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Boise St. has accepted an invitation from the Big West that will see all of the Broncos' non-football teams join the conference. This will allow Boise to make their previously announced move to the Big East for football, where they will join SMU.
There was concern that Boise St. may have to back out of their move to the Big East because they had not found a home for their non-football sports. After they announced their football conference change, the Mountain West announced that the Broncos would not be able to keep their remaining sports in the conference, but now that the Broncos have sorted out their non-football sports, they can join the Big East in 2013.
Part of the excitement at SMU when it was announced that they would join the Big East in 2013 was that they would get to play the Broncos regularly. Boise St. has established themselves as one of the better programs in the country and they bring a lot to the Big East, which the conference needs considering their historical weakness in football. Now they have that, and SMU has that, as the Big East continues to reshape itself in this post-realignment world.
Though expansion talks have died down for now while the new college football playoff system is implemented and the details are ironed out, they're always on the back burner.
Earlier in the summer, there were rumors essentially predicting the demise of the ACC. Florida State, Clemson, Miami, and Georgia Tech had all been linked to the Big 12, with Florida State and Clemson's interested rumored to be the heaviest.
Since then, however, those rumors have died down, and for now, died, and the ACC is alive and well. The ACC is so alive that they're rumored to be looking to add institutions as well -- and maybe even Notre Dame.
But the best fit would appear to be the ACC. It actually makes a lot of sense. I'm not alone on this. (For one, ask our very own Notre Dame blogger extraordinaire Matt Fortuna.) And while he was very quick to laugh off the question at first, Swofford himself softened his stance before he was finished. After carefully repeating that he is perfectly happy with 14 member schools, he said, "They [Notre Dame] are very committed to independence."
But then he added, "Whether that changes down the road, we'll have to wait and see
It's certainly important to emphasize the fact that Notre Dame is in love with independence, and they aren't going to be joining any conference as a full member until the Irish's contract with NBC expires.
Even after that happens, who knows -- but I wouldn't bet on the Irish giving up their independence.
For quite awhile, it looked like college conference realignment was inevitable, as rumors circulated in early May that Florida State was interested in leaving the ACC and joining the Big 12.
That would, of course, have given the Big 12 an odd number of teams, so even more rumors started flying that at least one of Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and Notre Dame would be interested in joining the Big 12.
Needless to say, many of these rumors were proven false over time. Miami and Georgia Tech are almost certainly staying put where they are, and Notre Dame is simply unlikely to surrender football independence.
The ACC's latest deal with the Orange Bowl has dropped the chances of Florida State or Clemson joining the Big 12, at least according to Frank the Tank.
When the Orange Bowl signed a new deal with the ACCthat provided the conference with all of the bowl's media revenues, that removed any doubt regarding the ACC's place in college football's power structure.
This means that the chances of Florida State, Clemson, or any other ACC schools defecting to the Big 12 or even SEC have dropped precipitously. To be sure, the new Big 12 TV contract might end up being so massive that it's too much for any of those schools to turn down, but then it becomes circular for the Big 12 schools themselves. That is, if the Big 12 TV contract is truly going to be that large, why expand at all and split up the pie further? We're at the point where there might be little incentive for either side to make any moves other than to provide all of us here with blogging fodder to discuss during the offseason. There is no longer any rational fear on the part of Florida State and Clemson that the ACC will no longer be part of the power group. By the same token, the Big 12 doesn't need Florida State or Clemson to stabilize themselves to get a larger TV contract.
As expected, the landscape changed once the college football playoff system was announced. Now with the major bowls having secured conference champions as tie-ins, and the ACC is a part of that, it looks like realignment will be on the back burner for awhile.
What was speculated last week has now become reality, as the Big East's champion will not be among the teams receiving an automatic bid into college football's new playoff system, which goes into effect for the 2014 season.
This news comes after the Orange Bowl announced a 12-year partnership with the ACC, allowing the ACC's champion automatic entry into the playoff system.
Despite the fact that the BCS bowl system is being phased out, the playoff system looks like it'll reflect something very similar. As it stands, the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions will still meet in the Rose Bowl -- something that could very well be a national semifinal game. The SEC and Big 12 champions will play in their new Champions Bowl, again, something that could be a national semifinal game.
An ACC team, if in title contention, could use the Orange Bowl as one of the semifinals as well, leading up to the national title game.
The Big East, however, is without a bowl tie-in once the college football playoffs start, which could very well drive some institutions out of the conference.
Another year, another new look in the Big 12. It's officially July, so TCU and West Virginia can be welcomed into the latest version of the Big 12. The latest version of the Big 12, despite having just ten teams, might be the toughest one yet... and that's without adding another team such as Florida State or Notre Dame (a pipe dream, but a dream at that) to the conference.
ESPN's David Ubben did a pretty good job breaking down the new-look Big 12.
The Big 12 decided that it was better off inviting great football teams, even if armies of fans wouldn't be following. In West Virginia's case, the Big 12 got both.
The result will be a brutal league in 2012 that's going to leave a whole lot of fans disappointed. Somebody's got to be. Three defending league champions will be taking the field in the Big 12 this season. Six (!) teams are coming off of 10-win seasons in 2011.
When you think about it, it is pretty crazy that the Big 12 will boast three defending conference champions in the conference next year. Obviously, the Big East and Mountain West Conference aren't as daunting as the Big 12 is, but it's still impressive nonetheless to boast three different conference champions in the same year.
The landscape of the Big 12 could change again next year, as rumors will continue to swirl about expansion over the next year, especially with the Big East looking like it's squeezed out of the new college football playoff picture.
For now, though, the Big 12 looks as strong as ever with ten teams.
A report came out last week in the Oklahoman, citing the Big 12's written interest in adding Notre Dame to the conference. Though it's a little strange to see Big 12 executives have interest in Notre Dame stated in writing, it's nothing too shocking, as there has been a not-so-secret flirtation between Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
It's equally unsurprising that Notre Dame isn't likely to leave the Big East for basketball and baseball -- or give up independence in football. According to the Chicago Tribune, Notre Dame is not currently "active in any decision making process."
Also still officially official: Notre Dame isn't contemplating its conference affiliation regardless.
Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Wednesday put a finer point on the stance he took a week ago, when the Big 12 rumors reignited: Notre Dame isn't engaged in any deliberations regarding a new home for its non-football endeavors.
"We are not in any active decision-making process," Swarbrick told the Tribune in a phone interview.
