Texas and Oklahoma to SEC? What’s next for ACC and Syracuse if this happens?
You were minding your own business on Wednesday, potentially logging into the Coastal Division of ACC Football Kick-off (Media Days), when Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle abandoned this explosive relationship.
You would be forgiven for thinking you were fired in the summer of 2010 here. While Texas and Oklahoma alone mulling over a move to the SEC wasn’t one of the main rumors the last time the conference’s realignment gears really shifted, it was certainly a possibility. era – with the more popular “Pac-16” plan that would have sent them to the then-Pac-10 with Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Colorado.
Texas was part of what canceled the plan at the time, although there was still a knock-on effect on the Big 12 members. Now they appear to be one of the driving forces behind the Big 12’s effective end in as a P5 conference, or even its complete dissolution.
Now it could also just be a power play from OU and Texas (the biggest money makers in the Big 12) to get a higher percentage of conference revenue. And last night’s report that both schools would renew their media contracts when they expire in 2025, at least in part. Regardless of whether the two schools are leaving for the SEC or not, it’s clear that something big is going to happen around conference membership soon.
Of course, the ACC should be proactive in protecting itself here.
In the past, no league has been more proactive in expanding and protecting its interests when the conference realigns. From the moment he added Miami, Boston College and
Syracuse Virginia Tech, when she added Orange and Pitt, then Notre Dame and finally Louisville, she was always ahead of her time. Granted, it was with John Swofford at the helm. But the spirit of “Ninja Swoff” hopefully lives on in Greensboro as Jim Phillips takes the reins.
So first and foremost the league should just go ahead and add West Virginia.
The SEC hasn’t categorically denied the OU / Texas rumor, and any league would be foolish to say no to such openings. So it’s clear the league wouldn’t hesitate to add two more to reach 16 teams and get the super-conference train rolling. The Big Ten certainly have their own ideas there too, and you wouldn’t mind trying to poach an ACC school or two because the alternatives are … Kansas and Kansas State / Iowa State.
Although the ACC has media rights locked in for the next decade, this is already proving to be a problem for the league, as media rights become more and more expensive and are stuck on tariffs that were the norm there are. half a decade. Meanwhile, the Big Ten and the SEC eclipse the rest of the Power Five in terms of revenue before that. likely next round of realignment. If you are an ACC school and you get a call, you absolutely take it.
Adding West Virginia wouldn’t stop a school like Georgia Tech, North Carolina, or Duke from moving to greener pastures (although the latter two aren’t going anywhere). But it would signal league members that the ACC is once again proactive as it determines how to function in this changing reality. West Virginia is not in a big market, but has a passionate fan base, a history with many ACC schools and would add valuable inventory on the football and men’s basketball front. It stands to reason that the school would likely continue proactively at this point, knowing the Horns and Sooners are considering exits. CCA should just go ahead and look at it.
Now what happens from there? Well, a shift to superconferences could maybe push Notre-Dame into full-time ACC. Getting a bigger commitment from Notre Dame should be the priority, obviously, since that’s what triggers bigger ESPN payouts and what makes league membership more secure going forward.
But if that doesn’t happen (and I wouldn’t bet on it until more coins start moving), the league should at least watch who else is out there. There is UConn, of course. Or they could chase Kansas out of a crumbling Big 12 before the Big Ten. Or Cincinnati could be an option if the AAC starts to be attacked by the Big 12 …
We’ll see what happens there. In the meantime, Syracuse’s options are … to wait. They don’t get a Big Ten invite. There is no bullish movement, and no exit from ACC that is financially beneficial for Orange. It is very good. We knew it – or at least should have known it before today.
Hopefully the damage here is minimal, but we’re at another potential turning point for varsity athletics. SU hit a lifeboat the last time. Hope the same is true this time too.