LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Atlantic Coast Conference is discussing a loose alignment with the Pac-12, which has a group of teams talking to the crumbling Big 12, which is still trying to process losing Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference, which is keeping an eye on the Big Ten, which is waiting on Notre Dame, which keeps stiff-arming the ACC.
Got all that?
Neither do I.
But until it’s time for some actual blocking, tackling and run-pass options, conference realignment is the one and only topic resonating through college sports.
Type the words conference realignment into your favorite search engine. You’ll be amazed at what information is spit out. This isn’t just a story for ESPN or Sports Illustrated. Even the Wall Street Journal has jumped into the competition with Laine Higgins filing a story that 10 schools have informally “reached out” to commissioner Kevin Warren about joining the Big Ten.
It's competition, right. John Williams of Yahoo delivered a story about 10 schools that the SEC should consider. Half of the 10 are from the ACC, but Louisville was not on his list.
I can’t think of many people who have more clout in college athletics than Phil Knight, the man who created Nike. I’ve read one story that Knight was asked to save the Pac-12.
Make a note of that. Then erase it. John Canzano, long a respected columnist in Portland, Oregon, wrote that King Knight’s preference would be for the Ducks to join USC and UCLA in their flight to the Big Ten.
Ooops. Keep reading. Canzano also wrote that Knight would be OK with the SEC. Those flights from Lexington to Eugene should be a blast.
Nobody has left the ACC since Maryland bolted for the Big Ten and its superior TV network money in 2014. That created the opening for Louisville to jump from the American Athletic Conference, which was the Cardinals’ home after they left the Big East, Conference USA, the Metro and Missouri Valley conference.
Speculation about the future of the ACC has raged since the SEC made its stunning power move with Texas and Oklahoma last season. The wise guys have been convinced that the SEC’s next move would be to add Clemson and either North Carolina, Florida State or Miami to blanket its thunderous football brand from the southeast part of the country to the southwest.
That inspired Steve Wiseman, a talented writer from the Raleigh News & Observer, to pull out his scorecard and rank the attractiveness of the ACC programs to either the SEC or Big Ten, the leagues generally expected to thrive as the super-conferences of the future.
Wiseman’s views will not be comforting to Louisville fans, who had to sweat having a seat at the table before the Cards got the call from the ACC.
Wiseman created a special tier for Notre Dame, a top tier of attractiveness for four ACC programs, a second tier for four more programs, a third tier for four more programs and bottom tier that he should have named the Ugly Ducklings.
Boston College and Wake Forest were the two programs at the bottom of Wiseman’s pecking order. Please address all angry emails accordingly.
Then he put Louisville in the third tier, with Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, in part because of U of L’s ongoing issues with the NCAA.
Considering North Carolina State received its penalty from the NCAA within the last year and that I don’t remember the Wolfpack winning the Orange or Sugar bowls over the last 20 years (or producing the Heisman Trophy winner), I’m not convinced there’s a reason to be gaga about what is going on in Raleigh.
Ditto for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have excellent academics but they have been flailing in football and men’s basketball for years. Not to mention that in the Atlanta market, Tech ranks behind the Falcons, the Braves, the Hawks, Atlanta United FC, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Thursday night pickle ball league.
Get ready. Those are the kinds of conversations we will continue to have as this conference realignment tug of war percolates.
It’s guaranteed to become an around-the-clock beauty contest.
You have the best TV market. But you have the largest season ticket base. But you have the best facilities. But you have the best academics. (Haha.) But you have an athletic director who understands how to work the room.
Enjoy all noise.
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