Nice link about possible expansion moves posted by Six Pack on the SFN Forums. This column offers three possible scenarios as well as some additional insight into how it could play out (Statesman.com):
A high-ranking Texas source said that the ACC has been in contact with Texas, but added that talks hadn’t progressed to a mature phase. In fact, the source wasn’t sure what other schools the ACC would look to add besides Texas.
Don’t take that to mean it won’t work.
The ACC is willing to talk about a unique conference format that has intrigued Texas. Instead of divisions, the conference could be divided into four pods, with each pod containing four teams, to aid scheduling.
So don’t completely fall asleep on the ACC, although Texas would probably prefer it bring along at least one partner, probably Texas Tech.
Actually, the source said, the Pac-12 has been in discussions about using a pod system as a way to divide the conference too. Besides, Texas isn’t in love with the thought of playing in a division that includes none of the Los Angeles-based teams.
But that’s not what’s on the table right now.
“Texas really isn’t happy with the way the Pac-12 would like to align the conference,” a well-placed source said. “They want to put all the former Pac-8 schools in one division and group all the former Big 12 schools (assuming Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech join) with Utah and the Arizona schools.”
I’ve previously argued that raiding the Big East again might not be the right response this time around, and that Swofford should look west towards Oklahoma and Texas if the ACC wants to remain a viable player in the BCS. It appears that, at the very least, the idea is being considered. Keep in mind that ESPN produces the Longhorns Network and owns primary rights to ACC football and basketball, so this would probably make it more likely to structure a revenue model from which everyone in the new ACC would benefit.
Now, I do find it somewhat comical that poor ol’ Texas seems almost aghast that their Big XII family will soon break up and they’ll likely lose their two biggest rivals — most indications are the series with A&M will not continue after this season, and Oklahoma doesn’t seem eager to continue the series if it moves to the Pac-12 — in the process, even though it’s the Longhorns (and their Network) who have alienated those rivals during the past year.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will likely stay together, so I imagine Texas would push hard to bring Texas Tech with it to the ACC. With 14 members, Swofford may not necessarily need to even look towards the Big East to expand, at least not immediately. Perhaps the expansion will end with the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and ACC each going to 14 for now (with Missouri to the SEC and some combination of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and/or Syracuse to the Big Ten).
If the ACC does go to 16, I promoted the idea of pods a while back as the only real option to maintain scheduling flexibility and keep traditional rivalries fresh (without potentially decade-long gaps between meetings under a traditional home-and-home then off rotation model). This would be similar to the NFL model, where everyone in Pod A would play the same teams from Pod B, C, or D, with two protected rivalry games that are played annually. For instance, State and Carolina would be in different pods but still play every year; same for Alabama with Auburn and Tennessee, etc. As for how a conference champion would be determined, that’s anyone’s guess; with superconferences, it wouldn’t really matter because they’ll be the only ones invited to the BCS party anyway.
Wednesday 8am Update:
I’ve said previously that Florida State would not sit idly by while the ACC plunges into football irrelevance — gentlemen’s agreement or not, they would fight for an SEC invite. But now, apparently, Florida State is in favor of the ACC adding Texas to solidify its football relevance (The Palm Beach Post):
Florida State has begun taking forceful steps to prepare itself for conference realignment, whether that means joining Florida in the SEC or becoming part of an ACC super conference that may include Texas.
With recent talk of a possible formation of four super conferences, Andy Haggard, chairman of FSU’s board of trustees, said Tuesday that his school has begun forming a committee that will explore the university’s options. He says FSU should be prepared for any scenario, whether it’s moving to another conference or staying in the ACC and having a say in who else may join the league. That could mean Texas, which will seek to leave the Big 12 if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State jump to the Pac-12, which is expected.
Haggard, FSU President Eric Barron and Athletic Director Randy Spetman have held meetings to determine who the decision-makers will be when it comes to forming FSU’s committee.
“We are going to explore the conferences, what’s going on and make sure if anything does happen at Florida State that we are ready,” Haggard said from his law firm office in Coral Gables.
Haggard said the university has been discussing realignment possibilities for some time but just now decided to take the next step and form a committee. They hope to have that committee in place by next week.
Texas would be a homerun addition for the ACC. Like it or not, tradition, culture and geography no longer matter to the structure of modern college football, and no conference that includes Texas will be left out of the future BCS, and it would likely keep others (perhaps Virginia Tech) from defecting.
Plus, longtime State basketball icon Rick Barnes would finally be back in the ACC where he belongs.