In the past two weeks I have touched on the potential expansion of college football in general and the Big 12 in particular. Two weeks ago it was suggested here that Florida State and the Big 12 could have a mutual interest in each other. The comments here were based strictly on rumors from internet blogs and Twitter. Granted, anyone can Tweet and anyone can have a blog, so obviously there is great potential for bad info out there, still where there is smoke, there is usually fire, and there is enough smoke to speculate a bit here. Especially if some of the more reliable “rumor mongers” are being used.
A few days following the FSU to the Big 12 speculation in this space, the SEC and Big 12 announced the formation of a New Year’s Day bowl game featuring the top two teams from each conference. It’s been close to two weeks since the announcement and experts are still at odds over just what this game signals.
Some points to ponder. This SEC-Big 12 alliance, combined with the Big 10-Pac 12 Rose Bowl alliance that has been in place forever, clearly establishes those four conferences as the major players in college football. The clear loser here is ACC football. These alliances clearly have the ACC on the outside looking in as it appears the four power conferences are poised to force the ACC to the curb.
Perhaps there is a magic trick out there that the ACC can use to stay relevant, but the early indications are that ACC schools like FSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Miami will be much more open to overtures from other suitors than they were prior to the announcement. As the layers of this story peel away in the coming weeks, don’t be surprised to find out that all the early rumors were indeed with some basis.
Things certainly look like there is going to be a playoff and the BCS, as we’ve known it, will no longer exist. Where there used to be six automatic BCS bids, the look of the bowl structure in three years will likely look drastically different. It will have to since the SEC-Big 12 bowl will be it’s own entity, not BCS affiliated and at a venue that will go to the highest bidder. In reality, SEC-Big 12 bowl will probably feature the second place teams from each conference since it is likely the top two teams from those conferences will probably be in the four team playoff most seasons.
Any way you slice it, this bowl game wouldn’t have been concocted if those in power didn’t feel strongly that the four-team playoff is coming and the BCS is going away, at least the BCS as we know it now. Schools and conference commissioners are not confirming any communication between each other, because they can’t, as certain protocols need to be observed.
Of course I did hear one conference commissioner make a comment over the weekend. That would be the favorite of Mountaineers’ fans, the ACC’s John Sawfford. Swafford was addressing the possible defections of some key football schools from the ACC when he said something to the effect that ‘everyone needs to slow down and work together.’
This is funny, coming from a guy that led two clandestine raids on the Big East in an obvious effort to kill the conference and quite possibly had WVU as his main target to kill. Not hard to draw that conclusion since WVU has been trying to gain ACC membership all along, including as many as three times last fall.
Whatever happens now, it’s nice to be a WVU fan not having to sweat out this round of realignment. This may or may not be SEC commissioner Mike Slive’s attempt to destroy ACC football, but if that his agenda, he has a leg up.