It's not in the least bit surprising, as there's little benefit to leaving the Big East for its non-football sports at the current time. As far as football is concerned, it'll be a minor miracle if the Irish ever give up independence, and it certainly wouldn't happen for a few years, when Notre Dame's contract with NBC expires.
College football's new playoff system has left the Big East potentially a mess. As we told you on Wednesday here at SB Nation Dallas, the Big East champion is no longer guaranteed a spot in one of the six major bowls, and thus, could be left out of the postseason in college football.
Obviously, this must be somewhat alarming for schools in the Big East, even if the conference is basketball heavy.
The Big 12 has already poached one Big East school in West Virginia, and one would-be Big East school in TCU. Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas and the 10 athletic directors in the conference have already stated that they're satisfied with 10 schools in the conference, but, if expansion made sense, the conference would look to expand back to 12 schools.
It turns out, unsurprisingly, that the Big 12 still covets Notre Dame, who is a Big East member for basketball and baseball. It's unlikely that the Fighting Irish would give up football independence, so having Notre Dame as a full-member of the Big 12 seems like something of a pipe dream.
There are only two institutions that make sense for the Big 12, if they're looking to grab a school from the Big East: Louisville, and the incoming Boise State. Louisville would make sense geographically, and Boise State would make a lot more geographic sense in the Big 12 rather than the Big East.
The Cardinals would bring a decent football program to the conference, and would bring an excellent basketball program. Boise State's main attraction, obviously, would be football, and there could be some sort of cutesy rivalry with fellow former Cinderella TCU.
Beyond those two schools, it doesn't seem like there's much for the Big 12 to poach from in the Big East. We'll see if realignment talks spark up over the summer, now that the playoff system is known.
Now that the college football postseason has been decided, at least for a few years, rumors will once again surface regarding conference realignment. Since May, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame have all been linked to the Big 12, but, Big 12 officials shot those rumors down at the Big 12 meetings.
Still, it appears that the Big 12 would be willing to take on another member or two -- if it meant Notre Dame joined the conference. According to the Oklahoman, interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas sent out a memo saying that Notre Dame is the only school that the conference could add that would "enhance the Big 12 value for television."
Neinas said all three agreed a 10-member conference was preferred, but they would live with expansion to 11 or 12 teams. He also said both TV partners were in support of Notre Dame becoming a partial member of the Big 12 if the Irish would play a specific number of football games at Big 12 venues.
Though it's still highly unlikely that the Irish will surrender its football independence, a move to 12 teams in the conference, with Notre Dame and potentially Florida State, would likely appease all the members of the conference -- including Texas, who, as we've mentioned here at SB Nation Dallas, is likely not to favor expansion, unless Notre Dame is involved.
College football changed forever on Tuesday, as conference commissioners and university presidents agreed to a four-team playoff system which will begin in 2014.
The playoff system will feature six bowls -- and many of them, we're already familiar with.
There will be three contract bowls -- the Champions Bowl, which is a partnership between the Big 12 and SEC, the Rose Bowl, which has a longstanding tradition between the Big Ten and Pac 12, and a bowl to be determined for the ACC, which is likely to continue its partnership with the Orange Bowl.
The three other bowls, called "access bowls," have yet to be determined, but the decision will force the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl to become bidders.
Further, the national championship game will go to the highest bidder. Hey, at least the NCAA is being honest about that it cares about in this instance -- money.
It's important to note, however, that the Big East appears to be left holding the bag.
Tuesday's decision possibly could squeeze the Big East out of the postseason, as its champion is no longer guaranteed a spot in one of the six major bowls.
Without a guaranteed spot, in the playoff picture, the Big East suddenly looks a lot less enticing to football-centric schools, such as Boise State, which is preparing to move to the Big East. It almost certainly rules out the half-baked idea that Notre Dame will become a Big East member in all sports -- not that anybody still thought that, with the Irish moving Olympic sports to the Big 12.
We'll see what rumors surface in the coming weeks regarding conference realignment, but it looks as though the playoff puts us one half-step closer to superconferences.
While SMU's ascension to the Big East Conference seemed like a giant step for the school in its quest to emulate TCU, it seems like the goalposts have been shifted in the middle of the game.
Boise State, which would be joining as a football-only member in 2013, was the centerpiece of the Big East's attempt to remain a credible player in college football. However, according to a report from CBS Sports, the Broncos are getting cold feet because of a lack of a safe landing spot for the rest of their sports teams.
The plan was for Boise State to send the rest of their sports teams to the WAC, but the last round of conference realignment has left the WAC on its deathbed. Right now, the conference has only five schools -- Idaho, New Mexico, Denver, Seattle and Boise -- committed for the 2013 season.
As a result, the Broncos have been desperately scouring the country to find a place to stash the rest of their sports, but they haven't been able to find a solution yet. Their backup plan is remaining with the Mountain West, but they only have a week left before a very important deadline: they would have to sacrifice up to $24 million (if the football team makes a BCS appearance) if they don't give the conference more than a year's notice before leaving.
If Boise stays in the MWC, it would be a devastating blow for the football credibility of the Big East and a significant setback out at the Hilltop.
According to a report from Orangebloods.com, the house organ of the Texas athletic department, Notre Dame may be leaning closer towards moving their Olympic sports out of the Big East and into the Big 12.
The school would maintain its independence in football as well as its TV contract with NBC, but it would agree to play anywhere from 3-6 football games against Big 12 competition on an annual basis.
Nevertheless, the move could have a drastic effect on the college re-alignment picture, as it would be yet another nail in the coffin that is the Big East conference and a huge upgrade to the national profile of the Big 12, particularly if college football continues moving towards a super-conference model.
At the same time, it would also open up a few interesting possibilities for Texas, as many have speculated that the Longhorn Network is an attempt at a back-run around the rest of the Big 12 for a situation like the Golden Domers would be getting from the conference.
While Clemson has long been rumored as the second school to join Florida State in the new-look Big 12, there's apparently no consensus among school officials about such a move.
In an interview with the Charleston Post and Courier, Tigers football coach Dabo Swinney came out strongly in favor of staying in the ACC:
And when addressing rumors about Clemson's interest in the Big 12, Swinney said it would be the "worst thing" Clemson could do as a program and makes "zero sense."
Swinney said the Internet rumors of Clemson's interest in moving to the Big 12 have been "frustrating" to deal with as he has had to reassure recruits that Clemson is committed to the ACC.
