It was widely assumed just over a month ago that if the Big 12 were to raid any ACC teams it would happen after new commisioner Bob Bowlsby took office, but it looks like most of the raiding could be wrapped up before then…at least unofficially, and with good reason.
No conference wants to look like they are on the prowl, and with outgoing interim commissioner Chuck Neinas passing over the reigns in June, it looks like the Big 12 could add a team or two by that time.
This is great for Bowlsby, as he won’t look like the bad guy and he’ll only have to deal with the small details of which division each team plays in…if that.
When we told you back in late January that Florida State and Clemson were talking with the Big 12 through third parties, we were called quite a few names…the least of which were “not credible” and the worst of which aren’t printable, but we had great sources at both school and the Big 12 who were willing to talk off the record, and now the entire country knows these talks have been going on, despite what schools and the conference are saying publically.
Now several schools within the ACC don’t want to get left out of the BCS picture, and by staying in the ACC or Big East (or independent) the chances of your team playing in the BCS title game appear as slim as “Saturday Night Live” cast member Rachel Dratz winning People Magazine’s Hottest Woman of the Year Award.
Which is exactly why Notre Dame is talking to both the Big 12 and ACC. The Irish have plenty of money, but if they want to ever have the chance of playing in a BCS title game, will need to join one of the so-called “Fab Four” conferences.
As of today it appears that both Florida State and Clemson will soon officially announce they are “exploring options” and will later announce they want out of the ACC. At which point the Big 12 will make a formal offer and the two schools will join the conference for the 2013 football season.
But the SEC isn’t waiting around for the Big 12 or Big Ten to grab all of the good teams left on the shelf, and we fully expect to hear news within the next week or so on Virginia Tech exploring their options ,which would be the SEC. Georgia Tech finally appears to now realize what is going on, and doesn’t want to get left out of the BCS picture (not to mention the big money), and would jump at the SEC. But if they don’t offer could wind up in the Big 12.
And while news is a little harder to come by in the Big Ten, we’ve even been getting some whispers of the conference looking at Boston College (of course Notre Dame) and Rutgers.
Duke and North Carolina are begging North Carolina State to stay, and it looks like the Wolfpack are considering staying in the sinking BCS ship that is indeed the ACC. They could change their minds down the road, but by then it may be too late.
The Pac 12 would love to be in the hunt for some terrific teams that are left, but geography is their biggest enemy. That, and the fact they blew it last fall when they had the chance to take Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, and their academic arrogance kept them from pulling the trigger. Now their aren’t any football powerhouses left west of the Mississippi that would join them, expect for BYU who they won’t take a sniff at.
This thing is happening fast, and it’s indeed like the Titanic. Only a few lifeboats left, and if you aren’t proactive you may get left behind. Even those schools like Louisville and BYU, who have been very proactive, may also get left behind.
Please don’t tell me how great your school has been in women’s soccer or that your equestrian team has been incredible. Once again this picture is only about football, TV markets, and the dollars your school can generate. It’s not even about the distant second sport of basketball, as members of the hoop strong ACC conference are sadly finding out.
There are only so many spots left, and there are no doubt some pretty good programs will be relegated into football obscurity when all of this shakes out.
We’ll talk conference realignment with some great national guests over the next few weeks on the Greg Swaim Show.