Sunday Expansion Thoughts

I’ve long-believed expansion/re-alignment wouldn’t end until there were four 14- or 16-team superconferences controlling the football universe, i.e., TV/BCS revenue. The proliferation of college football on TV over the past 20 years has shifted the landscape such that traditional cultural and geographical alliances simply don’t matter, and conference names have little to do with affiliated members. It’s quite simple, actually: TV markets matter, nothing else.

Why split the gobs of potential revenue with the ACC and Big East weaklings? Four ways splits better than six.

As of now, major media outlets are reporting that Maryland and Rutgers may join the B1G as early as Monday (some rumors today that Georgia Tech has shown interest). Very few of us would miss Maryland (or its fans), but the reality is that it’s a move that could start a potentially unfavorable domino-effect for others in the ACC, and most importantly, N.C. State. It would be the perfect way for Maryland to leave the ACC.

If Maryland successfully negotiates — or sues for — a reduced exit fee, then it seems logical that Florida State would use this as the precedent to go to the Big XII, or at least try (there have been reports that Texas does not support expansion beyond 10). Keep in mind, neither Maryland nor Florida State voted yes to the increased $50 million exit fee, which could matter in a legal battle (West Virginia won a similar legal battle last year).

So, assuming Maryland leaves and Florida State soon follows, the ACC is left unsettled with more questions in need of answers.

Does anyone else leave?
If the Big XII does add Florida State, it won’t stop at 11. Louisville is rumored to be the 12th member, and it’s plausible that Clemson and Miami would both be interested. Florida State, Clemson, Miami, West Virginia, and Louisville would at least offer a semi-logical divisional alignment for a 14-team league.

What would Notre Dame do?
I’m not sure anyone can answer this. Last week pundits were saying that being independent was hurting Notre Dame in the BCS, but that idea was scratched when both Kansas State and Oregon lost last night. Notre Dame now controls is destiny to the national title game, and getting there certainly doesn’t make full membership in the ACC more likely. Most importantly, Notre Dame’s TV ratings on both NBC (home games) and ABC/ESPN (all others) are soaring this season.

One possibility is that Notre Dame changes direction altogether, similar to what TCU did after it joined the Big East, where it never played a game before eventually joining the Big XII.

Without Florida State or Notre Dame, the ACC is a far less attractive option for TV or the BCS. Consider that in its current form, the ACC just signed a 12-year deal with the Orange Bowl valued at $660 million ($55 million annually). Meanwhile, the SEC just signed a 12-yr deal with the Sugar Bowl worth $960 million ($80 million annually). That gap will only grow with a depleted league.

How will state politics factor in?
This is the most interesting, and most complicated, aspect. Perhaps others can offer more insight into what we could expect in this regard.

Virginia: The extent of my knowledge of Commonwealth politics is that it’s currently a Blue State. But, I know that Virginia Tech cashed in a lot of political capital to force Virginia to block Syracuse in the 2003 expansion plan. So, would the state legislature now even allow Virginia Tech to break away from Virginia?

North Carolina: There are multiple factors here. Will the NC General Assembly ever allow a separation between State-Carolina, especially where one benefits over the other? Moreover, I’m not sure how Duke or Wake Forest even factor into the state politics equation. Do either of them even have political capital in the state? How attractive is Carolina to anyone else with such massive allegations of institutionalized academic fraud looming?

What should State do?
I’ve always thought the ideal scenario for the SEC is to add Virginia Tech and Carolina, but that Carolina would never break its marriage to Duke, nor would it abandon its most-favored status in the ACC. Now I’m not so sure, so State should be proactive and look into an alliance with Virginia Tech to offer a combined NC/VA TV market to the SEC and Big XII, see if anything favorable comes of it. I’m not saying either will want us, or that it’s even politically possible. But think about it this way: the only reason Missouri is a part of the SEC is because they had a favorable TV market and the league required a balanced schedule to keep traditional cross-division rivals happy.

Why does LRM hate the ACC so much?
It’s not necessarily hate, but pragmatism. The reality is, the ACC that State helped charter is gone, nothing but a moniker. It’s possible that by next year ACC charter members will be outnumbered by former Big East teams.

In the simplest terms, I’m pro-N.C. State, not pro-ACC, and I don’t believe that what’s best for the ACC is necessarily what’s best for N.C. State.

About LRM

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

ACC ACC Teams NC State

17 Responses to Sunday Expansion Thoughts

  1. Avid109 11/18/2012 at 2:54 PM #

    It’s all about the four superconferences expanding their footprint to as many states (TV markets) as possible as they reach the 16-school threshold. The SEC wants to add the states of NC and VA, period. They would be happy with either UVa or Va Tech and UNC or NC State. The B1G and Big 12 probably want to do likewise. I’m not sure that the ACC has any chance at all. If MD does leave, the only way to stop the bleeding quickly would be to somehow get ND to join in football. That might be enough to keep the other schools onboard. Otherwise, the ACC could go up in a flash.