"I think there has been a lot of irresponsible blogging and reporting whatever you want to call it," Swinney said. "We live in this world (where) somebody hears something from the guy in the third stall down and it's like, ‘OK it's fact.' It's so far from reality it's not even funny. We're 1,000 percent committed to the ACC."
The Tigers are coming off their most successful season in a generation, winning the ACC for the first time since 1991.
But while Swinney and the football staff would seem to prefer to stay in place now that they've finally moved to the top of their conference, any decision to switch would be driven by long-term fears about the new hierarchy in college football and not how it would affect Clemson's ability to compete in the short-term.
If Florida State and Clemson leave the ACC for the Big 12, it could potentially set off major conference realignment -- something that the University of Texas might not support.
If you were expecting a resolution regarding college conference realignment in the near future, you'd better temper your expectations. Florida State president Eric Barron said that "no steps were taken" towards making a decision on if the school would leave the ACC for the Big 12.
On Friday, Barron classified it as a "briefing on the apples and oranges and all of the different factors" and was clear when saying that no substantive steps towards investigating conference realignment were taken. No power was given to Barron or the board to make a decision on the issue. Barron also maintained that there will be no fact-finding committee formed to look at the conference issue.
"We are not seeking anything, we are not expecting anything, there are no conversations that are going on," Barron said. "But as my board chair (Allan Bense) said, all boards that are responsible would take any opportunity presented and study it. OK, that's not an invitation, that's just a statement of fact."
Florida State has been linked to the Big 12 in various rumors throughout the past month. The rumors started back on May 9, when Chip Brown suggested that Florida State to the Big 12 could make sense. Ever since, there's been a storm of rumors, including the report that Florida State was looking into the travel costs that it would incur as a member of the Big 12, since the Big 12's schools are further away from Florida than the ACC's geographically.
As expected though, Florida State's president has given us the ultimate non-answer regarding conference realignment. We'll likely learn more once the new BCS playoff system is finalized.
If you've been checking here at SB Nation Dallas regularly over the past month, you'd know that Florida State and Clemson both have interest in leaving the ACC and joining the Big 12 conference. From Florida State and Clemson's perspective, it makes total sense, as they'd join a better football conference and, in time, receive larger pay days at their respective institutions.
Currently, though, it doesn't appear to make a lot of sense from the Big 12's perspective, which is always subject to change -- and it probably will change once the new BCS playoff format is unveiled later this summer.
As mentioned yesterday, the ACC should worry about losing Florida State -- and if we know anything about college athletics, the ACC will likely try to pull out every trick in the book to keep the Seminoles. Frank the Tank offered a five step plan on how the ACC can hold itself together, and as always, he makes some salient points.
Change the Football Divisional Alignment to North/South - As much as people have talked about national conferences and TV markets with respect to realignment, the only expansion among the five power conferences into a non-contiguous state was the Big 12 with West Virginia.
Here's how I would re-align the ACC:
Given that Florida State had been looking into the travel costs that they'd incur as a result of moving to the Big 12, geography, as Frank the Tank says, could very well be important to Florida State. Saving money is just as good as making money, so if the ACC can find a way to reduce Florida State's expenses, that'll certainly help keep the Seminoles in the conference.
Lobby the Faculty Members at Florida State and Clemson - There's a continuous debate as to whether academics ought to matter in terms of formulating athletic conferences. This has played out at Florida State at the highest levels, where the school's chair of the Board of Trustees took an almost anti-intellectual viewpoint of stating that "[c]onference affiliation has no impact on academics", while the university's president took the opposite view that "the faculty are adamantly opposed to joining a league that is academically weaker." My take is pretty simple: conferences would rather have better academic schools than not, while schools would rather have a better academic conference than not.
The ACC has some pretty excellent academic institutions in it, and as Frank the Tank says in his post, the ACC, like the Big 10 and Pac-12, have made efforts to target schools that are highly rated academic institutions. It's unknown how much power the faculty would actually have, or how many professors would really object to a change in conferences, but it's an interesting idea.
Frank the Tank's other suggestions are quite straightforward as well -- change the schedule for both Florida State and Clemson so that they don't play tough conference opponents in advance of rivalry games with SEC opponents.
Another suggestion offered by Frank is that the Orange Bowl should have a tie-in with Notre Dame as the opponent. Notre Dame seems like the ultimate wild card in all conference realignment talks, as we know they're coveted by the Big 12. With the SEC and Big 12 champions now off the table, and the Pac-12 and Big 10 champions in the Rose Bowl, Notre Dame suddenly becomes the biggest at-large team available. It'd be slightly degrading to the conference to face the No. 2 school from either the Big 12, SEC, Pac-12 or Big 10, so having Notre Dame, if eligible, be locked in to the Orange Bowl might not be the worst idea.
Lastly, Frank suggests that the ACC pushes ESPN to keep the full value of the television contract, even in the event of defections.
We'll see if the ACC takes any of these steps, or other steps, in the coming weeks to try to keep the conference together as is.
As John Stathas wrote earlier on Monday here at SB Nation Dallas, college sports is all about money. And according to Jim Lamar of USA Today, the ACC should be very worried about Florida State headed to the Big 12.
Why? Quite simply, the Big 12 has money -- or at least, much more money than the ACC has.
Start first with the obvious: The Big 12 has money right now that the ACC doesn't.
Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis announced last Friday that the Big 12 agreed to distribute $19 million to eight of its members to close out the 2011-12 fiscal year. Departing members Missouri and Texas A&M did not receive payouts; neither did incoming members TCU and West Virginia.
That's $4.9 million that Florida State's athletics department - heck, Florida State's entire campus - sorely needs right now.
For the duration of the Big 12 meetings, interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, along with the conference's athletic directors, downplayed the idea of expansion this year, saying that the conference members are committed to its 10 teams.
If the current schools do believe that they'd be best off expanding, then it looks like they'll have at least two schools, both from the ACC, chomping at the bit to join the Big 12, as the Clemson Board of Trustees said they would be open to offers from other conferences, and Florida State looking like they'd go after the biggest pay day.
As we've said over and over here at SB Nation Dallas, we'll know much more after the college football playoff system becomes more clear at the end of June. Until then, we're likely going to be subject to lots of speculation.
With the conference likely looking to add two more schools to get back to twelve, a breakdown of the criteria the Big 12 will use to evaluate possible additions.
