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Will Latest Conference Reshuffling Make It Tougher For ACC?

Brian: We’ve documented how the ACC won and won big in the latest round of expansion. It appears the ACC will retain its current 12 school membership and made out nicely with their newest television contract. But Dave George of the Palm Beach Post writes that it might not be all good for the ACC as a result of the latest expansion:

"Why shouldn't we just pencil in Texas, and sometimes Oklahoma, as one of the two teams in the BCS national title game for many seasons to come?

Already one or the other of them has appeared in five of the past seven BCS championship games. Now it gets even easier for the winners of the new Big 12 Lite.

The Longhorns and Sooners no longer have to worry about Nebraska, which is gone to the Big Ten by 2011. Also, by reorganizing as a 10-team league, the Big 12 avoids the potential stumbling block of a conference championship game at the end of a perfect regular season. The conclusion - and it's not that much of a stretch - is that all this addition by subtraction in Texas' backyard leaves the rest of America scrambling for one spot, not two, in each year's final No. 1-vs.-No. 2 BCS formula."

For a conference that hasn’t placed a program in the BCS National Championship Game in 8 seasons (Miami while in the Big East), it appears that this latest conference reshuffling will make it harder for an ACC team to get to the big game. Do you buy that a smaller Big 12 will get Texas or Oklahoma to the title game more often? And if you do, given all that the ACC gained (or retained) in the latest conference reshuffle, does this fact outweigh the benefits of keeping the conference with the same 12 members? Your thoughts?

Jeff: This is a valid point, but did the Big 12 get all that much weaker? The Big 12 South certainly did not as they did not lose anyone and I don't think the loss of Colorado really effects the landscape of the league much. Nebraska is the lone newly departed football power. However, during that stretch Texas or Oklahoma has made the title game five of the last seven seasons, Nebraska has not been much of a factor in the Big 12 aside from their near monumental upset of Texas last season.

If you want to take this negative outlook on college football, we could say that the National Championship will be Texas/Oklahoma vs. the winner of the SEC for years and years to come until USC gets back. If one of those teams has two or more losses Ohio State will be ready with their 11-1 record to step in. We know that it won't play out this way even though there are a few programs in college football right now that are way ahead of the curve.

The ACC was ahead of the curve in conference realignment when they added the Big East teams to get to 12 several years ago. The Big Ten and Pac 10 are now catching up and it is very good for the league that no members left during this off-season.

Brian: I agree this is a valid point, but I don't think this effect will be that pronounced for two reasons.

In the last 7 seasons since a current ACC team has played in the title game, there have been 5 SEC teams, 5 Big 12 teams, 2 Pac-10 teams and 2 Big Ten teams in the game. For one thing, 10 of the 14 teams had to win a conference championship to earn a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. So while it may seem like the road to the BCSNCG for Texas and Oklahoma just got easier, in reality only 4 of 14 participants came from conferences without a championship game (the Pac-10 and the Big Ten).

The other thing is that you can't look at just the Big 12 in isolation. While the Big 12 loses a conference championship game, both the Pac-10 and Big Ten will add championship games. This levels the playing field with the SEC and ACC and likely adds another Top 25 win to the resume of the SEC and ACC Champions. It's entirely conceivable that a one-loss Pac-10, Big Ten or ACC program gets into the game over a one-loss Texas or Oklahoma team based on the strength of their win in a conference championship game. So in a way, I think this has the potential of negatively impacting Oklahoma or Texas.

What do you think? With the Big 12 dropping their championship game and the Big Ten and Pac-10 adding championship games, will this help or hurt the ACC's chances of landing a team in the BCS National Championship Game?