  2. packalum44 11/18/2012 at 3:04 PM #

    Its no secret that UNC holds a significant branding advantage over State (due in large part to decades of systematic cheating). This would bring in new $ to the SEC. The only hope we have of State ending up in the SEC is if UNX heads to the Big10.

    I also agree that NC politics are a huge complication that I have very little insight into. What we do know is this: UNC owns the legislature and BOG. We will end up in the SEC iff UNC opts for the Big10.

  3. packalum44 11/18/2012 at 3:13 PM #

    Also, BJD is incorrect about State voting NAY on increasing the buyout fee. We 100% voted for it FYI.

  4. hoop 11/18/2012 at 3:27 PM #

    UNC has a stranglehold on ACC management. Why would they give that up? There’s no way they leave for any conference.

  5. Wulfpack 11/18/2012 at 3:28 PM #

    Crazy stuff. But it’s real. I hope we have a plan.

  6. NelsonHall97 11/18/2012 at 3:42 PM #

    UNC & UVA to B1G
    State & VA Tech to SEC
    FSU & Clemson to Big XII

    GA Tech may eventually get to Big XII

    Miami (left out in the sun…too far away for B1G or PAC, not needed by Big XII or SEC…NCAA problems).

    Golden Domers stay Indy in Football (because they can), and join any other conference they want in other sports.

    Big East and ACC gobble each other up and become “Ugly Northeast Conference” 5th wheel.

  7. StateFans 11/18/2012 at 4:02 PM #

    NC State did vote FOR the increased exit fee

  8. WendellPackster 11/18/2012 at 4:27 PM #

    I predict we are left out of the 4 super conferences. From what I have read that is mostly about TV revenue and a football playoff anyway and we suck at football. We end up in some ACC/BE hybrid which will be tougher on recruting and will once again slap basketball back down. It’s all in UNC-Cheats grand plan.

  9. NokePackFan 11/18/2012 at 4:58 PM #

    Why not recognize football is the 800 lb gorilla deserving separate treatment and set up the inevitable 16 team superconferences for football only? Basketball and the rest of the sports could remain in separate traditional and more geographically consistent conferences. What makes some sense for the football market doesn’t necessarily have to drag everything else in its wake. Bifurcate the two and maybe the schools and fans can enjoy the best of both worlds.

  10. StateFans 11/18/2012 at 5:08 PM #

    NokePack nails it. I’ve been saying this for a while now.

    64 Football Teams

    4 ‘super’ conferences of 16 with 8 ‘divisions’ of 8 teams or 8 conferences of 8

    Round robin within your division

    ONLY division games count for ‘conference’

    8 teams (division winners) advance into ‘playoffs’ that start with ‘conference championship’ games.

  11. wufpup76 11/18/2012 at 5:30 PM #

    “I don’t believe that what’s best for the ACC is necessarily what’s best for N.C. State.”>

    ^No doubt about that one …

  12. Wulfpack 11/18/2012 at 6:16 PM #

    Maryland’s Board of Regents are voting on this tomorrow morning. Wow.

  13. GAWolf 11/18/2012 at 6:35 PM #

    Swofford keeps getting pats on the back for how he’s handled expansion. That continues to amaze me. Until the ACC adds to its football presence (which it has not done yet given the fall of Miami), it’s slowly sinking.

    We best jump ship or go down with it.

  14. graywolf 11/18/2012 at 8:37 PM #

    GA Wolf is right…..get out now or we are a has-been.

  15. 61Packer 11/18/2012 at 11:03 PM #

    We can jump ship, but where would we go if we did? I believe the first ACC schools who’d be looked at by the SEC would be Clemson and FSU. The only way I see the SEC going into North Carolina would be UNC, but splitting the Heels and Blue Devils would be like splitting Alabama and Auburn. Won’t happen.

    Before the expansion madness hit high gear last year, I favored staying put, but now that the ACC is mutating into the Big East, I’d rather see NCSU leave. I don’t want to spend $$ on LTR seats to watch the likes of BC, Miami, Pitt, UConn, Rutgers and Syracuse instead of Duke, UNC, Clemson, UVA and Maryland.

    As for Maryland, I simply can’t believe the Big Ten would want them, let alone need them. If it’s a B1G ploy to persuade ND to come in too, then as bad as I’d hate to lose the Terps, it might be worth it to get rid of the Irish.

    But if the ACC is going to get rid of anyone, it needs to be John Swofford. NOW!

  16. LRM 11/19/2012 at 7:31 AM #

    ^The SEC made it clear last time around they won’t expand within their existing footprint (SC, FL). The only way expansion works financially is to grab new markets.

  17. coach13 11/19/2012 at 9:42 AM #

    Well as fans we can wish…but we are not going anywhere. We will be left in whatever this ACC becomes. UNC will leave last minute. There’s no way UNC doesn’t come out smelling like roses, and Pack holding the bag of s4it. Our only hope which is essentially non-ezistent, is DY and all the powers on NC State pull together to do something bold and…well….just aint happening.

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