Those damn winds of change. On the heels of Rutgers and Maryland bolting conferences for the riches of the Big 10, now the college football universe is a twitter with more moves: Boston College, Georgia Tech and/or Virginia to the B1G. Like Kevin Bacon in Animal House, Syracuse fans are screaming, “Remain calm! All is well!” as chaos breaks out around us.
At 14 schools, obviously the Big 10 couldn’t poach three new schools. The conference would have to choose just two of the above group. But if Jim Delaney does toss an offer at any of these programs, they’re likely going to jump. And if that happens, then what becomes of the ACC? Does is start breaking apart like Pangea before SU even calls it home?
The $50 million exit fee was supposed to render the ACC immovable. How could any school justify paying that much money to hop leagues? But once Maryland decided to push forward anyway (based on Big 10 Network projected revenue), all bets were off. Would the Eagles, Jackets or Cavs come to the same conclusion? Probably.
Of course, the Terps were an athletic department bleeding money. Maryland has been operating at a loss for years, so this was a life raft for desperate ship-wreckees. Would seemingly stable institutions like BC, GT and UVA have the same urgency to leave?
The dollars of the Big 10 Network are dazzling, but more importantly, no one wants to be the last one sitting at the lame prom table. College sports realignment has become an increasingly paranoid art of dumping your girlfriend before she dumps you. So if BC, GT or UVA feel the ACC is primed for more defections, they may bolt simply because they can bolt.
Maybe the ACC made its deal with the devil by allowing Notre Dame to join the conference without football. Some believe Delaney wanted to make the ACC pay by grabbing one of theirs. And that could be the domino that sets off another round of seismic changes.
But this is reaching theater of the absurd. Worse case scenario? Two more ACC schools are invited by the Big 10 (let’s say BC and GT). Florida State and Clemson figure it’s time to get out and move to the Big 12. And suddenly Syracuse is left in a shaky basketball conference just like it was in 2010.
Best case scenario? This is all just mindless conjecture and pot-stirring, and the Big 10 is going to sit tight for the time being. Boston College is a private school, with a dreadful football program, and poor football support in a pro sports town. Virginia is a state school like most of the Big 10, but they’ve already added the DC eyeballs with Maryland. What other major markets are you chasing? Richmond? Roanoke? And Georgia Tech is only the second most popular college team in Atlanta, the first being Georgia, who ain’t going anywhere.
No matter. Even if it doesn’t make much sense, we’re all freaking out anyway. Because no one wants to be left at the lame prom table. Everyone try to stay calm. All is (ahem) well.