It’s All About The Money

By: Robert Craft news services

I believe the official date for Clemson and FSU to inform the ACC of their intended departures for the 2025 season would be Aug. 15.

So, that would mean we would either have some form of resolution in court by then, which is not likely considering how it affects conferences across college football. The only other option, which is more likely, would be to settle out of court.

If it’s the latter, and FSU and Clemson part ways, ESPN will smartly decide in February not to pick up its ACC TV package through 2036.

That would send the ACC into Pac-12 territory, forcing it to sign a cheaper TV deal beyond 2027 (without its two megastars) or a straight-up league breakup in which some could end up fleeing to the Big 12 or even forming a new league.

My guess is there will be a group of ACC schools not getting into the SEC,  Big Ten, or Big 12.  The remaining teams will want to stick together in some form and take a cheaper TV deal to remain “mid-majors.”

We can sit here and debate which schools those are, or you can simply look at TV ratings and TV markets for the past few years and put two and two together.

Either way, not everyone is getting an invite to the Big 2 or a Super League. If FSU or Clemson has to spend a few years in purgatory (the Big 12) to get to the SEC or Big Ten, they’ll do it to get out of having to stick around in the ACC through 2036.

I just don’t think we’re going to see a 24-team Big Ten or a 24-team SEC down the road. Remember, the SEC’s TV deal runs with ESPN through 2033-34 and the Big Ten’s deal runs with CBS, NBC and Fox through 2029-30.

There’s no incentive for the schools in those leagues to add any more schools when they’ve got such a huge financial advantage in college football, unless they’re competing to sign top “free agent” schools such as FSU and Clemson or another school they value like North Carolina.

That essentially leaves the other ACC programs behind to come up with a solution to remain relevant and fund their athletic programs. The ACC will not completely fold.

Wait, I love this idea. I don’t know how likely it is, but I’m not sure anything in college football could surprise me anymore. Oregon State and Washington State need somewhere to land anyway, and if Clemson and Florida State bounce, the ACC should just lean into being totally unhinged. Give me Pac-12 after-dark vibes, every hour of every day.