The ACC, B1G, And Pac-12 Formed An Alliance, But Why?

The ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 announced some sort of ‘alliance’ in principle today, presumably meant to insulate them against further conference expansion issues.

The three conferences released a wordy press release detailing their shared love of academia, social equity, and competition; a real masterclass in burying the truth under many layers of fluff and noise. In truth, there’s only one elephant in the room, and therefore one reason to form this little faux-Justice League: how to stay up to speed with the juggernaut that is the SEC.

Presumably the rough plan is to schedule more marquee non-conference games with each other, thus elevating their collective products for television investors.

According to the press release, the football scheduling portion of the alliance will feature additional attractive matchups across the three conferences while continuing to honor historic rivalries and the best traditions of college football.

The release goes on to frame the new scheduling component as an opportunity for student-athletes and new level of excitement for fans, both of which may be true. But the only reason any measures are being taken whatsoever is because the SEC added Oklahoma and Texas, both of which would have also been gladly accepted by ANY other conference given the opportunity. So now, with the SEC becoming a villain in the eyes of other conferences, the ‘Jim Phillips’ of the world are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

“The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 recognize the unique environment and challenges currently facing intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud and confident in this timely and necessary alliance that brings together like-minded institutions and conferences focused on the overall educational missions of our preeminent institutions,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “The alliance will ensure that the educational outcomes and experiences for student-athletes participating at the highest level of collegiate athletics will remain the driving factor in all decisions moving forward.”

Translation: we’re going to water down our own traditions and step on our programs’ national reputations to stay relevant. True, USC playing Miami will be cool at first, but over time the non-conference alliance games will ultimately hurt the resumes of possible CFP contenders. The CFP is on the inevitable verge of expansion, and with it will come seats at the table for teams (and entire conferences) that haven’t been good enough to qualify often in the past seven years. In other words, college football as an entity itself is about to buoy every school’s media viability without the need to sacrifice anything.

The alliance may not be a bad thing for college football, but it’s strange and likely over-hyped nevertheless. When the dust settles, the SEC will still be producing a superior top-down product as compared to the other conferences, but the football postseason will celebrate every conference more equally than ever before. Why take steps toward a conference-less football landscape when they’ve been proven to add so much regional intrigue and interest over the years?

Written by TK Sanders


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  1. ANY press release about Big Time College FB (or BB) that leads with any reference (veiled or direct) to “academic integrity” is going to contain a LOT of other BS too.

    Big Time College FB didn’t care about “academic integrity” back in the days of Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski and certainly not in recent eras.

    I’m fine with The Alliance as long as it preserves Traditional Rivalries which this purports to do. I would rather see UNC play Wisconsin or UCLA than Wofford or JamesMadison.

    • Agreed. All this talk about academic credentials is a non-starter for me. Sure some of the schools in the Big 10, Pac-12 and ACC are great institutions of higher learning, but get real none of the CFB or MBB talk has any thing to do with academics. It is about $$$$$$$$$$$$.

  2. Sounds like they are still playing in the past when you had to placate the NCAA with false allegiance to academics. The SEC realized years ago that football and basketball are cash cows and the NCAA doesn’t kill cash cows (after USC, at least) over academics (i.e. North Carolina). Now with NIL, the rest of the world is playing catch-up.

    Maybe this will make for more exciting games, but the SEC is way out in front

    • Maybe the SEC doesn’t care about education but the PAC-12 does. Coaches at Oregon check grades every day, to be sure their players are keeping up their academics. It’s not hard to see the SEC only cares about winning, considering many of their players can’t speak decent English or spell worth a crap.

      • Wait, you mean the PAC-12 which includes Oregon… which just got rid of Algebra from High School? OK, So where the Pac-12 gonna get their “math Scholars?”

        Mississippi? Arkansas? Tennessee? Texas?

        We may be “dumb rednecks,” but we know how to solve for “x” in 1+x = 2 (and we still find it moderately appropriate to be sure our kids can, too!)

        Yeah, keep trying to hold that educational “moral High ground.’ You are drowning in your own hypocrisy!

      • I am sure all coaching staffs check grades and make sure players are attending class and doing what they need to do in the classrooms to stay eligible. I believe the vast majority of coaches care about dudes graduating because 99% of them won’t play in the NFL or NBA. Even if they do and retire by 27 (on average) then what? The conferences claiming that re-alignment has anything to do with anything other than $$$$ is lying. That is the point where the shit gets thick. We aren’t stupid. This is all about TV contracts not how many Rhodes Scholars have walked the grounds of Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, Duke or UVA, etc.

      • LOL. I totally forgot Jeremiah Masoli was working on his PhD in nuclear physics all those years in Eugene.

        The only school in the PAC that actually cares about academics is Stanford. And I say this as an Arizona alum who has heard that ridiculous claim for decades while seeing the opposite unfold repeatedly

  3. So they can become the axis powers? Who inevitably get overwhelmed by superior force?

    Miami vs USC. Freedom vs Communism, is that how it will be billed? First the teams actually have to get better and relevant first.

    Leave it to the shitty conferences to ruin everything.

  4. I do not believe creating these mega conferences will go well in the long term. College football has always depended upon regional fan appeal based on the state and team. It’s a hometown/state pride kind of thing, not so much a national brand thing. There are only a handful of programs that have national fan bases, and even then they’re primarily focused locally. Trying to market and run college football like pro football is a gigantic miscalculation imo. USC and Michigan are one thing, but for every one of those you have 3-4 Oregon States or Boston Colleges no one cares about outside their local fans.

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