clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Conference Realignment Hypothetical: ACC Doomsday Scenario

Getty Images

Brian: Jason Kirk over at took a look at the best and worst case scenarios for each conference as the conference realignment train keeps chugging along at full speed. The ACC's best case scenario includes adding Notre Dame and Rutgers while not losing anyone to go to 16 teams.

The worst case scenario isn't actually specified. Kirk simply leaves a note that says "Just a bunch of, like, Sun Belt teams and FCS call-ups. I mean, I don't think it will get that bad, but the ACC's problem is that it has a bunch of programs that look very enticing to other leagues without being elite enough to tie themselves into a union built to last for good."

But let's say that the ACC does lose Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech to the Big 12, while Notre Dame parks its non-revenue sports in the Big 12 before joining as an all-sports member starting in 2016. The SEC next poaches Virginia Tech and N.C. State.

That leaves Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest left to divide up the $120 million dollars in exit fees they'll collect from our former conference mates.

So what does the ACC do? Add a single team to get back to 10? Add three to get back to 12, two divisions and a really 'meh' football Championship Game played in North Carolina until the end of time? Your thoughts?

Jeff: With the situation exactly how you spelled it out, you add three more teams and keep the conference championship game. You can still easily pull from the Big East if you have those nine teams as the base of the conference and you increase the exit fee to three times what it is now to make new members think that the conference will be stable going forward.

The problem is though, that several members, including Boston College, will take some phone calls from the B1G to see if there is any interest there first. If the ACC has any fewer than nine teams left when this is all finished, the ACC essentially becomes the old Big East. Not the worst thing ever, but it is not what BC had planned for when originally joining the conference.

I would not be at all surprised if things get smoothed over and Florida State and the rest all stay in the ACC. But let's say we lose more than two members. I am certain that we will keep a conference championship game and the conference will likely pick up more northern teams.

There's South Florida who might be interested, but then you come north to the old Big East members of Rutgers and UConn as the likely first teams to get an invite to the ACC. The second tier of likely invitees would be Louisville, Navy, Central Florida and Cincinnati. Either way the ACC is looking at adding three of the Big East's stronger members to get back to 12 programs.

The conference would still have a conference championship game and would be clearly the fifth strongest conference in the land. It would be several rungs of the ladder below the PAC 12, Big 12, Big Ten and SEC but also several rungs above the Big East and everyone else. Right now the conference sits in the exact same position but has slight hope of someday moving up to the big boys level by adding Notre Dame. Once this all plays out however, Notre Dame will be in a conference -- most likely the Big Ten -- and that possibility no longer exists. The ACC will be stuck in fifth place for a long, long time.

Brian: So you're taking South Florida to replace Florida State and Rutgers and UConn? I'd imagine the conference would then either realign into North-South or backfill Rutgers, UConn and USF into the existing Atlantic and Coastal Divisions.

North: Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse
South: Duke, Miami, North Carolina, South Florida, Virginia, Wake Forest

Atlantic: Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, South Florida, Syracuse, Wake Forest
Coastal: Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia

Twelve and a conference championship would be OK, but I'd also push for expansion back to 10 teams. Why not just go the full hog and commit to being the best academic, basketball and Olympic Sports conference in the country? As such, I would also consider adding -- I can't believe I'm saying this -- UConn to get back to 10 teams. This would allow programs to play a full round-robin in basketball (18 games) and play every other program in football (9 games).

Louisville would also be a decent add (academic limitations notwithstanding) as would Notre Dame, but if the Irish haven't joined a conference now, I doubt they'd join forces with a conference that just lost three historically strong college football programs.