Syracuse Orange: If the ACC was to expand, here are teams to consider

Syracuse football, Oronde Gadsden II (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse football, Oronde Gadsden II (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

As conference realignment moves and chatter continue to percolate, it will be interesting to see if anything transpires within the Atlantic Coast Conference, where our beloved Syracuse Orange is a member.

The latest development, which happened in recent days, is that Pac-12 Conference squad Colorado will be heading home, so to speak, to the Big 12 Conference, according to a statement from the Big 12 on July 27.

Now, the Big 12 has added four other schools, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. Big 12 members Oklahoma and Texas will be leaving for the Southeastern Conference. Pac-12 teams Southern California and UCLA will be bolting for the Big Ten Conference.

It’s no secret that the Big Ten and the SEC are the dominant leagues in collegiate athletics. The ACC, though, appears to be trying to hold off the Big 12 for the No. 3 spot. Speculation is that the Pac-12, ultimately, will be toast.

An ESPN report from David Hale notes that ACC commissioner Jim Phillips is saying his league “continues to actively consider adding teams but has not found enough value in any expansion option.”

Could the Syracuse Orange and its ACC peers soon have new members within their ranks?

This week and in recent months, speculation has swirled around the Internet about current ACC members potentially leaving this conference, whether it’s Florida State or others. But the ACC’s grant of rights deal, which runs until 2036, is pretty airtight, from what I gather, meaning if an ACC squad wanted to bolt, that would prove extremely expensive and also could result in drawn-out legal issues.

When ACC officials and athletics directors conducted conference meetings this spring, an agreement was forged on a new postseason revenue-distribution model, “which would provide a larger slice of postseason revenue for teams that participate in the College Football Playoff and other revenue-generating events,” according to Hale.

Some reports this week suggest that the ACC possibly expanding could be a preventative measure to halt, or at least slow down, the growth of the Big 12.

Hale’s article said that ACC leaders have looked at potential expansion options, with targets such as West Virginia, SMU, Oregon and Washington. West Virginia, to me, makes a lot of sense. I’m not high on SMU as an ACC member, although it is located in Dallas, which is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country.

Brett McMurphy, a college football insider with Action Network, reported this week that the Big 12 plans to add “between one and three schools to join Colorado in 2024.” The Big 12 will first target Pac-12 schools, McMurphy said.

If no Pac-12 teams agree to head for the Big 12, McMurphy reported that the Big 12 would add a school from the Group of Five Conferences, mentioning schools such as UConn, Memphis, San Diego State and UNLV.

With all of this as a backdrop, I hit up some of my fellow ‘Cuse fans in a popular chat forum to see which school, or schools, they ideally would like the ACC to consider adding.

Washington and Oregon came up a lot. This makes sense. For one, I want to see Mike Hopkins-led Washington play Syracuse basketball as often as possible. The Huskies are a good football program, too, and Washington is in a good market, Seattle.

Oregon, in recent years, has put forth some strong basketball and football performances. It’s a big-name brand on a national scale. Syracuse basketball will face the Ducks this coming season in a non-conference encounter in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Other Pac-12 teams mentioned were Arizona State, Arizona, California, Stanford and Utah. Utah has a solid football program and would bring the Salt Lake City market. Stanford would bring the San Francisco market. Arizona State is in a big market as well, Phoenix.

Since geography doesn’t seem to matter much these days within the Power Five Conferences, I guess adding a few Pac-12 members to the ACC could be beneficial. Seems a little weird to me, but hey, we could call it the Bi-Coastal Conference or the Coast-to-Coast Conference, right?

Other squads noted by some Syracuse Orange fans were Notre Dame and UConn. Notre Dame is already an ACC member in sports besides football, but I don’t see the Fighting Irish giving up their independent football status anytime soon, if ever.

As for UConn, well, if the Huskies move to the ACC, can the Syracuse Orange head back to the Big East? I miss the old Big East.

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