After the Big 12 secured their latest TV deal and Notre Dame cemented their annual five game arrangement with the ACC, fans everywhere though that we could finally put the recent conference realignment to rest and just enjoy football every Saturday (and Gus Johnson calling games, of course). However, latest reports have Maryland heading to the Big Ten, with Rutgers poised to follow suit to give the aforementioned conference a total of 14 programs starting in 2014. What does this mean for the landscape of college football? More chaos.
ACC in an Unusual Spot
Traditionally, the ACC has been a conference of stability, keeping their core programs in tact and raiding other conferences for new members (more specifically their little sister, the Big East). However, in a move that stunned all college football fans on Saturday, Maryland initiated discussions with the Big Ten conference to leave the ACC and find a new home for greener pastures. This now leaves the ACC with 13 programs heading into next season, including the recent Syracuse and Pittsburgh additions, and has many wondering whether or not superpowers such as Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech might explore their options in either the SEC or Big 12.
Big East Suffers Again
The upcoming loss of Rutgers might as well be the death knell for this once powerful conference. Despite finally finding some sort of stability recently and preparing for a 12-team league next season, the conference now finds itself short one program for a conference championship next season. Unfortunately, things get worse: reports indicate the ACC is looking at either UConn or Louisville to fill the Maryland void, and recent additions Boise State and San Diego State are re-evaluating their position in the Big Eat and coordinating backup plans with the MWC should the conference continue to disintegrate.
Race to 16 Begins
Back in 2009, the idea of super conferences seemed to be too grandiose of an idea to actually be implemented. Here we are now 3 years later and the possibility seems all the more likely as the shuffling continues. This could leave the ACC in a dangerous spot should the Big 12, Big Ten, and SEC stock up to reach that magical number of 16. If not, we’ll likely see five major conferences, with the Big East going the way of the Dodo bird sooner rather than later. Suffice it to say, we are in for an interesting Winter season full of rumours and speculation.
Image credit to bleacherreport.com