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Syracuse Rivals: Is Rutgers An ACC Lock, While UConn Will Be Left Out?

One new report says the Huskies are getting push back within the ACC.

The Big East/ACC realignment plate tectonics have not shifted in over a week, which qualifies as a dark period in these days of hyper-speed college shakeup. But as we know, there’s still plenty of Earth moving to go. While the Pac-12, Big 10 and ACC seem to be holding still, there is one enormous lurking domino to fall soon.

Read All The Fizz Realignment Coverage

Texas A&M will head to the SEC, meaning the conference will now have 13 members – an obviously temporary situation. The SEC will find a 14th partner to dance and surely has already had under-the-table discussions on which school(s) that would be. Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and about a million other schools have been mentioned as the potential 14th. And it’s the echo of that next move which will affect the Big East and ACC.

In a fascinating piece done by International Business Times, the future of Notre Dame, UConn and Rutgers is still very much in limbo and all potentially tied to the ACC.

“The Baltimore Sun reported on Sunday that while Maryland and Duke are privately pushing for 16 teams (in the ACC), some schools are resistant to add more schools – particularly Connecticut.”

It seems odd that the Blue Devils and Terps would push for more members. That means handing out more slices of the cake. But maybe there’s a benefit for two basketball-driven schools (like much of the ACC) to expand the football brand as much as possible. The resistance to UConn joining is also fascinating. More to come on that.

“The top target for ACC going forward appears to be Notre Dame, but whether the Indiana school is willing to give up its football independent status to join the conference remains to be seen.”

“It’s clear that Notre Dame and Texas are the two top options – and the ACC is going to wait to see what those two teams end up doing.”

If the the Irish ever did give up its independence, it’s hard to imagine it would not land in the Big 10. Notre Dame’s schedule is already filled with Big 10 schools and is a natural geographic fit for the conference which has been courting it for years. Texas would also seem unlikely for the ACC. The Pac-12 wouldn’t bite on allowing UT to keep the Longhorn Network, meaning that any conference that did would look like a pushover. Thus, would the ‘Horns leave the Big 12 if they couldn’t keep that personal TV money?

“The conference might move to grab Rutgers, especially if it hears word of the Big 10 making a move at the New Jersey school, but UConn might be a different story.

“While the school does help the conference dominate even more of the Eastern seaboard, it doesn’t bring the television markets that Rutgers does. Multiple Big East programs could make arguments for owning the New York television market, including Connecticut, Rutgers, and Syracuse, but Rutgers’ closer proximity to the No. 1 television market gives it a bit of an advantage. Connecticut might come along for the ride simply because no better option is out there.”

While we in Orange Nation enjoy dismissing Rutgers as the ugly, unwashed stepbrother to the south, the Knights are actually an attractive program in expansion. RU football does register (albeit just barely) in the New York media market. It’s the only BCS program in one of the most fertile football recruiting states. It’s academic reputation is solid. It’s a large, public school with deep pockets, which has poured money into its program at a football-first university.

Rutgers has been tied to the Big 10 rumors, and if we do find ourselves in a foot race to 16 school super conferences, the Big 10 would need to find four additions. RU could easily be one of those schools. If not, Rutgers will likely land in one of the new, larger conferences. UConn is in a much shakier situation. The ACC is really its only hope, since the Big 10 is not adding a football program younger than Joe Paterno’s Segway.

There is also supposed push back within the ACC on the Huskies coming from Boston College, which wants to protect its New England footprint. The conference may also be reticent on adding a basketball program mired in NCAA violations considering the Fairy Godmothers, Coach K and Roy “Aw Shucks” Williams, hold themselves on a moral high ground. The ACC is going to have to deal with Miami’s ugly scandal soon. How unattractive does a UConn program on basketball probation without Jim Calhoun look for a potential suitor?

The Fizz bet? Notre Dame eventually goes to the Big 10. Texas tries to hold the Big 12 together for as long as possible to keep its Longhorn Network money. Rutgers to the ACC. And UConn is left sweating through some long, uncomfortable nights.

Posted: D.A.

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