Add a pair of names to the conference movement discussion, and they are biggies: Florida State and Clemson. Right now, we’re at a rumor stage…and that’s at best. But if there’s fire to this smoke, it’s a veritable inferno.
Two sites on the Bloguin Network, Cemetery Hill and Eer Insider, are confident enough in unnamed sources to go public with rumors of Clemson and Florida State bolting the ACC for the Big 12. It’s like June 2010 all over again, when conference realignment speculation added names, dropped names, arose with a scenario one minute and a direct contradiction the next — and that was just from Chip Brown’s Twitter account.
If you remember that heated month of realignment talks, Brown gained Twitter followers faster than Sarah Phillips with an AMEX Black card, reporting up-to-the-minute information from unnamed sources. From Texas joining the Pac-10, to UT going independent, ultimately the Longhorns remained in the Big 12. The moral: until someone is willing to put his/her name to it, conference realignment chatter must be analyzed with skepticism. But it’s still worth analzying.
Clemson and Florida State departing for the Big 12 is a rumor certainly out of left field. Scratch that, out of left field is generous; if the ballpark was Wrigley Field, these rumors would be coming from somewhere off the Waveland Avenue rooftops. Aside from mild banter that FSU and CU would be good fits for the SEC, those are two programs that have laid dormant during these chaotic past 23 months. The motivation for leaving the ACC now is a head-scratcher. The conference added two members with a considerable television market (Pitt) and sizable fan base (Syracuse).
Meanwhile, writers were preparing their eulogies on the Big 12 not so long ago. The additions of West Virginia and TCU from the Big East gave the conference more stable footing, though it’s worth pointing out both were spurred to move by the ACC adding ‘Cuse and Pitt.
Part of my skepticism is that this is posturing, either to angle for ACC concessions, or pique the SEC’s interest. The SEC sits at 14, and expansion to two eastern programs would offset Texas A&M and Missouri’s presences. Much of the information leaked two summers ago comes off like posturing to strong-arm the Longhorn Network into a Big 12 TV deal, in retrospect. It’s only a theory with nothing substantive to it. Nevertheless, the cynic in me wonders with tinfoil cap firmly on head. Frankly, I have no idea until it’s official. Past expansion rumors have proven that.
None of the above is meant to take the blogs running this rumor to task. Quite the contrary — the writers showed serious conviction to their sources going public with this chatter. Should this story bear fruit, Cemetery Hill and Eer Insider would have been far ahead of the curve; so far ahead in fact, they were ahead of it before any of us knew a curve existed.
Cemetery Hill went into greater detail, mentioning the Big 12 contributing to ACC buyout fees and a Jerry World home for a hypothetical Big 12 Championship. I suggest reading both reports, they are fascinating.