At times, it seems like conference realignment in the NCAA is similar to a soap opera. This is one of those times.
Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis says that he is "flattered" that Florida State has interest in joining the Big 12. Hargis, though, isn't jumping out of his shoes to welcome the Seminoles to the Big 12.
"As a Big 12 member, I'm flattered that a school the quality of Florida State is interested," Hargis said. "I think it's another indicator of where this conference is.
"But in terms of any school, including that school, there are no discussions going on between the conference and any school about expansion."
Texas' athletic director DeLoss Dodds echoed Hargis' sentiment.
"Florida State's got a great program, got a great tradition," Dodds said. "They're good members of the ACC. There's been no conversation between us and them or them and us. That's a great institution."
Again, this is consistent with every other quote or soundbyte from those involved in the Big 12 conference meetings. Acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, after the first day of meetings in Kansas City, said that the conference members were committed to its 10 teams, and are not looking to expand.
Things can change quickly, though, and they usually do. We'll know more at the end of June when the BCS playoff system is finalized -- or at the least, becomes more clear.
Another day, another report of the Big 12 embracing the current 10 institution membership it currently boasts. As the Big 12 meetings continue in Kansas City, more reports surface that the conference is content with its current membership, giving the impression that the athletic directors oppose expanding the conference.
Big 12 officials seem to have embraced the 10-school model. Then again, other conferences said they were happy at 12, then added teams.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 31, 2012
Well, this is exactly in line with what acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said on Wednesday following the first day of the meetings.
However, DeLoss Dodds, Texas' athletic director, once again spoke openly about Notre Dame.
DeLoss Dodds says Notre Dame has smart people looking at Big East and BCS changes. Said Irish would be "interesting conversation."— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 31, 2012
This is consistent with what Neinas said on Wednesday -- that they'd "accept" Notre Dame's phone call, should they come calling.
Notre Dame, however, is unlikely to ever give up its independence in football. The Irish's television contract with NBC makes any type of transition to a conference in terms of football, and the Irish's alumni have always been reluctant to ever give up their football independence.
That said, if the Big East continues to falter, the Irish could be looking for a new conference to call home for all other sports. The Big East is currently still alive, so nothing should be imminent regarding the Irish leaving the Big East.
Still, it appears that the Big 12 is willing to expand...for the right schools. Texas, who may be against Big 12 expansion, would happily court and allow Notre Dame to join the conference.
Conference realignment will likely be on pause until the playoff system is ultimately determined later in June.
Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas did his best to quell any rumors regarding Big 12 expansion following the first day of the Big 12 meetings on Wednesday. Neinas came out and told the media that the Big 12 athletic directors are content with the conference's current 10 members.
That's all well and good, but what would you expect the acting commissioner, who has mused that bigger does not equal better, to say?
The fact of the matter is that the Big 12 will look to expand, if and only if it makes sense for the current 10 schools financially. If each school will receive increased revenue as a consequence of expansion, it will eventually occur -- and it will occur sooner rather than later.
The University of Texas' presence in the conference does complicate things, however. As we pointed out here at SB Nation Dallas and Burnt Orange Nation yesterday, there are plenty of reasons why Texas might be against expanding the conference beyond its current 10 teams. Among other reasons, expansion could have a domino effect on the college conference landscape.
Assume for a minute that Florida State and Clemson become members of the Big 12 for the 2013 season. The 12 teams in the conference would enable the conference to utilize a conference championship game again. Dennis Dodd over at CBS Sports connected the dots a bit regarding a Big 12 championship game, and the SEC/Big 12 bowl game:
Here's how it would work: If the Big 12 goes to a dozen teams (or 14, or 16) it would reinstall a conference championship game. That would crystallize what the Champions Bowl announcement helped formalize -- that the base of power in college football exists with the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12.
"It absolutely does that ...," Dodds said of the bowl that kicks off in 2014. "It puts us in the role of being in the top four."
In that scenario, the Big Four all would have conference title games. That means eight division winners playing off for four conference titles in leagues that have won national championships in 16 of the last 18 seasons. Given that history, each of those division winners, playing the top schedules in the country, could conceivably be in the running for the national championship.
In effect, this will create a super-conference scenario, even if the Big 12 expands just to 12 teams. You can pretty much bank on other schools in the ACC and Big East trying to get into one of the super-conferences, in effect creating four, 16 member conferences before long.
As Peter Bean at Burnt Orange Nation put it yesterday, the Longhorns aren't trying to build the biggest, baddest, super-conference around. If Texas wanted to start a super-conference movement, they would have left the Big 12 for dead last year and joined the PAC-12.
Of course, if the money is right, I'm sure the Longhorns would be game for anything.
It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds later this summer, and if the Big 12 continues to flirt behind closed doors with Florida State, Clemson and other schools.
Be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas for all the latest on Big 12 expansion.
Rumors over the past month have been swirling about possible conference realignment, which all started when Chip Brown mused that Florida State to the Big 12 could make sense. Ever since, we've seen a whirlwind of rumors regarding Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson and even Notre Dame and potential interest between those schools and the Big 12.
Today, Chuck Neinas, acting Big 12 commissioner, did his best to quell those rumors following the first day of the Big 12 meetings.
Neinas "The #Big12 Athletic Directors reaffirmed their commitment to 10 members."— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) May 30, 2012
Earlier today, Peter Bean over at Burnt Orange Nation spoke about how expansion might not make sense for the Longhorns. Apparently, at through day one of the meetings, and at least publicly, the athletic directors in the Big 12 are against expanding the conference beyond its 10 current members. This could be for a slew of reasons, but almost certainly, it's driven by money in some capacity.
Things could very well change over the course of the summer, as incoming commissioner Bob Bowlsby is on record saying he will be vigilant when it comes to expansion, but as of now, it looks like the Big 12 is happy with 10.
For more on Big 12 expansion, be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas throughout the summer.
Though it's highly unlikely we'll see any Big 12 institution elaborate on potential expansion this week publicly, you can certainly bank on the fact that the current Big 12 members are talking about expansion behind closed doors. On Wednesday, the Big 12 will begin its annual meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.
Expansion, though, doesn't appear to be the primary concern at these meetings -- not yet, at least. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star believes that playoff football, and not expansion, will be the hot topic at the meetings.
Narrowing the focus of college football's postseason future will be a priority as annual meetings begin this week in the Big 12, which meets in Kansas City, and Southeastern Conference in Destin, Fla.
