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Louisville To The ACC, But What’s That Aftershock Mean For The SEC?

The Big Ten’s move to nab Maryland and Rutgers earlier this month set off shockwaves — again — across the world of college athletics.  The Big East ran out and grabbed Tulane and East Carolina yesterday.  One would replace Rutgers, the other would replace whichever school would be plucked from the Big East to join the ACC and take Maryland’s place.

The latest aftershock came today when the ACC officially announced that Louisville would be joining its ranks.  That’s a great move for Louisville as it leaves a financially weak conference for a tad richer one.  But what domino will fall next?

The ACC could expand further by grabbing UConn and Cincinnati (who fought hard to gain entry into the ACC this week).  Such a move would stretch the league to 16 full-time members plus Notre Dame in all sports but football.  But would adding those markets and households drive up television viewership for ACC football?  Most likely not.  Therefore, we believe it’s doubtful the ACC will grab those schools now.  (Boston College has fought in the past to keep UConn out of the ACC, for what that’s worth).

Might the Big 12 try to expand toward the East and grab Cincinnati or siphon off one or more unhappy ACC schools?  Possibly.  But the ACC filed suit this week against Maryland in an attempt to collect its full $50 million exit fee from the Terrapins.  To date, no school has had to actually pay a full exit fee and if the Terps can escape without having to pay $50 million, schools like Florida State, Clemson or others might look at the potential to make more TV money in the Big 12 and actually ditch the ACC.  It was rumored this summer that FSU and Clemson (and then Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech) all were “done deals” to join the Big 12, but obviously, those deals weren’t done.  In fact, they weren’t even deals.  But they could be someday.

So what impact does all this have on the Southeastern Conference?  Well, the ACC can now claim a piece of Bluegrass State, but that’s hardly been a boon for the Big East.  Here’s guessing Mike Slive yawned when he saw the news.  The SEC has had numerous opportunities to grab the Cardinals but the league never saw the need to do so.

The ACC is desperately trying to strengthen itself and it could afford take on a school with lesser academics — sorry U of L fans — to insure its future.  The SEC is strong enough as it is.

Unless other leagues start a brand new land grab, there’s no need for Slive to do anything right now.  Should the ACC splinter, then the league would certainly look to get into North Carolina and Virginia for TV purposes as we’ve written many times over many years.  Until then, all should remain quiet on the Southeastern front.

Some additional notes:

1.  Congratulations to East Carolina fans.  Now hopefully we’ll stop getting emails from Pirate-backers every time SEC expansion is discussed.

2.  Congratulations to schools with lesser academic reputations.  As conference makeup becomes more and more driven by the ravenous desire for added cable households, it’s clear that leagues fighting for survival can’t worry about terms like “commuter school” being kicked around in their direction anymore.  Louisville to the ACC?  Cincinnati and Boise State have to feel a bit better today about their chances of landing in a “name” league if/when more major shifts come.

3. The Sporting News Matt Hayes: If Florida State and Clemson leave to go to the Big 12, “the two crown jewels of the ACC become available. Duke and North Carolina, which an ACC source said have been chased by the SEC for ‘the last three years,‘ will choose between the Big Ten and the SEC. “



Let's do it big and lock up the Southeast. The SEC needs an NC and VA presence and because of the reasons I outline below, you need one more school.  Take FSU, UNC, NCSU, Duke, VaTech, and UVA and move up to 20.  Expansion now is about marketshare and money.  The ACC had to add Louisville to get balance in the conference vs. the academics they would have preferred to get.  From the academic perspective that the university presidents like to talk about, you can't go wrong with the six I select.


- UNC, NC State, and Duke are be a package deal.  I don't think you can pick one or two of them.  UNC and NCSU are tied together at the state governmental level.  It will be hard to split UNC and NCSU.  At least that is what NC State fans tell me when I talk to them about joining the SEC.  UNC and Duke are tied together emotionally so take all three.  UNC/Duke basketball is equal to the football rivalries of the SEC.  It would move the SEC to the top in basketball and the competition of baseball in the SEC would certainly go up.  The women's athletics at those schools (not usually talked about here) is top notch, too.


- With an odd number from NC, you need another school.  FSU seems to be more SEC-like than ACC-like anyway and they gives the SEC more eyeballs in the 4th largest state.  Florida has around 20 million people.  Sorry, Gators, but the entire state is not watching you.  Get more.


