Saturday Expansion (3:45pm Update)

As expected, this is all moving very quickly, and there is plenty of ongoing (opinionated) discussion on the SFN Forums about the inevitable next round of college football expansion and realignment, and more precisely, how it will affect State. So go on over there and join the fun, and it’s likely you’ll even win a $100 Walmart gift card, or maybe one of the few remaining ipads!

Also check out the previous few SFN Blog discussions here and here. If you’re curious about when all this chaos started (especially the younger among you), you can read about the evolution of expansion here.

Today, Joe Schad at ESPN is reporting that Texas A&M will become the 13th member of the SEC as early as Monday, and that Missouri, Florida State and Clemson are also “likely to join,” probably later this month (full column with videos).

Everyone expects the SEC to become a 16-team league, and for the Big Ten to eventually follow, and perhaps even the new Pac-12.

Our question is, how will this affect the ACC, and more particularly, NC State? Quite simply: who knows? The ACC is in a really tough position here, because there aren’t many options that strengthen its football positioning in terms of TV revenues, which, as we’ve noted previously, is all that matters. Also keep in mind that with the addition of TCU in 2012 (and its Texas TV markets), the Big East may very likely negotiate a favorable deal for the football portion of its TV contract; combined with the potential raid of the ACC, the Big East may be solvent enough to stave off a future Big Ten raid. In fact, if Villanova joins as a full member (as expected), it will probably look to expand from 10 to 12, and look for two more teams (possibly even from the ACC). This very well could negatively affect the ACC’s efforts to remain a player in the BCS picture, and thus limit its potential TV revenue. The Big East and ACC may both look towards Memphis (FedEx support), Central Florida (commuter school or not, it’s a big TV market), and/or Navy (far-reaching appeal), but any of those teams alone don’t enhance your reputation enough to secure mega-TV deals.

Now, let’s not be overly dramatic: The ACC won’t dissolve, it will continue to exist, although it’s likely it will look vastly different in a few years. For everyone that wishes the ACC would revert back to its basketball-first roots, you may well get your wish, although not as the cozy eight-team league it once was. That structure simply isn’t profitable nowadays. College football is now behind only the NFL in terms of TV revenue, and the new SEC deal with ESPN alone will probably be in the range of $4-5 billion over 10 years. The Pac-12, Big Ten, and SEC already each have a TV deal that pays each member $20-23 million annually, and that’s expected to increase (the SEC may pay out upwards of $30 million). Meanwhile, the ACC deal currently pays each of its members $14 million annually, and it will be hard to maintain that with Florida State and Clemson gone (and possibly Maryland and maybe others).

What you may see the ACC do is take the pragmatic approach: concede its attempt at football prowess and look at options that maximize its basketball revenue (remember, for the ACC, the basketball portion of its deal is bigger than its football) — in which case, it would have to look towards adding more northeastern teams (and their TV markets). However, that could be disastrous for any of us that hoped to someday go to the Orange Bowl, or, heck, even the Peach Bowl.

Now, back to Texas A&M: the Aggies are in a unique position to accomplish this kind of move: they may not be the preeminent Texas school, but they still take the SEC two top-10 TV markets and one of the top three recruiting states. In a strange way, they probably have quite a bit of leverage right now, and it’s at least possible this could all be an attempt to somehow become a partner in the Texas Longhorns Network and stay at home.

Now, here’s an idea for the ACC to consider: With both Texas A&M and Missouri looking to the SEC, as well as the inevitable departure of Texas from the Big XII, who this may be really be worrying is Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, who will certainly become targets of the Pac-12 (as well as Texas Tech). So, my opinion is that John Swofford should be on the phone immediately with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (both have strong recruiting inroads and alumni bases in Texas), and then Texas Tech. Everyone else wants those Texas TV markets, why shouldn’t the ACC go after them, too?

**3:45pm Update: reports “a high-placed SEC source told Sporting News the conference will stick to 14 teams and not advance to 16.” I would have to imagine that with Texas A&M as the 13th, then Florida State or Missouri would be the 14th, and Clemson is out of the equation.