For the Big 12, it may be more of an elimination process.
"I speak for the athletic directors, which are leaning more toward a four-team option," Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said. "My thought going in is to have our schools rank their preferences and indicate options they wouldn't accept."
There are other topics that will certainly be discussed throughout the meetings, such as television and contracts. Any conversation regarding money will likely be extrapolated into hypothetical situations tying into the idea of expansion. Revenue sharing would need to be modified slightly should the league add any of Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame or Georgia Tech.
Expansion would have to make financial sense for each current institution before any invitation is extended to an ACC school. Likewise, the invitation would have to make financial sense for the institution being asked to join the Big 12. As we've already touched on,Florida State is already looking into the costs of joining the Big 12. Undoubtedly, this will be addressed at the meetings, but I'd expect those involved to be mum when asked about it publicly.
Be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas daily for the latest Big 12 expansion news.
Rumors regarding conference realignment continue to swirl across the college landscape, mainly focusing on the Big 12 poaching teams away from the ACC. The craziness started in early May, when Chip Brown mused that Florida State to the Big 12 could make sense. Ever since, the Big 12 announced that they will hold an annual bowl game with the Big 12's champion and SEC's champion in two years, which has fueled even more rumors regarding conference realignment. Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Notre Dame have all be linked to the Big 12 in addition to Florida State.
Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, who deserves much credit for holding the Big 12 together, does not believe bigger equals better for the conference, in terms of expansion.
"People have to understand that bigger is not necessarily better," Neinas told the Dallas Morning News. "What we are trying to do, in view of what has transpired in the past, is to build unity. We have two new members. Let the membership be comfortable with each other before they ever consider going forward."
Neinas is 100% correct, and there is no need to move toward a superconference unless need be, and really, there is no need for the Big 12 to move to 14 or 16 teams yet. It does make sense, however, for the Big 12 to add two teams.
We'll see if incoming commissioner Bob Bowlsby shares the same mindset as Neinas in coming weeks.
Be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas daily for the latest on Big 12 expansion.
Add the Miami Hurricanes to the list of teams that have been linked to joining the Big 12. The Hurricanes are linked to the Big 12 due to the Florida St. Seminoles possibly being a candidate, and adding two Florida schools would make sense so that they could be travel partners.
So, there is a slight jab at the academics of the Big 12, but the actual reason that Miami saying they have no interest in the Big 12 comes down to money. It could cost Miami more than $15 million in exit fees if they are to leave the ACC and move to a new league.
Florida State has been at the forefront of Big 12 expansion rumors, and that's once again the case on Saturday. According to the always reliable OrangeBloods.com, Florida State has been looking into the expenses that it would incur as a consequence of leaving the ACC for the Big 12, notably, travel expenses.
An inevitable spike in travel costs for Florida State's athletic program have been at the forefront of the the debate about FSU's viability in the Big 12. A college athletics consulting firm suggests that FSU's travel budget could increase up to 40 percent if it realigned, but that the expense would not outweigh the potential profitability of a move to the Big 12.
Russell Wright, Managing Director of Collegiate Consulting, Inc., estimates that Florida State would see its travel budget increase as much as 40 percent with the move from the ACC to the Big 12. According to Florida State's projected athletic budget for the current 2011-12 academic year, Florida State is slated to spend $4.36 million on team travel for its 18 varsity sports. A 40 percent increase on that would amount to about a $1.74 million bump in travel costs.
As D.C. Reeves states in the first paragraph, the additional expenses would not outweigh the profitability of a move to the Big 12.
It should come to no surprise to anybody at all following conference realignment stories that it is all about money at the end of the day. The folks at Florida State are certainly doing their due diligence in looking at the potential extra costs they would incur by moving to the Big 12. At the end of the day, however, the move would still be profitable. If another team from the eastern part of the United States joined Florida State, such as Clemson, Miami, or Georgia Tech, that could help mitigate some travel costs as well.
As always, be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas all summer long for the latest news regarding Big 12 expansion.
Around a year ago, it looked like the Big 12 was going to bite the bullet, as the conference was coping with the losses of Nebraska and Colorado, and the future losses of Texas A&M and Missouri. Further, rumors of Texas bolting to the PAC-12 along with Oklahoma were running rampant, a move that would have certainly destroyed the conference.
Now, the Big 12 is alive after poaching TCU and West Virginia away from the Big East. The Big 12 is also potentially better than ever, as rumors are flying that the conference is looking to add two or four schools, with Florida St., Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami and Notre Dame being among the rumored institutions that could be added to the conference.
Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News believes that Chuck Neinas, the interim commissioner of the Big 12, deserves much of the credit. So much so, in fact, that Gosselin suggests that Neinas is the sports executive of the year, as he helped save the conference.
Neinas has certainly laid the foundation for incoming commissioner Bob Bowlsby to succeed. The Big 12 is alive and well, and the Big 12 is also in prime position to seep into the southeastern United States -- thanks to Neinas. If the Big 12 does add two or four schools this summer, Bowlsby will undoubtedly receive credit.
But like Gosselin points out, let's not forget that it was Neinas who helped save the Big 12, and put it in this position to succeed.
For the latest on the Big 12 and potential expansion, be sure to check back here at SB Nation Dallas all summer long.
The UT-Arlington Mavericks decided the Western Athletic Conference wasn't where they wanted to land after all. UTA will play in the Sun Belt Conference starting July 2013.
The Mavericks were originally supposed to join Texas State and UT-San Antonio in a move to the Western Athletic Conference, but as that league continued to weaken with all the musical chairs being played throughout the various conferences.
The Sun Belt Conference is essentially trading one Dallas-area college for another, since UTA joins in the conference around the same time North Texas is leaving for Conference USA along with Florida International.
Texas State and Georgia State will join UTA in the move to the Sun Belt, which is slated to have 12 members for the 2013-14 academic year, including 10 in football. UTA is one of the non-football schools.
As long as the University of Texas System Board of Regents approves, UTA is out of the Southland Conference and off to the Sun Belt come next year.
Read more about conference realignments at our StoryStream here.
If rumors are any indication, it appears that the Big 12 will probably expand at some point this summer, by two, possibly four teams. Clemson, Notre Dame, Florida St., Miami and Georgia Tech have been among the rumored schools that the Big 12 is targeting.
