The Wild West
Conference realignment is a tale as old as time (I hope Disney doesn’t sue me for that), and has really blown up in the last few days. With the report that Oklahoma and Texas have reached out to the SEC about joining, rumors and possibilities are flying.
Two blue blood programs exploring options outside of their current home in the Big 12 is already sending seismic shifts throughout the college football landscape. Texas A&M and Oklahoma State have already voiced their displeasure with these reports, but it won’t just be the Aggies and Cowboys that are affected by this.
Of course, the reports made their way to ACC media days, and new commissioner Jim Phillips verbally committed to making football the top priority for the league. This made me wonder– if all of this shakes out like it’s being reported, how does that effect Florida State?
The last few rounds of big time realignment gave FSU new conference games against Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and arch rival Miami. What could the moves from Texas and Oklahoma bring to FSU and the opponents on their schedule?
Obviously the SEC adding two teams doesn’t directly affect the ‘Noles, but it certainly could indirectly shake things up. The ACC could look towards another expansion to match the 16 teams that the SEC would have. Notre Dame makes a lot of sense. The incentive for the Fighting Irish to join the league as a football member isn’t there, but that’s where the new commissioner Jim Phillips has to step in and step up. Adding a national brand like Notre Dame would not only bolster the conference strength, but would add another consistent marquee match up for FSU.
From there, who would the ACC add of value? West Virginia, UCF, and Cincinnati have all been linked to the conference in the past. Could they look to the other remaining Big 12 universities to add some power five programs? Oklahoma State, Kansas State, TCU, and Iowa State are all viable options if the ACC does look to broaden its borders. That would add interesting new conference opponents for the ‘Noles and its conference foes.
The scenario I mentioned previously does the same for Clemson and Miami that it does for FSU, but what about the team in Gainesville? Adding conference games against Texas and Oklahoma would certainly make their trek to the college football playoff a lot more difficult. It would also add more money to the Gators’ pockets… a lot more money. More money and more notoriety for your rival would certainly work to the detriment of FSU.
FSU on the Move?
What if this thing gets a little crazy and FSU leaves the ACC? It’s been bandied about that the SEC has reached out to multiple schools, including FSU about joining the conference. This wouldn’t the first time that Florida State has been linked to the Southeastern Conference. While this seems like an unlikely scenario, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. Pairing with rivals Miami and Clemson, and programs like Michigan and Ohio State, could create a new “super” league that would almost certainly dominate college football. The move would line pockets in Tallahassee and add more stability than its current place inside the ACC.
A Reimagined Landscape
Whether or not two teams changing its conference affiliation will dramatically effect the ‘Noles remain to be seen. However, this looks to be just the first domino to fall in this set of conference realignment. Hopefully, whatever shakes out is to the benefit of Florida State athletics, it’s student athletes and the university as a whole.