Regarding Clemson, it’s tough to find any sourcing for their inclusion beyond speculation by a source close to Doug Gottlieb. The consensus among the SFN faithful seems to be that Clemson adds far less than its Textile Bowl rival. But there may be other factors at play here. My personal viewpoint is that by virtue of adding Clemson, the SEC enhances its brand, and in turn its negotiating position, by cutting into the ACC market share. In the case of Clemson, it would seem the SEC may see more value in dominating the South Carolina market — keep in mind that you can consider the Charlotte market among this, and with Clemson in the SEC that market would then be split — than adding the North Carolina market.

This is all very unnerving, sure. But stay tuned as this plays out.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

ACC ACC & Other

49 Responses to Saturday Expansion (3:45pm Update)

  1. Paramarine 08/13/2011 at 12:33 PM #

    Fire Swofford.

  2. Dogbreath 08/13/2011 at 12:49 PM #

    What time does Swofford finish his 36 holes and sober up to get engaged here?

  3. HPWolf 08/13/2011 at 1:02 PM #

    I understand FSU going to the SEC. Their recruiting is picking up and they should be able to compete. They have always been more of a football than basketball school anyway. Clemson however is another matter. If they can’t win in the ACC how in the heck will they fare in the SEC. Their football program will be bottom tier and basketball will be even less relevant than it already is. Regardless this is not looking good for ACC football if these defections do take place. I say we go after UCF and USF. Then maybe raid north to Navy or WVU.

  4. LRM 08/13/2011 at 1:05 PM #

    “If they can’t win in the ACC how in the heck will they fare in the SEC. Their football program will be bottom tier and basketball will be even less relevant than it already is.”

    This isn’t about winning, it’s all about money, and there’s plenty of money, even in losing.

  5. Plz2BStateFan 08/13/2011 at 1:14 PM #

    Clemson & FSU leave atlantic division we are a shoe in for the ACCCG


  6. hoop 08/13/2011 at 1:18 PM #

    If the SEC wants to expand it makes sense that they would want to get into NC which is a plenty large market. NC State seems like the best choice to me. UNX has NO football tradition and NC State is the largest school in the state. I think our new NC State leadership should push the issue and get out from under an apparently marginalized ACC. Anyone who says it ain’t gonna happen should tell us why.

  7. choppack1 08/13/2011 at 1:30 PM #

    This sucks – I hate 2 see 3 of my favorite schools in the ACC – Va Tech, Clemson, and FSU – bolt…but you can’t exactly blame them.

    Swofford hasn’t been proactive enough here…and the best school he got in the entire expansion deal was basically forced down his throat.

    Oh well – we’ll go back to being a basketball only conference now…

  8. phillypacker 08/13/2011 at 1:38 PM #

    Can we combine this thread with the FSU/VT flirt thread?

  9. VaWolf82 08/13/2011 at 1:45 PM #

    Anyone who says it ain’t gonna happen should tell us why.

    You’re kidding, right?

  10. lonepacker 08/13/2011 at 1:52 PM #

    Alabama … SEC … basketball … State … new basketball … new conference

    Think network connectoons

  11. hoop 08/13/2011 at 1:56 PM #

    The only reason I’ve heard people say NC State is a bad get for SEC is: you’re kidding right? No chance. Anyone who thinks this is crazy.

    As far as I’m concerned, NC State is a better choice now than USC was a few years ago. Larger market, more tradition. The Raleigh market was reason enough to move a professional hockey franchise here.

    If you are so certain as to why NC State is a bad choice, enlighten us.

  12. tjfoose1 08/13/2011 at 2:03 PM #

    You’re kidding again, right?

  13. dsgill87 08/13/2011 at 2:13 PM #

    Check out front page and article on

  14. dsgill87 08/13/2011 at 2:23 PM #

    If the SEC were looking to bring in (mostly) untapped markets, Raleigh and NC would be a completely logical choice; money, geographical and otherwise. It seems like its become a cliche around here, but hopefully the administration will be proactive and ambitious. We don’t want to be left out in what could be a very cold winter in an ACC akin to CUSA. I would hate to see NCSU leave the ACC, but we need to look out for the best interest of the university and not just this now nebulous idea of an ACC. The times are changing.