Earlier this week, Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds admitted that Texas is attempting to court Notre Dame to join the Big 12 conference. Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame's Athletic Director, addressed Dodds' statement at this year's Big East spring meetings:
"I think a little bit more was made out of DeLoss' comment than might be warranted. But it's represented. I talked to my peers a lot. It's not that it's conferences. It's fellow ADs. And it's the nature of the business. I have extraordinary admiration from him. [I] learned an awful lot from him talking to him over the years, so it's fairly routine. And the focus tends to be discussions with other ADs not conferences."
It's the type of comment you'd expect from Notre Dame's AD, as there's nothing to gain by fueling the rumor fire at this point.
Even if Notre Dame and the Big 12 have mutual interest, a marriage between the two will be tough. Currently, Notre Dame a member of the Big East for all sports except football, where they maintain independence. It is unknown if the Irish would join the Big 12 for all sports -- and it would be tricky if they did, as the Irish have a television contract with NBC for their football games for the next two years.
Any move involving Notre Dame would be intricate and time consuming. Needless to say, we're a long way from Notre Dame joining the Big 12.
On Thursday, the Clemson University Board of Trustees met to "clear up rumors and speculation" regarding Clemson's future in the ACC -- or another conference, such as the Big 12.
It appears that the Board of Trustees has decided that leaving the ACC is ultimately what's best of them, but they're not going to be the ones to initiate such a move.
"We've not had any contact from any league," said board chairman David Wilkins. "If we receive a viable option, a viable proposal, that is presented to us by any league, we will consider it."
Asked whether any Clemson official was working on preparing a proposal to another league, instead of one being offered, Wilkins replied, "No. I don't anticipate it."
This is only going to add fuel to the fire for the Big 12 and rumors surrounding its expansion. Clemson has been one of the four institutions, along with Florida St., Miami and Notre Dame, rumored to be targeted by the Big 12.
Now with Clemson willing to listen to offers, other dominoes could start falling into place.
Be sure to check back at SB Nation Dallas throughout the summer for the latest Big 12 expansion rumors and analysis.
Now that college re-alignment season is officially upon us, it's time for one of the annual rites: the ritual downplaying of rumors by the athletic directors of the respective schools.
Thursday, it was Georgia Tech Athletic Director Dan Rakadovich's turn, as he tried to turn squelch rumors about the school's interest in joining the Big 12:
Radakovich said there was a "large level of unanimity among athletic directors and faculty athletic reps to stay the course as the current Atlantic Coast Conference. There's a lot of things out there, but sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side." He also said that there was "absolutely no basis" to a report that Tech was in talks with the Big 12.
Radakovich also said that ACC was trying to investigate a deal similar to the one the SEC and Big 12 made, which would put their conference champions into a post-season matchup that could serve as a de-facto semifinal in a four-team playoff.
He mentioned the Big Ten and the SEC as potential partners, although both conference champions are already committed to playing the Pac 10 and the Big 12 respectively. That, more than anything else, is why the rumors of Georgia Tech's interest in the Big 12 are unlikely to die down, regardless of what school official say or do not say.
Unfortunately, you can expect a lot of stories like this one over the course of the summer.
On Wednesday, TCU's Athletic Director Chris Del Conte confirmed that the Big 12 was looking to expand, and specifically, targeting three ACC schools -- Florida State, Clemson and Miami. Thursday morning, however, Del Conte was singing a different tune.
Del Conte told the Star-Telegram he was not substantiating the rumors. The radio host interjected Miami into the group of schools rumored to be mulling a move to the Big 12. Del Conte said he was just referring to the rumors when he mentioned that Miami and others were interested in joining during the breakfast gathering, which came after the radio interview.
"If you listen to the radio interview my comments were in reference to where [the Big 12] was a year ago and now we're being talked about by all these schools," Del Conte said. "It's gratifying because a year ago we were talking about the Big 12 not being around. It's just remarkable the transformation in less than a year. That's all I was addressing."
It's not in the least bit surprising that Del Conte backed off of his remarks, which weren't even that strong to begin with. The Big 12's interest in Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame and to a lesser extent, Miami, is one of the worst kept secrets in the sports world today. Fans can continue to expect to hear the same old from Big 12 ADs and conference officials throughout the summer, as they'll continue to downplay interest in expansion -- despite ultimately eyeing it.
And so it continues.
Clemson's Board of Trustees will meet on Thursday to discuss conference expansion and realignment, as confirmed by Clemson's Board of Trustees president, David Wilkins.
Wilkins said the meeting is designed to clear up rumors and speculation surrounding Clemson's future in the ACC.
"We're getting the board together to share information," he said. "There's no specific proposal we're going to be addressing. We're going to let everyone share options for the direction forward and share what information they have."
Since Florida State Board of Trustees president Andy Haggard blasted the ACC and its new TV contract with ESPN, expansion talk has kicked into overdrive. Wilkins wants to separate truth from rumors.
Clemson has been one of the institutions rumored to be targeted by the Big 12, should the Big 12 end up expanding from its 10 teams. Notre Dame, Florida State and Miami have also been linked to the Big 12 in various reports. If the Big 12 expands, it will likely target two or four schools to give the conference an even number of teams. Should the conference expand to 14, it would likely be the next step in the super-conferences that seems inevitable.
It is also worth noting that Wilkins said that there has been no contact between Clemson and the Big 12, or any other conference besides the ACC.
Be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Dallas' StoryStream all summer long for the latest news on Big 12 expansion and college conference realignment.
SMU's new conference dodged a major bullet on Wednesday when Kelly Lyell of The Coloradoan reported that Boise State had rejected the Mountain West's last-ditch effort to keep their signature football school.
When the Mustangs committed to joining the Big East last year, they finally seemed to be on the path towards renewed relevance in college football, but that was before the latest whirlwind batch of realignment rumors, which have seemingly marginalized the conference.
Boise State was the signature addition on the football side, but the school has been getting cold feet with the Western Athletic Conference looking ready to disintegrate. Unlike SMU, the Broncos are joining as a football-only member, as they had planned to stash their non-revenue sports in the WAC.
In an effort to keep Boise State, the Mountain West had proposed an uneven revenue distribution plan that would have disproportionately rewarded them for their football success.
The Broncos' rejection of that offer keeps them committed to the Big East for the time being, but neither the conference nor any of its new schools should breathe easy just yet, as the dominoes have only begun to fall from what could be a monumental off-season of conference re-alignment.
