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Another USF to ACC article


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After weeks of rumor and speculation, the first dominoes may finally be ready to fall.

  Monday, a radio station in Kansas City reported that Notre Dame, Missouri, Nebraska and Rutgers will all be offered invitations to join the Big Ten.

  It’s a development that, if true, could drastically change the landscape of college athletics as we know it. And the repercussions could end up having a major affect on the ACC.

  That’s undoubtedly a hot topic of conversation this week among the league’s 12 member schools at their annual spring meetings in Amelia Island, Fla.

  Unlike the last major college athletic realignment five years ago, in which the ACC was proactive by raiding the Big East for its three newest teams, this time around, the conference may find itself in the position of having to play defense.

  When asked about the possibility of further expansion, commissioner John Swofford was emphatic that his league was “happy with 12 and very happy with the membership we currently have.â€

  That, however, doesn’t mean things can’t and won’t change during the coming weeks and months.

  Even now, while those 12 current members are sitting around the campfire signing Kumbaya on the beach, others may be making plans to disrupt the happy status quo and force the ACC to go out looking for new members.

  No, the Big Ten isn’t seriously considering any ACC schools to round out its membership at an even 16 – though there wouldn’t be any tears shed if it feels inclined to go after ill-fitting Boston College.

  The greatest threat comes from the already powerful SEC should it feel the need to keep up with the Jones, or in this case the Tressels, Izzos and Paternos, by adding four new teams of its own.

  It’s hard to imagine why the SEC would make such a move, considering that even $3 billion spends a lot faster when it’s divided 16 ways than it does when there are only 12 members getting a share.

  But since when has anything to do with college athletics and conference realignment made any sense?

  If the SEC does decide to expand, its prime targets would figure to be Texas and Oklahoma of the suddenly vulnerable Big 12, since both are football schools that would help open up new television markets and bring with them large, passionate fan bases. But it would also figure to consider current ACC members Florida State, Miami and perhaps even Clemson.

  It’s a possibility of which Swofford is keenly aware, which is why he’s spending so much time and effort this week circling the wagons and rallying the troops. At the same time, he’s not naive enough to think that the ACC brand is so strong that it will deter anyone from leaving if the price is right.

  Which is why he and his athletic directors are already mapping out several contingency plans. Just in case.

  “I don’t think any conference would be doing its due diligence if you stuck your head in the sand, so to speak. And we will not do that,†Swofford told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday. “We will be very aware and conscious of what’s going on around us and what the potentialities may be in terms of changes.â€

  The most logical course of action would be to send out feelers to schools such as West Virginia, South Florida, Pittsburgh and either Syracuse or Louisville to gauge their interest in the ACC, then sit back on the sidelines and wait to see what — if anything — happens.

  Or, Swofford can get aggressive again, fire a preemptive strike and add two to four more teams before anyone else makes their move.

  It would be a risky move that would further weaken the ACC’s strength and tradition in basketball. But it could also prove beneficial financially, especially with a new television deal for both football and basketball still on the table.

  Ultimately, those TV deals will go a long way toward determining the future makeup of the ACC.

  It’s a given that the league won’t come close to matching the record haul brought in by the SEC or even the Big Ten, which has fattened its bank account with the help of its own television network.

  The more money it does get from ESPN, Raycom, Fox Sports South and whatever other partners decide to get in on the deal, the more chance those 12 happy members will stay happy and not want to go anywhere else.

  No matter which way the ACC decides to go, it better have some kind of plan in place by the time its members head home from Florida this week. Because once the Big Ten finally starts knocking over the first few dominoes with its own expansion, the rest are going to fall fast.

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maybe a new big east wouldnt be so bad

maybe usf could finally win conference title

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