  15. Packfan28 08/13/2011 at 2:44 PM #

    Why are people saying VT and FSU are moving to the SEC? The guys that would make it happen say no way it’s happening. Sounds like something the media is creating.

    And regarding NC State, make a list of potential schools the SEC would like to get and you think we’re at the top of that list? Really?

  16. PackerInRussia 08/13/2011 at 2:44 PM #

    If we get stuck being a basketball-only conference (meaning football becomes greatly de-valued), UNC will be able to look back and laugh at the hard work that went into helping expose and (hopefully) cause the demise of their football program and the joy that it caused us. Their program won’t be relevant anyway and neither will anyone else’s. Kind of depressing for someone who loves to watch football and who is tied to NC State for life.
    Oh, and I’ll bet the Big East is having a hearty chuckle.

  17. tobaccordshow 08/13/2011 at 2:51 PM #

    If this is all about money, then VT an FSU make sense. But how in the world does Clemson fit it with the nations 4,000,000th largest TV market?

  18. packalum44 08/13/2011 at 3:15 PM #

    If SEC is about expanding their market, State/UNC/VA Tech would all be better strategic fits than Clemson. FL State is FL State. I get that one, regardless of whether it expands their market significantly or not. UNC or VA Tech or State give them roughly 10 million populated southern state.

    I purposely leave off MD b/c college athletics is not a big deal in DC save the VA Tech fans (there’s a reason MD can’t fill up their humbly sized stadium even with the advantage of having 5.5 million people within an hour drive).

    Keep in mind that the PAC 10 was raiding the Big 12 last year only to get Colorado. Yawn… Lots of moving parts here we shall see. I wonder what Randy, Debbie and Murphy are doing right now… Playing golf with Swofford I think not.

  19. LRM 08/13/2011 at 3:30 PM #

    “Keep in mind that the PAC 10 was raiding the Big 12 last year only to get Colorado. Yawn.”

    That’s not right at all. They were trying to become the Pac-16, actively pursuing Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Colorado.

  20. Hungwolf 08/13/2011 at 3:32 PM #

    ACC and Big 12 merge to form mega conference…hmmmm. That is what I would do if ACC and Big 12.

  21. LRM 08/13/2011 at 3:43 PM #

    Add Oklahoma in football and Kansas in basketball…now that’s a fun conference!

    Speaking of, how does Kansas feel about all of this? Would they become a target of the Big Ten?

    Beyond the ACC, you have programs like Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State who have even more uncertainty than the ACC.

  22. Astral Rain 08/13/2011 at 3:59 PM #

    I think ESPN said something about the other SEC schools not wanting a school in their own state added. I’d be all over this if that was the case, North Carolina’s a big market to have.

  23. hoop 08/13/2011 at 4:54 PM #

    “it would seem the SEC may see more value in dominating the South Carolina market — keep in mind that you can consider the Charlotte market among this, and with Clemson in the SEC that market would then be split — than adding the North Carolina market.”

    So the SEC would rather dominate a tiny South Carolina market where they already have a presence than open up a much larger, untapped market in North Carolina. Where is the value in that? And USC is about as close to Charlotte as Clemson. Your argument makes no sense.

    The SEC can open up a new market in Missouri, Virginia or North Carolina, or add existing market share in Florida. Those seem like much more likely arguments to me.

    And I remind you guys that NC State finished the season ranked #25. I think some of you have been watching too much WRAL.

    Va Tech makes the most sense from a pure football standpoint to me. Then they would get recruits from NC and Va. Oh wait, they already do.

  24. WolftownVA81 08/13/2011 at 5:23 PM #

    I’ve not been impressed with the ACC leadership at all. I don’t really care for how the last expansion worked out and Swof only seems to care about his UNX. If we have to make changes again, I’d be for joining the SEC instead of picking up the leftovers of another decimated conference. At least the SEC doesn’t market just two of their teams. I think we’d do well in basketball and while it may take us a while to climb to the middle of the new conference, we see some real good football each saturday.

  25. LRM 08/13/2011 at 5:23 PM #

    Hoops, I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just trying to rationalize why the SEC would pursue Clemson over State or Carolina. There’s obviously a reason.

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