Conference Realignment: What Missouri and TCU Mean for the ACCPosted by KCarpenter on October 6th, 2011
The two big stories to come out of the conference realignment circus in the past few days involve Missouri, Texas Christian University, and the Big 12, yet both of these stories have potentially huge ramifications for the ACC. Despite a an attempt at a unity-preserving meeting of the Big 12 schools, it didn’t take long for Missouri’s wandering eyes to fix on to the greenest of green pastures of the SEC. The implications of this move would leave the SEC set at a balanced and reasonable number of 14 teams, making a raid on the ACC football powers like Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson, and Florida State moderately less attractive. In turn this means that the ACC is more likely to not make additional moves, standing pat itself at a reasonable 14 teams (with a willingness to grow only if Notre Dame is involved). The end result of this domino effect, at least according to some Connecticut fans, is that UConn looks increasingly less likely as a candidate to move to the ACC.
Now, today, Texas Christian University threw a monkey wrench into all of this conference alignment calculus. Instead of eventually going to the Big East, TCU has received an invitation to join the Big 12, an invitation that TCU seems almost certain to accept. This is not great news for the Big East which seems to be showing more and more stress lines these days. The departure of TCU doesn’t bode well either for West Virginia or Louisville staying in a league that’s about to become even less of a factor in football. If those schools leave, then it seems like Notre Dame’s current positive feelings about the Big East may soon diminish, and maybe the ACC starts to look like an okay place to be. UConn would be only too happy to come along, but it seems that many Connecticut fans see the TCU news mostly as a bad omen, projecting a future where the Big East remains drained and the Huskies are stranded in the ruins of a once great conference.
For the ACC, the story is much simpler: Barring a now-unexpected SEC raid on ACC teams, or some really panicked maneuvering on the part of Connecticut, the Atlantic Coast Conference seems unlikely to expand anytime soon.