- UVA and VaTech would probably go together as well and garner the Richmond, Norfolk, and DC markets.


Sorry Clemson, you are more SEC-like than anyone other than FSU in the list.  However, you just don't bring enough value to the table since the SEC already has a presence there.  There are almost as many people in Houston as there are in all of SC.


Put them in regional pods to maintain build those rivals.  Someone smarter than me can figure out the scheduling to maintain the traditional SEC rivalries like Georgia/Auburn and Tennessee/Alabama.  Lots of options though.


SEC-Atlantic:  Virginia Virginia Tech Duke North Carolina North Carolina State

SEC-South:  South Carolina Georgia Tennessee Florida Florida State

SEC-Central:  Kentucky Missouri Vanderbilt Alabama Auburn

SEC-West:   Arkansas Ole Miss Mississippi State LSU Texas A&M


I've heard several Big Texas people today say that the BIg 12 is watching the Maryland situation to see what they will pay. They would love to get back at 12 with some combo of FSU/Miami/Clemson. Fox wants 2 of the 3 big names and is willing to put up big $$$ for that and a CCG. ESPN doesn't care, because those ACC schools are already being paid in the ACC contract from ESPN. It should be fun to watch. They also say they expect the BIG to make the next move and add UVA and Georgia Tech and get to 16.


What do you think of the Sporting News piece claiming that the SEC has been talking to UNC/Duke (as a combo) for 3 years? Hard for me to imagine the SEC, if it wants to stop at 16, would do that and leave VA and the DC market to the B1G (UVA) and B12 (VT).



 @BamaWahoo If Tech was to split from the ACC, it would go to the SEC, not to the Big 12.  As John has stated many times, it has very much the personality of an SEC school.  It's just down the road from Knoxville (I-81) and would definitely prefer to travel to the other southern states than join jet setting West Virginia.  UVa would only go to the Big 10 if it couldn't follow Tech to the SEC.  Minus Maryland, ALL of its traditional rivals are to the south.  This is all premised on the ACC collapsing which won't be happening any time in the near future.


 @VAHogBrown VT would go SEC unless the SEC got a UNC/UVA pair (at UNC's insistence). I don't see the SEC going past 16 so I think 1 from VA and NC is most likely.

Absolutely agree that UVA is better off in the SEC, but isn't everyone? :)


IF UVA/UNC go to SEC down the road, then VT might end up in a B12 Eastern Division w/ WV, FSU, Clemson, GT, Louisville, and some of the more western members. But this is obviously total speculation.


I'd much prefer UVA in the SEC, but I expect we'll drop the ball and end up left behind somehow. Littlepage is not much of a high stakes poker player.  



 @I4Bama  @BamaWahoo I could understand that perspective, but I don't think they'll let their personal feelings get in the way of it if they truly believe that move would strengthen the conference.  Especially if the powers that be at FSU are remorseful.


 @I4Bama  @AllTideUp

 Good point. Right now, I think what is holding the ACC together is the fact that the SEC doesn't want FSU and Clemson but FSU and Clemson aren't sure that will always be the case. And so they wait believing there is a chance. There is no doubt in my mind that the B12 would take a whole swath of the ACC as an Eastern Division. But that begins w/ FSU and FSU won't do that and then watch VT and NCSt. or UVA/UNC take "their" spots in the SEC. I think it will take Slive holding FSU's hand, looking them in the eye, and saying: "It's not going to happen. We're done" before they believe it and talk seriously with the B12.


 @AllTideUp  @BamaWahoo

 They went after FSU in 1991/1992 and were spurned.  Many believe there are those in power in the SEC who will never give them another chance.


 @BamaWahoo  @I4Bama  I think it just depends on how many teams they are after.  If it's 2 then a VA school and a NC school make the most sense.  If they are going beyond that then it would seem the 2 VA schools, 2 NC schools, and then maybe also Clemson and Florida State would add the most all around value.


I think they've avoided FSU and Clemson up until this point because there was still room to grow the footprint.  If/when the footprint is no longer a concern then I'm not sure what direction they will go.


 @I4Bama  @VAHogBrown

 I don't know. I just figure that if they were willing to double up in VA/NC they'd have already taken Clemson/FSU.


 @BamaWahoo  @VAHogBrown

 You really think the SEC would stop at 16 if the possibility of NC/Duke/VT/Virginia were on the table???


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