With the ACC looking increasingly like the fifth wheel in what's becoming a four-conference super-structure, schools throughout the conference are now joining Florida State in exploring possible exit options.
According to Orangebloods' Chip Brown, the latest school to join the conference re-alignment rumor mill is Georgia Tech, who has reached out to the Big 12 in recent weeks:
One of my best sources in the Big 12 just indicated that Georgia Tech has also put out informal feelers to the Big 12 about the Big 12's potential expansion plans, and that source said Georgia Tech would be very appealing as a potential expansion target because of its strong academics.
The Yellow Jackets, a strong academic institution in the heart of one of the most college sports crazy metros in the US (Atlanta) and with strong programs in both football and basketball, would certainly be an attractive target for the newly aggressive Big 12.
The big question may be how many life boats the conference can give out and whether it's looking to get back to 12 or possibly expand out to 14 or 16. If the conference wants to stay at a dozen, Florida State would obviously get one, but there could be a vicious battle for the other.
Texas is still thinking big - really big - in terms of rebuilding "their" conference. As CBS' Brett McMurphy is reporting, the conference - through Texas A.D. DeLoss Dodds - is courting Notre Dame to join the Big 12 Conference:
"Notre Dame has options," Dodds said. "I think they love their position. I certainly think they can continue to do what they're doing and do it well and be a major player. But they have options.
"We've talked to Notre Dame about the Big 12 ... They could put some football here [by playing a few non-conference games against Big 12 opponents]."
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I don't think Newton was talking about college sports, but he might as well have been. With rumors swirling around the future of the ACC and Big 12, thanks to Florida State and the Big 12 appearing to share mutual interest, the Big East may soon have to worry about losing more schools to other conferences. Last year, the Big East lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC, as well as West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12 -- before TCU had ever participated in any Big East event.
It's now safe to wonder if SMU will be looking for a new conference home sooner rather than later.
Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated wrote about the potential challenges that the Big East faces going forward.
When the BCS was created prior to the 1998 season, there were six major conferences. Now, there are four: the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. The ACC is No. 5, and the Big East is No. 6. If the Big 12 chooses to expand and a school climbs uphill from the ACC, the resulting shuffle will harm the Big East. With the exception of non-football member Notre Dame, everyone in the Big East is at the mercy of some other league. That makes it quite difficult to plan for the future.
"All we can do is take what we have," South Florida football coach Skip Holtz said. "We don't have the luxury to project five years down the road and make our decisions predicated on that. We're making our decisions on where we are today."
Staples notes the geographical absurdity of the Big East, which does nothing but promote uncertainty. After expanding last year, the Big East is now slated to have San Diego State, Boise State, SMU, and Connecticut share a conference. That's not exactly laying the foundations of a secure collegiate conference.
Still, all the Big East, and SMU, can do is wait. Wait until Florida State and the Big 12 either make it official in time, or break off their flirtation later in the summer. Suffice to say, if the Seminoles bolt, another major shift in college conferences is coming -- and the clock might finally strike midnight on the Big East as we know it as a consequence.
This has escalated quickly.
After rumors last week appeared that the Big 12 and Florida State might have mutual interest in each other, more speculation came to light about the Big 12 continuing the super-conference movement set forth by the Pac-12 and SEC last year. In addition to Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame have been closely linked to the Big 12 in recent days.
The ever-reliable Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com, though, has slowed those rumors some -- for now.
I've talked to sources across the Big 12 today who all say, "Nothing is done."
But in the next sentence, they'll say, "There's keen interest" or "more than curiosity" in looking at different expansion scenarios.
In short, anyone saying Notre Dame, Florida State or Clemson are done deals are talking to people with wishful thinking or relying on second or third-hand information from people with wishful thinking.
Brown's sources essentially echo what Bob Bowlsby, the new Big 12 commissioner, said last week: that he's going to remain vigilant when it comes to expansion, but that nothing is imminent. Still, according to Brown, there are some within the Big 12 that do not favor expansion to a super-conference.
"With this game with the SEC, we are set. We are good. Do we really need to go to 12, 14 or 16 - just to make more TV money?" the source said. "The more schools, the more you have to split up any additional money. At some point, it stops making financial sense."
Still others feel like D-Day is here for superconferences, and the Big 12 is in the best position to grow if football programs like Florida State and Clemson shake loose. (I've been told those two are starting to talk more about moving as a package deal out of the ACC.)
While Brown went out of his way to spell out that nothing is currently imminent in regards to Big 12 expansion, he goes on to say that the Big 12 meetings in Kansas City will be telling -- and that this summer could feature conference realignment akin to what we've seen the past two years.
The dance between the Big 12 and the Florida St. Seminoles has been a strange trip so far as the higher ups from Florida State are providing mixed messages about their future conference affiliation. The latest comes from ChuckOliver.net which is saying two people with extremely strong ties to the Florida State athletic program call the move to the Big 12 "inevitable."
This report comes from a fairly obscure website, but these rumors and reports can still cause a stir and provide some momentum within the fan base and actually apply pressure to the schools decision makers.
As this report says the move is happening there are others who are reporting that the the Big 12 schools are not all on the same page about adding additional members:
Sources: Big 12 expansion breakdown: 4 schools OK with it, 4 on fence, 1 pushing hard to make it happen, 1 pushing hard to prevent it.— Dave Sittler (@DaveSittler) May 20, 2012
Then there is Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com who adds that a lot of these reports on the Big 12 adding big name schools are reaching for a result:
In short, anyone saying Notre Dame, Florida State or Clemson are done deals are talking to people with wishful thinking or relying on second or third-hand information from people with wishful thinking.
So, depending on which report one feels strongly about then the Big 12 is either about to add Florida State, or stand pat at their current 10-member league.
For more on Big 12 realignment stay tuned to SB Nation Dallas' coverage.
While the rumored move of Florida State from the ACC to the Big 12 is just that, a rumor, It could potentially set off a ripple effect leading to another ACC school jumping ship for the Big 12.
Clemson has long been rumored to be a potential target and moving partner for Florida State but the Tigers' ties to the ACC as a charter member run deep. Miami on the other hand doesn't have as much history with the conference and could try to chain itself to FSU and come along for the ride.
If the Big 12 could add both FSU and Miami it would give them two major programs in the state of Florida which would further cement the conference's status. The rumors make sense but the first step in the process is the existing 10 teams of the Big 12 deciding that expansion to 12 teams is the correct thing to do.
