In 2003 the ACC ignited a spark that would soon become a ball of burning hydrogen in the universe of collegiate sports. They plucked Virginia Tech, Boston College, and the University of Miami from the Big East. The three universities joined the ACC in 2005.(Phase 1) In an attempt to survive the, Big East then raided Conference USA and added Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. They also jettisoned Temple from the Conference and brought Connecticut up to an FBS program. (Phase 2) Yes these two phases did not create the large burning star that I referenced earlier, but stick with it. This little flame could go super nova.
We also could go in to who Conference USA added, but Conference USA isn’t a major player when it comes to FBS conferences. They are more like a small moon orbiting the larger conferences. (Let just leave it at UCF, SMU, Marshall, Rice, UTEP, and Tulsa)
In 2010 the BIG 10, now just the BIG, decided to take the little flame that the ACC started and turn it into the potentially unstable ball of hydrogen we have in the college universe today. They announced that they were looking to expand their football conference. Seeing the potential revenue and power of the BIG10’s actions the PAC 10, now the PAC 12, then moved to increase the power and stability of their own conference. As the BIG 10 pulled Nebraska from the Big 12 (phase 3), the PAC 10 pulled Utah from the Mountain West Conference and Colorado from the Big 12 Conference. (phase 4)
Then in 2011 the Big 12 conference almost imploded. There really is no other way to say it. Texas A&M launched off for the nearby SEC. Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State where in serious discussions of with the PAC 12 about potential membership. Suddenly the Big 12’s world seemed unstable. Temperature fluctuations between the core and it's surface, extreme weather changes, and shifting in the tectonic plates were just some of the catastrophic changes. It seemed that soon their world would reach equilibrium and simply die off. With the Big 12’s world about to crumble the remaining schools were left looking for a place the jettison themselves to. A place that could sustain their way of life. Fortunately Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State decided to stay and rebuild world. Too little too late for Missouri though. Missouri had had enough of the chaos and flew to SEC as well. (phase 5)
Remember the ACC? So with all this cosmic chaos going on in the universe they figured they would expand yet again. They again raided the Big East for two more schools. Pitt and Syracuse. (Phase 6)
In the rebuilding process the Big 12 added two schools to take Texas A&M and Missouri’s place. They added TCU from the Mountain West conference and West Virginia from the Big East conference. (Phase 7)
Yes the Mountain West added schools. Again,..simply a moon orbiting these other conferences.
Suddenly the Big East was in the same situation that the Big 12 was in. Would their little world be around for much longer? Could they sustain the programs that were left behind? Well they did survive,…at least for now. They added schools like Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, Houston, UCF, Navy, Memphis, and even brought Temple back home. Yes the Big East is now looking like a large moon and not a planet at all; considering the state of their current world isn’t as rich as other conferences. Its air quality isn’t as good, they don’t have the fossil fuels, and or rich elements that the other conferences have. And it seems that only a portion of these universities are fighting for the Big East to remain in existence. (Phase 8)
All of these previous acts bring us to the present. Now the ACC has a new contract with the omnipotent four letter network. And the Big 12 is poised to make an even bigger contract and cement it’s status as one of the four power conferences. The contract is projected to be around 20 million per school. The Big 12 has also just made a deal with the SEC to have their own bowl game where to two conference square off for bragging rights. As you know the BIG and the PAC 12 have the Rose Bowl. Now the Big 12 and SEC have their bowl game as well. Seems like a huge statement considering the all powerful entities in the BCS are leaning to a four team playoff system to decide the national champions of college football. Couldn’t the ACC strike a deal with the Big East to have a bowl game? Nah,…that would be like the Big East with an ACC mask playing Conference USA in a Big East uniform.
Just when you thought the cosmic energies had diminished and the seas across the conferences had calmed. It appears that, that growing ball of hydrogen has been using up all of its hydrogen fuel. Fusing into helium nuclei, and releasing vast amounts of energy out into the college football universe.
Anybody smell supernova?
It appears that Florida State is considering leaving the Big East,…sorry,…I meant the ACC. They are both the same,..one just has more blue blood universities,..they both are weak in football.
Yes FSU seems to be calculating the cost and benefits of moving to the Big 12. If they move who will they take with them? Let’s be honest we know the Big 12 wants Notre Dame, but Notre Dame will not join a conference unless their hand is forced and even then they would probably be looking at the BIG or the PAC 12. The ACC’s 17 million a year isn’t pulling in Notre Dame. Neither will their academics. The BIG is just as academically competitive and they pulled in over 24 million per school this year. (24.6 million in shared revenue to exact. According to figures provided the Illinois athletic department) Nebraska was their least profitable school at 19 million. And I believe that is because it is still paying it’s BIG membership fees. Also keep in mind that in three years the BIG gets to renegotiate their contract.
You know they are going to get paid.
So let’s say FSU blasts off for the neighboring conference of the Big 12. Who do they suck up in their jet wash and bring with them? Clemson? Great school, rabid fan base. Georgia Tech? Great academics, and huge TV market. For arguments sake let’s say Clemson goes, because GT is an academics first school, and they may not want to leave the academic bragging rights of the ACC behind. So if FSU and Clemson leave who does the ACC get to replace them, or do they replace them? Will the ACC swallow it’s pride and take an academically inferior school like a Louisville? Or would they stay status quo and bring in Rutgers and Connecticut? They are a basketball and academics first conference so I’d say the latter.
So again the unstable star is just blasting off huge solar flares. You can see the effects across the college universe.
Here is one key factor that isn’t being discussed much. When the BIG renegotiates it’s next contract in three years. Who is to say that James Delany doesn’t try to get UNC and Duke to join the BIG? Or maybe a UNC, Duke and a third ACC school? Say a UVA, a Maryland, or a Boston College? (Yes, Boston College. You’ll see why in a minute.) James Delany is a UNC alum and you can bet he would love to bring them into the fold. Can someone really tell me that UNC and Duke would not think about rocketing to the BIG if they are pulling in around 26- 30million per school each year? And with three ACC schools you can bet the final invitation would go out to Notre Dame. And bringing in a Boston College would allow ND to keep the Holy War games going. Could it be the first wave of super conferences?
Now the star that I have referenced this whole article begins to go super nova.
You can see now the PAC 12 would have to expand. Who would they pick? Would they choose based on academics like the BIG? Would they choose powerhouse teams? Could they get powerhouse teams now that the Big 12 and SEC have their bowl game? If the BIG expands to 16 teams does this mean the other three power conference expand as well? The Big 12 and SEC pulling from the ACC. 16 teams doesn’t seem to be so hard to manage. You could have two 8 team sub-divisions, playing 7 games in conference sub-division and one game across sub-divisions, within the conference. That leaves each team with 4 games to schedule who they want; or you could have 4 sub-divisions made of four teams. Three games in a sub-division, four games across the other three sub-divisions, and four games outside of the super conference. Leaving game 12 for four teams in the super conference. Two sub-division conference championship games. The champ of division 1 vs the champ of division 2. Also the champ of division 3 vs the champ of division 4, and finally a conference championship between the two remaining teams.
There are numerous ways to slice up this celestial pie. My question is does this star go super nova? Do the conference still expand and yet somehow stabilize? You can bet it is coming. The creation of a new universe where the remaining conferences orbit the four big power conferences like small moons, or in some conferences cases maybe a barely functioning satellite.