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Big 12 Expansion: ACC's Deal With Orange Bowl Reduces Chances Of Conference Realignment

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.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.