With Big 12 and SEC agreeing to a postseason bowl game between their league champions, the Big 12 has now positioned itself as one of the best four leagues in all of college football. Just imagine that it was not too long ago back in 2010 that the Big 12 was unstable and on the verge of collapse and swallowed up by the Pac-10.
Fast forward to now and the Big 12 is strong with 10 teams and now has now made itself one of the players in college football. With rumors of the Florida St. Seminoles could be joining the Big 12, there are rumblings once again that there could be four superconferences and the Big 12 is likely to be one of those:
"I really can't believe I'm saying this," one Big 12 school source said. "We might be moving to four superconferences -- and the Big 12 would be one of those."
It is hard to believe that the Big 12 is now among the four elite conferences, but with the recent mega television deal and rumors of teams wanting in on the Big 12 they have made significant strides in strengthening their league.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have always stated that they want to maintain their football independence, but now with the deal between the Big 12 and SEC creating a bowl matchup between the two league champions Notre Dame may be forced to join a league. With this new alliance it is leaving Notre Dame less options for their post season destination, and in the long run could lose millions of dollars by staying independent.
College football is starting shape up to have four major conferences between the Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC and Big 12, and while Notre Dame has always felt like a natural fit for the Big Ten that league is not in a hurry to increase to 14 members.
Notre Dame has been rumored to go to the ACC, but that league is facing instability with the Florida State situation who is involved in rumors to join the Big 12. However, the Big 12 is probably going to add at least two teams in the near future and Notre Dame should be leaning toward trying to find a soft landing there. At least one inside source believes with the uncertainty of the ACC that Notre Dame should be looking at the Big 12:
"Now it's going to put more pressure on Notre Dame to look at the Big 12," said one source involved in the playoff discussions.
The Big 12 has now positioned themselves as one of the four elite conferences in college football and they can offer Notre Dame both conference stability and a whole lot of cash if they do decide to give up their independence and join the Big 12.
Incoming Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby certainly didn't put an end to any college conference realignment rumors, despite saying he'd prefer if conferences "hit the pause button." This is, of course, in response to talk about Florida State bolting the ACC and joining the Big 12.
"My opinion," he told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday, "is college athletics would be well served by some period of smooth water and not all of the angst and disorganization that goes with moves from one league to another."
Well, that's all well and good, but we all know that money reigns supreme in college athletics. Bowlsby realizes this, and went on to add this:
Bowlsby declined to address FSU specifically or whether the comments are likely to heighten expansion sentiment in the Big 12, but acknowledged, "Conference realignment will continue to be an issue and one we all have to be vigilant about."
It doesn't look like Bowlsby will stand idle if major schools are looking to leave their current conferences, such as Florida State.
Currently, the Big 12 has 10 schools inside the conference, and if the Big 12 were to expand, it would likely be by two schools, living up to its name again. We're still a long ways away from anything concrete, but it certainly looks as though Bowlsby will be keeping a close eye on Florida State.
In a national radio interview on Tuesday morning, Derrick Brooks, a former Florida State linebacker and member of their Board of Trustees, said that the Big 12 has approached the Seminoles about possibly joining the conference:
Brooks, a former All-Pro LB with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a two-time All-American LB at Florida State in the early 1990's who helped lead the school to a national title in 1993. After his playing days were over, he was named to the Seminoles Board of Trustees in 2003.
The head of Florida State's Board ignited the latest round of realignnment speculation when he blasted the ACC's new TV contract and praised the Big 12's over the weekend, and Brooks' statements will only add fuel to the fire about what would be a blockbuster move for a conference that was seemingly on its deathbed only 12 months ago.
No one really knows what's going to happen with the broken Big 12 Conference in the long term, even though they've added the likes of TCU, but word on the street is that Louisville coaches have been selling recruits on playing in the Big 12 at some point.
And FWIW, Louisville coaches have been telling every recruit they'll be in the Big 12 soon.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) May 14, 2012
If these rumors are true, it only indicates that the coaches know something about the possible realignment implications that we don't. It means that Louisville to the Big 12 is a real possibility and conferences as we know it are more confusing and disrupted than they've ever been.
One would imagine that Louisville would turn out to be a powerhouse in Big 12 basketball with the most recent tradition of success in the Big East under Rick Pitino.
Read more about happenings in Big 12 Conference realignment right here at SB Nation Dallas.
When the first reports linking Florida State and the Big 12 began circulating online, they were mostly dismissed as wishful thinking coming out of Austin.
However, in an interview Saturday with Warchant.com, Florida State Board of Trustees chairman Andy Haggard poured lighting fluid on an open fire with a series of incendiary comments reacting to the ACC's new TV deal with ESPN.
What seemed to infuriate Haggard the most was the fact that the conference relinquished third-tier football rights, the same ones UT used to create the Longhorn Network with ESPN, but kept their third-tier basketball rights. That, in turn, will create substantial paydays for basketball schools like UNC and Duke at the expense of football powers like Florida State:
"It continues the perception that the ACC favors the North Carolina schools," noted Haggard. "How do you not look into that option [of talking to the Big 12. On behalf of the Board of Trustees I can say that unanimously we would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer. We have to do what is in Florida State's best interest."
With only 10 members, the Big 12 would need two more schools to create two divisions and have a conference championship game in football. And if Florida State, a tradition-rich school with a huge fanbase in one of the biggest states in the country, is really looking, they would almost certainly be accepted.
While a report from Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com speculating about the Big 12 going after Florida State and Clemson caused quite a stir, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds quickly shot it down on Friday:
DeLoss Dodds on Big 12 expansion rumors: "I don't think the Florida State-Clemson thing has any basis at all."— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 11, 2012
The Big 12, which now only has 10 members, may be looking at adding schools to get back to 12, which would allow them to hold a conference championship game in football.
However, it's unlikely that ESPN, the real power behind the conference realignment shuffle, would want to decimate the ACC so completely by allowing two of its premier football programs to jump ship.
A smaller concern would be the complete lack of geographical connection between a conference of schools in Texas and the Great Plains and two schools on the Atlantic seaboard, but the presence of San Diego State in the "Big East" indicates nothing can be completely ruled out.
For more coverage of the Big 12's role in the latest round of conference realignment, stay tuned to the SB Nation Dallas storystream.
Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com speculates that it might make sense for Florida State to leave the ACC in favor of the Big 12.
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