The vast majority of media pundits and traditional journalists just can’t accept an ACC team would leave for the Big 12.
They offer a litany of reasons why any move would be a bad idea.
Yet switch “Big 12” with “SEC” and they all agree a move would be a great thing.
They just can’t believe the Big 12 is in a position to poach the best football programs from the ACC.
They tell us that neither FSU or Clemson would fit culturally in the Big 12 while ignoring the fact that Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Boston College are cultural misfits in the ACC.
They tell us that the academic reputation of the Big 12 would deter any thoughts of a move from the ACC. Yet they don’t mention that the ACC doesn’t share research money.
They talk about the U.S. News & World Report rankings, but what they don’t say is that U.S. News & World Report doesn’t use athletic affiliation as a ranking criteria.
Do they really think membership in the Big 12 would effect FSU’s academic standing as determined by U.S. News & World Report ?
You can argue about the means used by U.S. News & World Report to rank academic institutions but you can’t argue that prospective students look at the report and are impressed by a high ranking.
But you should know that conference affiliation has absolutely nothing to do with a schools academic ranking.
Would the pundits really have us believe Clemson would suffer academically by joining the Big 12?
Would Clemson’s research faculty suddenly lose the ability to write a winning proposal?
Would the funding selection committee dismiss Clemson’s request for research money because the Big 12 logo is affixed to the cover page?
The truth is that a move to the Big 12 would not affect either institution’s academic ranking or the amount of research money they receive.
The real truth is that staying in the ACC may hurt the academics at both FSU and Clemson.
If Clemson and FSU are to remain competitive and strive for a national championship they’ll need the revenue to pay to for it.
And its clear that the ACC isn’t going to give them the cash they need to compete.
So if each school remains in the ACC they’ll have to receive more and more support from the institutions.
That’s state funds intended to be spent on academics, money that should be used for faculty salaries and equipment that will be consumed by athletic departments hampered by a weak conference and poor leadership from John Swofford.
So if culture and academics are not valid arguments what is?
It’s clear the Big 12 will expand and add a championship game and when that happens the gap between ACC and Big 12 revenues will be about $5 million if not more.
Add in the additional revenue derived from selling their Tier 3 media rights and the gap only goes up.
But is money enough to force FSU, Clemson or other ACC teams out of the nest?
Money is always a good reason but to me there has to be more.
Many people I talk to believe FSU and Clemson began talks with the Big 12 to force changes on the ACC.
Changes like a new commissioner maybe?
Privately they postulate to me that FSU and Clemson may have grown tired of the conference being controlled by UNC and Duke.
Earlier this week UNC escaped sanctions from the conference by a single vote. I’m told that UNC once held a private conference meeting to vote on sanctions on Clemson when the Tigers were in similar trouble.
Obviously there’s a double-standard in the ACC. The ACC has one set of rules for UNC and Duke and another set for everybody else.
Maybe FSU and Clemson are just sick and tired of the conference being an extension of the will of two basketball schools.
What doesn’t make sense to me is how VPI, Georgia Tech, Maryland or any other school with even a passing interest in football can sit by and let the league fall apart.
And therein is the genesis of any doubts I may have.
Maybe UNC and Duke don’t care but surely those other schools do.
Why are they sitting back and watching?
Could it be that one or more of those schools have eyes on the SEC? Could it be they are powerless, for various reasons (money, politics) to curtail the stranglehold that UNC, Duke and perhaps even UVA have on the conference?
I don’t know the answer to any of those questions.
My guess is that we’re seeing a power-play of monumental proportions going on behind the scenes in the ACC and, by all accounts, UNC and Duke aren’t giving an inch.
What I can tell you is that FSU has asked the Big 12 to help with the ACC buyout and demanded a full share of Big 12 revenues from the start.
And they want Miami to join them.
Miami’s money problems are worse than FSU’s and FSU believes that travel in the new Big 12 East would not be that much of a burden with WVU, Clemson and Miami in the division.
Add Louisville or Maryland in there and travel is no longer an issue.
The Seminoles just wants to stay in their own time zone as much as possible.
The Big 12 was reluctant to discuss Miami because of the recent violations but they will do whatever FSU wants to get them into the conference.
And FSU really likes the spirit of cooperation they are getting from the Big 12.