This week, Big 12 Conference officials met in Dallas to discuss the future of the conference amid all of the changes going on in the college football landscape in terms of conference expansion and conference realignment. New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby stated that the group voted unanimously to explore forming an alliance with other conferences. Though he didn’t mention which one(s), one can figure he is most likely talking about the ailing Atlantic Coast Conference.
So what would a possible alliance entail? Most likely it would include bowl tie-ins as well as shared scheduling in football and basketball.
The Big Ten Conference has been very proactive in trying to lure teams, and they’ve reached out to various ACC schools, including Florida State University, Georgia Tech, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Virginia. If they are successful in drawing even one of these schools, we could see the end of the ACC.
Florida State seems to be the one holding the cards here. It’s no secret that they are exploring their options, and rumors are that both the Big Ten and the Big 12 could be interested in adding them.
The only thing that could keep ACC schools from bolting could be an alliance with a larger conference, namely, the Big 12. That would be great new for the ACC, however, would an alliance with the ACC be the best thing for the Big 12?
That all depends on what the other conferences are doing.
I’ve stated before that it’s in the best interest of the Big 12 to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of conference realignment.
For now, I would think their best move would be to try and pull Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, the University of Miami and/or some of the other schools into the fold rather than forming an alliance with a conference that is on its last leg. It seems like we are on the cusp of the first “Super Conference” and the Big 12 cannot afford to sit back and wait for that to happen without first making a bold move.
That said, who knows if Bowlsby is being completely open when speaking of possibilities or if he is just playing poker. For the sake of the future of the Big 12, I hope it’s the latter.