Because it's been too long for anyone to just settle in for longer than three months, it's time for the latest round of conference realignment rumors. The Big Ten will eventually become a sixteen-team conference sooner or later and rumors are saying sooner.
The leading rumor is that the North Carolina Tar Heels have an offer on the table to leave the ACC for the Big Ten. The rumor comes courtesy of Maryland247, who also happened to be right-on about Maryland & Rutgers' defections. Furthermore, the Virginia Cavaliers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are also reportedly being courted by the Big Ten.
As was made clear in the Maryland (Baltimore) and Rutgers (NYC) inclusions, the Big Ten is all about media markets (real or assumed). So, UNC (Raleigh, Charlotte), Georgia Tech (Atlanta) and Virginia (DC-ish?) make sense in that respect. By adding two of these schools into the mix, they'd also secure a large chunk of the Eastern seaboard from New York to Atlanta.
Keep in mind, all of this may be true about the offers but no one seems to be saying that the schools are about to jump. Certainly all the conference realignment moves have been big but for any of these schools to leave their ACC brethren behind is a big deal, especially North Carolina. The obvious question is, why would UNC leave without Duke and that's when your mind starts turning and doing crazy things like thinking the two could be a package deal of sorts.
That's when you need to step away from the table and go for a walk as we've learned.
At the end of the day, the only question that matters is, what does this mean for the Syracuse Orange?
Certainly it's not the best news but it's not completely out-of-nowhere either. We knew the ACC was vulnerable and we knew the Big Ten was going to come poaching sooner or later to fill out its ranks. What we don't know is if we've passed some kind of conference realignment threshold where regional viability starts to come back around and outweighs CASH MONEY. There has to be a tipping point, surely.
If you're wondering whether or not the Big Ten might reach out to us, stop. Rutgers pretty much sealed the deal on that. They don't need us anymore (though SB Nation did some detailed number-crunching anyway).
You might remember that all of the ACC schools signed some kind of solidarity pledge a few months ago and we all made fun of how dumb that was. Well, we're about to find out just how dumb.
Keep an eye on the ACC Threat Advisory Level and let's all just wait and see how it plays out. I remain of the mind that, no matter what happens, the ACC will live on for a while yet. One way or another, there are enough benefits in place to keep schools in check and there are still decent-enough replacements out there for the ACC to survive.