Northeast.

The ACC could stay at 14 teams, or it could easily expand to 16. UConn and Rutgers are very willing to join. Notre Dame has been rumored to be a target, and would obviously bring huge amounts of revenue and exposure to the conference. As a BC fan, I'd love if UConn and Notre Dame were to join Boston College in the ACC.

But Notre Dame's ample revenue streams are precisely why they won't join the ACC. They don't want to split their football money with anyone.

The ACC adding teams makes sense for several reasons. Obviously, adding quality football and basketball programs increases shared revenue for everyone. Also, the SEC is lurking, like a shark in deep waters and the ACC needs to protect itself.

Nobody knows how hungry the SEC will be to add teams. But if they do have an appetite, ACC programs like Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech might be on the menu. The ACC is actively defending itself in case that happens.

The Pac-12 has announced that it won't expand... today at least. They're happy with a 12 team conference and they'll all be making plenty of money.

This means that most of the Big XII is safe... today at least. Texas A&M will shuffle over to the SEC, and will likely do so uncontested now that the Big XII as a conference can still survive with 9 members. They may also add BYU or even West Virginia. The SEC has denied that it has already added Missouri.

The Big East is on life support. This isn't the first time. When BC, Miami, and Virginia Tech left, many thought that the Big East would die. So I don't want to start writing its obituary, but things seem worse this time around.

The Big East will be down to 7 teams with the departure of Pitt and Cuse (and the addition of TCU). If UConn and Rutgers defect to the ACC and West Virginia to the Big XII, the conference will either have to disband, or add low quality teams to survive. There simply aren't that many good non-BCS programs out there to add, though. Boise State, obviously. But who else? Houston? Central Florida?

I think the ACC will become the first 16 team "super-conference." They'll be an experiment for the other conferences to watch. If it works, then the SEC and others will follow.

We might end up with 4 BCS conferences (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-16), each with 16 teams, 4 divisions, and 2 rounds of playoffs. Then maybe the 4 conference champs, plus 2 wild cards could be in a National Championship playoff. That'd be fine with me.

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