Every day it seems like the ACC is going fall deeper and deeper into Conference Realignment chaos. Today, I would like to hold a make-believe ACC team draft with the SEC and B1G picking. Which conferences would get which teams if all ACC teams were available tomorrow?
Why do this draft? First, I believe the NETWORKS (Fox, ESPN/ABC) are going to control this process. Both NEED to be satisfied they are getting sufficient value for their media rights deals with the SEC (ESPN/ABC) and B1G (Fox).
Please don't get too upset with this. It is meant as a tool to discuss what is happening behind the scenes and my guess to what will happen.
Don't worry Big 12 fans, the Big 12 will be allowed to pick too. Just not until later.
Since ESPN/ABC owns the rights to the ACC and the ACC Network, they will be given the first pick with the SEC.
SEC/ESPN/ABC- North Carolina- This may shock some fans. Many folks engaged with what is happening are reporting that UNC is THE most coveted program in the ACC. UNC brings a legendary program in basketball, a competitive football program, and it is the biggest brand in the state on North Carolina. State officials did alert the conferences that picking UNC meant they would be getting North Carolina State too. While the SEC/ESPN/ABC team is not thrilled with this, North Carolina is worth it.
B1G/Fox- Florida State- The B1G wants to access Florida and Florida St. delivers a national brand while doing that. This was probably assumed to be the favorite.
SEC/ESPN/ABC- This group is debating and asking for more time. The know they would like to annex Virginia into the conference too. The also know that the state of Virginia has made it clear that if they take Virginia they MUST take Virginia Tech. Some in the conference are lobbying hard for Clemson. The secret is that the B1G does not really want either. The clock runs out on the pick.
B1G/Fox- Miami- Another stunner for some. The B1G is committed to their Florida plan. Florida St. Gives them north and central Florida and Maimi gives them access to fans in south Florida.
SEC/ESPN/ABC- Clemson- The "It Just Means More" Crowd wins out as South Carolina flips from opposing this pick to advocating for it when told by Clemson that the rivalry game is dead if Clemson is not invited to the SEC.
SEC/ESPN/ABC- Duke- The SEC boys jump in and pick twice in a row because well, they want to. In a shocking move though they pick Duke. They don't want to add five or six so they go back to North Carolina and pick Duke.
B1G/Fox- Virginia- The Fox team was ready to protest until they heard Duke. So once again the SEC picks a program the B1G did not want. The B1G knows they are signing up for Virginia Tech too and they are ok with it.
Both sides agree they are done and unlock the door to let the Big 12 in.
The Big 12 claims the rights to negotiate Pitt, Louisville, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and Cal and is mad they could not get Duke. SMU tries to beg the Big 12 to let it in, and the Texas conference schools begrudgingly agree. The table below shows the new conferences after the SEC and B1G had this fictional draft of the ACC schools to join their conferences.
This would leave Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Boston College with no place to go other than Group of Five or maybe the Ivy League.
The good news for the ACC is there will be no such draft. However, I am not sure the end result in 3 to 5 years for the ACC will be much different.
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