The landscape is shifting relatively quickly in college sports and other conferences have started to work together to create stability for their own programs during this realignment period.
Imagine these teams competiting in an ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 super-conference:
Clemson, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, USC, Oregon.
This super-conference would definitely give the SEC a run for its money. The 40 schools from each conference could be divided, 20 each in a first and second division – similar to The English Premier League or Serie A in European soccer.
The commissioners of the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 met last week to pledge collaboration and commit to their league members playing more football and basketball games against each other.
The new ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 alliance includes schools in 25 US States. pic.twitter.com/k1XIu7C3sR
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) August 24, 2021
They also suggested they would not be poaching top athletes at each other’s schools.
The beginning of this alliance was likely a response to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas leaving the Big 12 Conference for the SEC by July 1st of 2025.
The decision will grow the SEC to 16 schools and ultimately position them to negotiate a larger television deal than the 10-year, $3 billion agreement already in-place with ESPN.
It is a time of uncertainty in college sports with all the recent changes, especially pertaining to the “higher-ups”. Furthermore, the NCAA oligarchy is losing power over the college athlete with the latest NIL law, which in return, is facilitating more unity between top college programs.
The alliance seems largely to be a philosophical gentleman’s agreement, but the three conferences — as of now — will agree to remain in their curent conferences and form a voting bloc pertaining to the College Football Playoff expansion and scheduling component in football and men’s and women’s basketball.
With brand-name schools like Clemson of the ACC, Ohio State of the Big Ten, and Oregon of the Pac-12 leading their respective conferences in popularity, the group will likely look into more detailed strategies on their football and basketball scheduling as a whole, which in return, could affect the television rights deals for future college athletes.
For example; an ACC school like Florida State could play Pac-12 Oregon on future football schedules, or possibility Big Ten Wisconsin in basketball. Right now we are just guessing and the changes would be based on other potential scheduling conflicts.
The first test of the new alliance will come in late September, when the football playoff’s “higher-ups” are scheduled to consider a plan to expand the tournament’s size.
The revenue stream would be amazing, and fans would love it, but for now we can only imagine. This story will be one to follow but for now – SEC remains king in college sports.