Last weekend, the B1G stunned many college football fans, expanding with what many thought were two unlikely candidates, Maryland and Rutgers.
Your move, ACC.
Speculation mounted all week that the ACC was ready to replace Maryland quickly, considering UConn and Louisville as candidates. Late Friday, a crop of new rumors surfaced, reporting that the ACC would add three teams on Monday: Louisville, UConn, and Cincinnati.
Tallahassee Democrat Sports Writer Brian Miller (@bricmiller) tweeted the following: "Just heard from someone tied to the Big East. Louisville to the ACC w/ Cincy. UConn to likely follow."
The tweet was later deleted, but the damage was done after @Mengus22 retweeted his quote.
BearcatLair is Cincinnati's 247sports site. Not sure of the reliability, but this isn't some vague source. This is a quote from a reputable news conglomerate.
Far from ready to report it, but this UC to the ACC rumor is coming at me from a lot of different directions right now. Crazy night.
Instant Reaction: For this, I'm going to assume this rumor is true, rather than wasting more time examining the validity of the claim
TV Revenue: Short term, I honestly think this is probably going to come out okay for the ACC. There seems to be quite a push from ESPN to regain the Big East product, and it wouldn't surprise me if ESPN promised to keep the TV money status quo if the ACC grabbed the Big East teams ESPN wanted them to grab.
Long term, this has to hurt the ACC. The ACC is currently at 13 teams after losing Maryland. Adding these three teams would put us at 16. That doesn't exactly leave room for adding Notre Dame in all sports, which is really the ACC's best hope for ever closing the TV revenue gap. Perhaps the ACC is willing to go past 16 teams, but then you have to figure out who is added with ND. Do we go to 18? 20? Or do we kick someone out of the ACC to make room?
Playoff and Bowl Revenue: ACC fans rejoiced when the conference obtained ownership of the Orange Bowl, and were equally excited when it was announced that the opponents would be an SEC or B1G team (or ND). Everyone was excited that we wouldn't have to play Big East opponents like Louisville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, or UConn. Many thought this would help the OB TV contract, knowing that the match-ups would likely be more desirable. Adding the teams that fans were excited to avoid surely isn't going to help with the TV contracts, and it just adds more teams to split the money.
Outside of specifically the Orange Bowl, how does this move affect the ACC's playoff revenue earnings? Maybe this is being pessimistic, but I don't see any of the teams we're adding (Pitt/Cuse and potentially UofL/Cincy/UConn) ever making the 4-team playoff. Again, it just adds more teams to split the money.
Divisions: I do think the addition of these teams presents unique possibilities for scheduling. 16 teams has been somewhat of an ideal goal for realignment gurus. 16 teams allows for the use of 4-team pods that the ACC could use to fix some of the scheduling issues. Some have speculated that a 16-team conference opens the possibility of conference semifinals. I don't know if that's possible, but it could be a new revenue stream available to the ACC.
I'm sure there are other issues that addition like this would help or hurt. What are your thoughts?
Also, although this is a fun exercise to explore, I think the addition of these teams signals that the ACC is preparing for further defections from current members. If that happens, I fully expect these to be ACC problems, but not FSU problems.