Ok, anyone who says that Maryland moving to the B1G isn't a big deal or is even a good thing needs to get their head examined.
Look at the big picture, people. It's not a question of whether Maryland decided to leave the ACC. It's a matter of any team leaving the conference. The move says that the ACC is vulnerable now.
Clemson and Florida St. have made it clear that they want to leave. If they had issues with us and Pitt joining (and let's face it, we haven't exactly covered ourselves with glory in football recently, even with bowl eligibility this year), how berserk are they going to get if we replace Maryland with, say...UConn (a very likely choice at this point...more on this in a bit)? I could definitely see both of those schools say "eff it" and take off for the Big XII, particularly if the $50 million exit fee doesn't hold up for Maryland. But even if the fee does hold up, the way out has been shown to everyone else.
Florida St., who also voted against the increase, could leave if the Big XII ponies up some of the fee to leave. Couldn't happen? Ask West Virginia. And Florida St. is probably slightly better off financially than Maryland. Clemson is probably the pinnacle of financial stability compared to those two. In other words, if another conference wants a team badly enough, they'll find a way to get them out.
So what does this all mean for ACC and realignment? In my opinion, Rome burning is a pretty apt description at this point. Assuming the ACC gets UConn (probably...getting to this...be patient), the B1G, SEC and ACC will all have 14 teams. The Pac-12 has, well, 12 teams and the Big XII has 10 teams. Guess who's expanding next?
I've heard talk about getting Louisville, but I don't think that's gonna happen. If the rumors that the ACC is talking to UConn, Louisville, USF and Cincy are true, you can better believe that the Big XII is talking to at least 1-2 of those two teams as well (hint...it's not USF or UConn). And who's able to offer more dough? My bet is on the Big XII.
So who are Big XII prospects? Of all the conferences, they have the most flexibility. They could grab Louisville and Cincy (and thus utterly destroy the BE), they could take Louisville and Florida St (another ACC team gone, and a good reason why Louisville might not want to join that conference) or even Clemson. However, I think Florida St. would be a more likely prospect at this point. Heck, you might even see BYU get into the Big XII sometime. Far from being the carcass that everyone expected last year, the Big XII could wind up as being that 4th superconference. If that happens, the SEC and B1G will gobble up more ACC schools.
And of course, Notre Dame can continue to be the Jane Seymour character in the Head Office movie to whatever conference they fancy next.
So what could possibly screw this nightmare ACC scenario up? As stupid as this is going to sound, the Pac-12 might be the best hope for the ACC. If the Big XII expands and stabilizes, then there's very little, if any, room for that western conference to move into. Therefore, it's a race to see if the Big XII can stabilize before the Pac-12 makes another grab at their core schools. If the Pac-12 is successful, then the Big XII dies. Yes, it's visceral and ugly, but it's either that or watching the ACC fall apart. If the Big-XII falls apart, then a very real threat to the ACC dies. It's possible that we could lose more schools but you have to believe that some of those former Big-XII schools would be scooped up by the B1G or SEC.
Depressing? Sure is.