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Conference Realignment: Even With Mass Big 12 Defections, ACC Will Live On

Everyone that wants to bolt for the Big 12, raise your hand. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Everyone that wants to bolt for the Big 12, raise your hand. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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With Florida State officials going Defcon Hissyfit this week, there have been no shortage of internet rumors about the next conference realignment domino to fall. Some combination of Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland and/or Miami, along with Florida State, to the Big 12, Virginia Tech and N.C. State to the SEC. One hundred different ways to say the same thing: that Florida State jumping ship will be the catalyst that tears apart a nearly 60-year old league, leaving a school like Boston College "penniless" and "right back in the Big East."

While I acknowledge that the ACC is a better football conference with Florida State (and/or Clemson and Georgia Tech ... Maryland, meh) in it, this league is going to live on with or without one or more programs that rely on Florida State BOT Chair Andy Haggard's crib notes on the next ACC-ESPN TV deal.

Regardless of how much more money the Big 12 makes with its next TV deal, at its core the Atlantic Coast Conference has a very stable nucleus of Duke, North Carolina and Virginia. Those three schools -- three of the ACC's eight founding members -- aren't going anywhere. Additionally, it took considerable political maneuvering, time and effort to get Virginia and Virginia Tech together back in 2003, so you can add the Hokies to that core group of programs. Wake Forest is Wake Forest, and tied to both Duke and Carolina, so the Deacons probably aren't going anywhere either.

Which brings us to Boston College ...

While the school followed Miami into the ACC, if push came to shove, BC is sticking with that very same core group of ACC programs if for no other reason than lack of alternatives. That's not to say that BC doesn't fit academically, athletically and culturally with the rest of the conference. Rather to say we are now inextricably linked to Tobacco Road (and Virginia) for those very reasons. And admittedly, also for lack of other options, until Jim Delany sheds his conservative nature and goes all uber-conference on the rest of college athletics.

Then there's Syracuse and Pittsburgh who are all like, "whatever bro" and just happy to be joining the conference in 2013, or 2014. Whatever, bro.

That's a core of eight programs -- BC, Duke, North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest -- who in all likelihood will ride out the next supposed wave of conference realignment. The athletics, academics and yes, even the financials all make this 60-year old conference -- a conference that has only grown over the years and lost all of one member -- a stable and desirable one for a majority of programs.

We may be headed for a split, but really, I don't care. As BC fans I think we can appreciate being given an opportunity to better your lot in life, even if it only means more money at the expense of other factors academic, cultural and geographic. So if it makes sense for Florida State, go for it, even if it'll take years to figure out if you are happy or not.

For BC, I'd rather see the school's athletics programs compete for conference titles against Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Wake Forest, you know, us "freeloaders," anyway. Oh, and the money will be nice too. $20 x 4 ... so $80 mil split 8-10 ways, right?