It just never ends, does it? As Syracuse fans, I'm sure we're all wondering what will become of the ACC. Do we add one more school and lose no one else for another 40 years? Or is this the start of a lot of movement? Historically speaking, I doubt we'll see another major move until next year, other than the crumbling of the Big East. Yet Maryland's move is a big deal to us because it will inevitably affect us. I just want to use this space to take a look around the ACC and examine everyone's options, so we can get a better grip on the reality of this situation.
Florida St.: ACC or Big XII. FSU dreams of being in the SEC, but that will never happen. The SEC has been pretty clear it wants teams in states that aren't part of the SEC footprint yet, plus the Florida Gators would be opposed. So, Florida St. can hang around in the ACC and be top dog, or head west for the Big XII, as they almost did this summer. If the ACC loses too many teams, FSU is gone and they'll go to the Big XII. They will not stay in a second-rate conference. As such, the ACC cannot lose anyone else. Even then, it might be too late.
Clemson: ACC or Big XII. Not going to the SEC for the same reason FSU won't. Clemson's fate is essentially tied to FSU's; if FSU goes Big XII, they're taking either Clemson or Georgia Tech with them, both if the Big XII goes to 16. Clemson is one of the best football teams in the ACC and they are quite valuable, which is why I can't see them sticking around unless the ACC loses no one else.
Georgia Tech: ACC, Big Ten or Big XII. Not going to the SEC for the same reasons mentioned above. The Big Ten has supposedly been interesting in them as they are part of the Atlanta market. Atlanta is a city on the rise, making GT fairly valuable. If the Big Ten goes south, I fully expect they'll take GT, as they are too good to pass up. Otherwise, they'll probably go to the Big XII, unless the ACC doesn't lose anyone else. If FSU and Clemson go to the Big XII, GT is almost certainly gone.
Miami FL: ACC, Big Ten, or Big XII. Now here's an interesting case. Miami is a private school with massive NCAA sanctions coming. If the Big Ten goes south, they might take Miami if there's really no other option, but this is unlikely. Maybe the Big XII will want them, but not as #11 or #12; they'd probably be #15 or #16. SEC already has Florida. Most likely, Miami will remain in the ACC, unless the whole conference just breaks up. They simply aren't worth as much as other expansion candidates. Maybe if they were a public school with a massive enrollment and a clean athletics program... but they're not.
North Carolina: ACC, Big Ten, SEC, or Big XII. The lynchpin. UNC goes and the whole ACC crumbles. The SEC would love the Tarheels and would give them an NC school. The Big Ten would love the Tarheels for the same reason. They are so valuable because North Carolina is such a populated state, plus UNC has great academics and athletics. They could wind up in the Big XII if there's no where else to go, but that would only happen if the ACC breaks up. They could go SEC or Big Ten, but will probably pick one or the other. Can't turn down that money and exposure.
Duke: ACC, Big Ten, or Big XII. Duke, like Miami, doesn't bring a ton to the table as far as value goes, since they are a private school with a smaller enrollment. That's not to say Duke is unattractive. They still draw a good chunk of the Carolina market and are an AAU school. The SEC will not want them, because they have other, better options in that state. The Big Ten will probably take Duke if UNC goes to the SEC. I can't see Duke and UNC moving together, but hey, you never know. If the Big XII goes to 16 and Duke is still available, they'd be foolish not to take them. Ultimately though, like Syracuse and Miami, the ACC is the best fit for Duke.
Virginia: ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, or SEC. UVA is in an interesting spot right now. First, now that the Big Ten has Maryland, they have 0 reason to go for Virginia. Why? Overlapping markets, and with Maryland, the Big Ten is in that market. Culturally, Virginia would be a good fit in the SEC, but the academics of other SEC schools makes me question that they'd ever go there. The Big XII looks like the most likely choice for UVA should the ACC break up, but I think UVA is most content in the ACC with regional schools and top-notch academics.
Virginia Tech: ACC, Big XII, or SEC. The SEC would love VPI because they have a good football team and give the SEC a Virginia foothold. If not SEC, then they'll probably wind up in the Big XII. Really can't see them going to the Big Ten, but I could be wrong. Most likely they'll leave for the SEC when they go to 16 because why wouldn't you?
North Carolina St.: ACC, SEC or Big XII. If the SEC can't land UNC they'll try for NCST next. UNC I could see turning down the SEC for a few reasons, NCST I cannot. If UNC does go to the SEC, NCST will probably join the Big XII. They are obviously a state school and add a lot of value to whatever conference they are in. They are certainly more attractive an addition than Duke or Wake Forest and would likely get the nod over them.
Boston College: ACC or Big Ten. Boston College might actually be a valuable addition to the Big Ten, as Boston is one of the largest TV markets in the country. Adding Boston means the Big Ten Network can increase subscription prices even more. Plus, they have a good hockey team, something the Big Ten would like.
Wake Forest: ACC or Big XII. The Big XII might add Wake if they can't get anyone else and are desperate.
Pittsburgh: ACC, Big Ten, or Big XII. Pittsburgh is an AAU school, let's not forget, so the Big Ten might add them if their options are limited or they want even more of a northeastern presence. I don't think the Big Ten will need them, however, since they have Penn St. Big XII with West Virginia is a realistic possibility.
Syracuse: ACC. Realistically, we aren't going anywhere. We wouldn't fit in the Big Ten very well and I don't think they'd add us unless someone put a gun to Delany's head. I've read some crazy scenarios, like SU to the Big XII or even to the Pac-12 with Notre Dame... let's face it, we're stuck for now.
Notre Dame: Anywhere but the SEC. Who doesn't want Notre Dame to join?
Basically, the ACC needs to not lose anyone else, and they'll hold together. But if teams start jumping, and making a sh*t-ton more $$$, like Maryland will be, then our new conference mates won't be our conference mates for very much longer. Both the Big Ten and SEC sit at 14 teams, and unless they begin losing money (fingers crossed) then it is only a matter of time before they pick apart the ACC. How else would they get to 16? If we can hold on until the Big XII's GOR expires, the ACC has a great chance, as that conference will be picked apart. I don't see a scenario where the ACC loses only 4 members and pretty much holding pat, like the Big XII has. It's either the one, Maryland, or else this conference will gradually bleed and reload with the Connecticuts and Louisvilles of the world.
Additionally, as I understand it, the 5 power conferences will split the football payoff revenue evenly. If the ACC died, that'd be more money for the other four.