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College Football Analysis: Should FSU, Clemson Leave ACC for Big 12?

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Our ACC football Conference Conversations continue today with a Q & A session what our panel thinks of Florida State, and maybe even Clemson, leaving the ACC for the Big 12.

Joining us once again to discuss ACC football will be Brandon Rink from ACC Blogger, Chris Colston, the author of the HokieFootball Annual and our very own ACC football expert, Jimmy Shivers of The Saturday Edge.

Question # 4: What are your thoughts on FSU (and maybe Clemson) leaving the ACC for the Big 12?


Brandon RinkACC Blogger: If there is the juice to it some think, it’s an unfortunate byproduct of today’s mentality in college sports. It’s all about the money and power and less about one of college football’s better attributes, tradition.

Of course, the ACC can’t really cry foul when its commish John Swofford admitted to courting Big 12 schools last year and stole teams away from the Big East twice in the last decade. I don’t buy FSU and Clemson leaving for the reason of not being able to compete for national titles in the ACC moving forward, but if they feel like they’re falling behind in the arms-race with rivals, the Tigers and ‘Noles have to make the move that’s in the best interest of staying competitive.

Chris ColstonThe HokieFootball Annual: It makes no sense at all. The money isn’t prohibitively better, the travel costs skyrocket, there are no regional rivalries, and they’d be second citizens to Texas. Why would the big egos at those schools want to play little brother to the Longhorns? If it were the SEC, I could see it, but I don’t think the SEC cares to expand in markets they’ve already got. IF the SEC expands, Virginia Tech and NC State make more sense, but I don’t know that either of those schools is interested in leaving the ACC.

Jimmy ShiversThe Saturday Edge: As a lifelong fan of the ACC, the idea of losing Florida State (and potentially Clemson among others) is nothing short of a death blow for the league as we know it.  Basketball was what made this league a landmark, but the league nearly unanimously decided to let football attempt to carry the water when they first voted to raid the Big East back in ’03 and really kick-started this whole conference expansion saga.  That similar tactics by the Big 12 or someone else could cause the ACC’s demise carries an irony that is pretty hard to miss.   It looks like the ACC will survive in-tact this season, but I think the writing is on the wall.

Once a 4-team playoff structure is in place you will really see the dominoes start to fall, and then this realignment will more closely resemble a mad scramble as the members of the dissolving leagues (likely the Big East and ACC) scramble for cover.

From there its as much a political and legal game as an economical one (just what we all became fans of college football for, right?) that is really hard to  predict.  While it is relatively easy to expect schools like Duke to give up on big time NCAA football and look to form another basketball-centered conference, all of these schools have made significant expenditures in the NCAAFB arms race and won’t give it up without a fight.

What is the best approach now that we know NCAAFB is changing forever?  My idea is based on a  relegation system similar to what is found in European soccer.  We stick with the relatively new idea of 4 major conferences that feed into a playoff system, with the memberships of these leagues (football only) open to rotation based on performance.

Teams that do poorly will fall down to a lower league (with a chance to return the next year) and teams successful in the lower league will get to come up into the big boy leagues.  League affiliation would be based on regional location  In the other (non-revenue) sports we would keep conference affiliations regional and save everyone a bunch of money and time wasted on needless travel (your welcome, San Diego St).

This would give everyone at least a shot at the big time, without taking away the advantages the power brokers will work so hard to preserve.  I have a lot of ideas for this, but in the interest of brevity will save them for another time.  Some may counter that this would annihilate the tradition that we love about college football, but isn’t it doing that on its own?

Join us tomorrow for our final installment of ACC football. We’ll be looking at the ACC football opener between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in more detail.

What are your thoughts on FSU and Clemson leaving the ACC? Please feel free to leave us your thoughts and opinions down below in the comments section. Thanks – Pez.

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