Where can I begin? Your devoted writer has had some very strong opinions about ESPN’s ACC blogger Heather Dinich for a long time. I’ve agreed with many posts she has written in the past, and Heather generally puts out some nice work for the ESPN website. However, some of her articles just irk me, and her most recent post definitely did so. The article in its entirety can be found here. (click on that sentence) It details the recent conference realignment involving the ACC, and Heather writes about what she expects to happen to the conference in the near future. My post about conference realignment can be found here. (again, click on it) Multiple points that Heather make in her article are questionable to say the least, and I plan on refuting them right now.
It’s obviously in the best interest of the conference for the league to stay intact, but every school has to make its own decisions.
Oh really? How riveting. Here’s what this sentence means: “It’s in the best interest of the ACC for the ACC to not fall apart.” Are there editors at ESPN?
Prediction: The ACC will keep its current membership and stay content to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh as early as 2013. The biggest changes to the league will come in the postseason, where commissioner John Swofford has a chance to boost the ACC’s bowl tie-ins. The ACC with ditch the Big East and find a way to partner with Notre Dame or a conference that will be more appealing to fans and bring the conference more revenue.
This is an ideal situation for the ACC, but its a scenario that could never occur. The reason the ACC signed such a bad contract with ESPN was because they had no leverage; their collective performances in BCS games and national televised games have been so poor that they were forced to accept the $17 million per year deal. Why would the Pac-12 or the Big 10 ever want to commit to a long term bowl commitment with a conference that is, at most, the fifth best in the country? Clearly the goal of the ACC is to become more appealing to fans and bring in more revenue, but that cannot be done at the drop of a hat. The ACC needs to improve its own image before it can begin negotiating with other conferences.
Everyone seems to be forgetting that it now costs ACC schools between $20-25 million to leave the conference. Aren’t Florida State’s financial woes one of the main reasons fans are ready to bolt
The Big 12 will be ready and willing to pay at least half ($10-12 million) of FSU’s exit fee. The increased revenue that comes with Big 12 membership (at least $3 million per year) will offset the minimal exit fee FSU would have to deal with over the next few years. Nothing else to see here. Moving on…
Other factors, such as the logistics and expense of travel – and the importance of academics to the ACC can’t be understated – also have to be considered.
When Syracuse and Pitt join the ACC next fall, FSU will have to fly to 12 schools out of 14 in order to play conference road games. If FSU and Clemson join the Big 12, the Seminoles would have to fly to 11 schools out of 12 in order to play conference road games. The idea that travel expenses will increase substantially if FSU moves to the Big 12 is ridiculous. Secondly, academics matter to the ACC, not to Florida State. Big 12 member Texas is a world-renowned educational institution. Have they thought about switching conferences to improve their academic reputation? Of course not. Football and money trump everything for programs such as FSU and Texas.
Factor in the competition – and that either school would have an easier road to the national title in the ACC than it would in the Big 12 or SEC, and it seems like a no-brainer to stay.
This so called “easier road” would only exist for one season; the BCS is done after this year and will likely be replaced by a four team playoff. Picture a scenario in which FSU goes undefeated through ACC play and finishes the year ranked #4 in the country. The three teams ahead of the ‘Noles are LSU, Alabama, and Texas, who have more money, better coaches, and better facilities, and have spent the past few years significantly out-recruiting FSU. This is the best case scenario for Florida State if they remain in the ACC, and it’s starting to look more like David vs. Goliath. Seeing as this situation is almost inevitable, how could the FSU administration possibly dig themselves such a hole by remaining in the ACC, when a better option (Big 12) is knocking at the door? Seems like a “no-brainer” to leave.