The direction College Football is going, we’ll be left, in the end, with four Super Conferences while the rest fight for scraps. The Big Ten, which has added Maryland and Rutgers (both joining in 2014) in the most recent act of conference poaching, are eyeing quite a few ACC schools: Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech and possibly even Duke and North Carolina.
At the moment, the Big Ten has 12 schools. With Maryland (still discussing its exit fees with the ACC) and Rutgers, it’ll turn into 14. The goal is becoming a 16-team school, but not everyone in the Big Ten is happy about these additions. More money might not mean more money for each school, who look at the Big 12, quite happy at the moment with 10 teams, giving more money per program than any other conference in the nation. The only way this works well for both the new schools and the Big Ten is adding only someone who won’t hurt the conference in its program level and the lucrative TV market it has.
That’s why Florida State is such a prize. The Big 12 are thinking about Florida State, while the SEC, in the long run, would also love to take a few pieces from the ACC pie. Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson. The Florida TV market and the Seminoles’ strong sport programs make them a desirable target for anyone making realignments in the near future.
The SEC is obviously positioned better than anyone to make moves for the schools everyone desires. The Big Ten has the best contracts and the most money at the moment. The Big 12 aren’t sure if they want to move out of the 10-team formation they got going.
The Pac-12 are least suitable, geographically speaking, when it comes to realignment, although there have been talks about taking Oklahoma and Texas away from the Big 12. Oklahoma won’t move without Oklahoma State, which is not a school most are really craving to get. The Pac-12 also has some academics in mind, being picky about the standards of the teams they invite.
This isn’t the end of conference realignment. Super conferences seems to be the way to go. More money for the schools who can generate it, while others, who have enjoyed playing in power conferences over the years, basking in the success of bigger and better problems, will be demoted to second tier conferences, having a much harder time making a living.