The ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 are Allying Against the SEC

As a direct response to Oklahoma and Texas defecting to the Southeastern Conference, the remaining Power Five schools are forming an alliance. It’s like the college football version of Survivor, except nobody gets voted off the island and Richard Hatch is not walking around naked.

According to multiple outlets, the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 will announce on Tuesday afternoon this pact.

From Dennis Dodd at CBS Sports:

The Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 are expected to formally announce their long-awaited alliance on Tuesday afternoon, sources close to the situation tell CBS Sports. The agreement between the three conferences will focus on NCAA governance and college football scheduling, but the leagues also plan to get on the same page regarding future College Football Playoff expansion.

Realignment among the three conferences has not been part of their discussions and will not be an issue addressed with the alliance. However, a significant portion of alliance conversations have been based on ensuring that athletes’ academic success remains integral to the college sports experience.

This is basically just a power/consolidation move to stand up to the SEC. The other conferences want to flex some muscle and combat SEC influence, and so this is one way to do it. Notice that Dodd specifically mentions that realignment “has not been part of their discussions,” which some folks originally thought was the purpose of this thing. We thought the “alliance” might be something like “hey we’re cool with our current setup, we’re not poaching any Big 12 teams nor do we want any of our teams leaving.” But it’s less about that and more about preventing the SEC from taking over college football entirely.

More from Dodd:

Talks between the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 have been described to CBS Sports as a “non-aggression pact” against the SEC after the Big 12 was destabilized following the losses of the Longhorns and Sooners. That power grab tipped the scales toward the SEC in future college athletics dealings.

College athletics as a whole remains wary of the SEC and ESPN dominating … everything. Big 12 revenues will decline by at least 50% with the losses of Texas and Oklahoma. It would serve ESPN well financially if the Big 12 were to fade away as that would be one less set of TV rights to pay out.

Locally, Penn State and Rutgers are in a good position here. They’re in a stable conference that is going to be part of this new “alliance.” And the Big 12 shakeup probably will not impact Temple at all, unless the Big 12 goes after Houston or Southern Methodist or one of the AAC teams that the Owls play in their conference.

I mentioned this in a previous story, but the Big 12 could proceed with the eight remaining teams and then add four to get back to 12, which would make the league look like this:

  • Texas Tech
  • Baylor
  • Kansas State
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma State
  • West Virginia
  • Iowa State
  • TCU
  • Houston
  • SMU
  • Boise State
  • BYU

That’s a pretty good conference. Not a ton of television firepower, and no huge names at the top, but it would be pretty competitive and balanced. Other ideas floating around in space include Iowa State to the Big 10, Texas Tech to the Pac-12, and/or West Virginia to the ACC. WVU and Notre Dame going east would bring the ACC to 16, though I doubt the Domers ever give up their independent status and NBC TV deal.

College football, never a dull moment!

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