Many have proposed that FSU go to the Big 12 with Clemson or other teams. However, there has clearly been greater interest in the SEC, both from a financial and a competitive conference viewpoint. We want more than the ACC makes. We want to play teams that we respect.
However, our administrators (and their mouthpieces here on TN) come out of the gate with the argument that FSU needs the academic affiliation that the ACC brings. I dispute that, but let’s say that the ACC is planning some grand connection of academic institutions that will improve FSU’s reputation, or even that mere athletic affiliation with schools like Duke and UNC do bring positive results to FSU’s academic reputation.
So why settle for leaving/staying as our only options? We leave, we lose the possibility of all those past rivalries if the right teams don’t come along. We lose that academic affiliation. We get stuck with Kansas and Texas Tech in football. Texas runs the show. We stay, we keep the ‘rivalries’ we hate. We get stuck with BC and Syracuse and Pitt. We have to deal with Tobacco Road running the roost. We deal with ACC refs.
But why not merge the Big 12 and ACC instead?
There are sometimes mergers that improve things for both groups. Think of the possibilities here, if you assume that there are 24 teams (let’s bring in UConn or Louisville, doesn’t matter in this scenario). Also, assume a first: relegation in college football conferences.
You have three 8-team conferences. Two of them play each other in a championship for the chance to move up to the “big” 8-team conference. The champ wins and moves up, as does as the highest ranked top 25 member of the lower conference. If no lower conference team is ranked, only the champ rises. In the 8-team “big” conference, the two lowest teams drop to fill the lower slots (or one team drops if there is no top 25 ranked lower conference team).
The money is split 50-50 between the big 8 (50%) and small 16 (50%) for football. For basketball, the conferences are split the same way, and the top six records in the lower division get to play in the “big’s” tournament. Bowl, 64, conference tournament and TV/postseason money is generally split between the big 8 (50%) and small 16 (50%), BUT bowl and NIT/64 appearance fees go wholly to the small division teams that earn them. This incentivizes the small teams to improve beyond just the "moving up money" factor.
The bigger schools are easy to spot in football. I’m not as sure about bball. But it seems to me this is a workable solution. And rights, academic ‘affiliation’ snobbery, and splitting less money would be problematic initially. Particularly contentious would be in figuring out what constitutes football vs. basketball TV money and renegotiating the split for smaller schools, but that 50-50 wouldn’t have to be set in stone.