Shemon & Sheppard – In The Afternoon

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College football is quickly transforming into an NFL-like schedule. There are fewer and fewer dead periods in the sport, and late May through early July is becoming conference realignment season. UCLA and USC are bolting for the Big Ten after this season and same for Texas and Oklahoma going to the SEC. The one conference that seemed to be locked in is the ACC. That is not the case any more. Reports out of the conference are that there are seven ACC schools looking to leave the conference. The current television contract could become voided should eight schools opt out of the current deal. It is not feasible for schools to leave without taking a huge financial hit. Schools that leave must forfeit their ACC money and give their new money to the ACC through 2036.

Uneven Revenue Share

On the heels of the ACC Spring Meetings, it seems like there could be a short term solution in the works. FSU and Clemson are arguing they should receive more of the television money because they’ve had the most success in CFP era. Seems reasonable when they are trying to keep up in the arms race with SEC and Big ten programs. Starting in 2024-25 the conference will award more money to schools that perform well in football and basketball. The exact compensation is still to be agreed upon, but this keeps the big boys happy for the time being.

Unrest in the ACC

Even with this bonus money, there is serious unrest in the ACC. The ACC is about to be dusted by the SEC and Big Ten. Last year the SEC and Big Ten distributed nearly $800 million to members while the ACC handed out $617 million. That gap will only widen once the new television contract take effect in 2024/25. Here’s a look at the ACC schools looking to leave and where the most logical landing spot is.

  • Florida State

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- FSU

    (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

    Florida State is probably the biggest brand the ACC has on the football field. Their combination of historical success and big alma matter and fan base would benefit any conference. The SEC makes the most sense, even though Florida would probably try to block the move.

  • Clemson

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- Clemson

    (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

    Clemson has dominated the ACC for the last decade. And nationally they are a top-5 program with Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, and Michigan. South Carolina won’t like it, but Clemson already feels like an SEC program and would fit in perfectly with the conference.

  • Miami

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- Miami

    (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

    Miami is a unicorn in college football. When this program is rolling, I don’t think there are very many programs that can match their heights. But the lows have been pretty low over the last 15 years. Miami to the SEC has never felt like a match for me. But I think the idea of The U in the Big Ten makes a ton of sense. There’s plenty of history between the Canes and Big Ten programs Nebraska, Penn State, and Ohio State. And the Big Ten would love to open up a top-10 market to the Big Ten Network.

  • North Carolina

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- UNC

    (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

    I know for a fact that there are some at UNC who would love to be in the Big Ten. But I don’t think they leave the ACC without bringing NC State along for the ride, and NC State does not feel like they fit in the Big Ten (although they make more sense than Rutgers). I think they end up in the SEC. Geographically it makes more sense, and North Carolina

  • NC State

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- NC State

    (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

    Nationally NC State is overlooked often. But in the state of North Carolina the Wolfpack are close to the Tar Heels in popularity. As I just said, I think the two schools are a package deal. Once the SEC adds Texas and OU the additions of FSU, Clemson, UNC, and NC State would create a really nice 20 team conference. The SEC Network would love to get into North Carolina, which would become the 4th most populated state in the conference.

  • Virginia

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- UVA

    (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Big Ten. Easy. They already feel like they are a Big Ten program when you think about it. Academically they would be a huge asset for the conference.

  • Virginia Tech

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- Virginia Tech

    (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

    In this scenario the SEC is already sitting at 20 teams, and the Big Ten is at 18 with UVA and Miami joining, but I think they look west for their 19th and 20th schools. Probably Washington and Oregon. Virginia Tech has lost a bit of their luster in years past, but they are still an attractive program. And the Big 12 should be looking to bring in bigger name programs. UCF, Cincinnati, BYU, and Houston are all good programs with large fan bases in big television markets. But they don’t elevate the conference the way a Virginia Tech would. They would also be the perfect ravel partner with West Virginia.

  • Who Could be the 8th School

    ACC Schools Looking to Leave- 8th school

    (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    After the seven schools that have been rumored to be looking into leaving the conference there are seven remaining. Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Syracuse, Boston College, and Louisville. Sorry Duke, but basketball doesn’t matter in the conference realignment game and the other two schools in the triangle are more attractive. Wake is just a smaller version of Duke. BC and Syracuse could be attractive because of the TV markets they would bring along, but there have been zero reports about either looking to leave. That leaves Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Pittsburgh.

    Georgia Tech is attractive because they are in the heart of Atlanta and bring a massive television market with them. They would only make sense for the Big Ten should Miami end up elsewhere. Louisville and Pitt make the most sense for the Big 12 though. Both have shown they can put really good products on the field, and they would bring new television markets in for the conference. If I were affiliated with either one of those schools I would keep calling Big 12 HQ until we could work out a deal. That is if they are looking to leave.