Syracuse Orange: Analyst rips ACC as Cal, Stanford, SMU being explored

Syracuse Orange (Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse Orange (Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

Leaders of the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which the Syracuse Orange is a member, are exploring the potential of adding several schools, according to a report.

Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports reported on Tuesday that ACC league presidents are looking at the possibility of adding Pac-12 Conference members Stanford and California, as well as SMU out of the American Athletic Conference.

Per Dellenger, during a meeting on Tuesday, ACC administrators discussed potentially adding all three schools or just the two Pac-12 members. Pete Thamel of ESPN reported on Monday regarding the ACC’s exploratory discussions on Cal and Stanford, as the Pac-12 has seen its membership dwindle to four.

Dellenger noted that SMU has held discussions with several leagues, including the Big 12 Conference, the Pac-12 and the ACC, for more than a year as it has tried to join a power conference. SMU is based in Dallas, one of the largest media markets around the country.

A key piece in Dellenger’s article is when he wrote that SMU “is open to forgoing conference distribution pay for its first several years in a new league.”

Might the Syracuse Orange see an expansion of its ACC peers?

All of the conference realignment chaos these days is driven by college football and television money. At the heart of the ACC’s situation is the conference’s grant of rights deal, which runs until 2036 and appears airtight.

Florida State officials have voiced their displeasure with the league’s current revenue-distribution model. The ACC is way behind the Big Ten Conference and the Southeastern Conference as far as television dollars are concerned, and now the ACC is also having to fend off the Big 12 for the No. 3 spot.

According to reports, it would cost any ACC member a boatload of cash to bolt the league, and costly and lengthy legal battles would likely ensue. But if the perception evolves to a place where the ACC is viewed as likely to collapse, Florida State, Clemson and maybe others might want to depart for greener pastures.

Of course, that would mean another, stronger conference, such as the Big Ten, the SEC or perhaps even the Big 12, would want to take on additional members. I came across this 247Sports story from earlier this week that stated both Virginia Tech and Virginia “are attractive to the SEC and Big Ten.”

There is a lot going on these days. Oklahoma and Texas are on their way to the SEC. The Big 12 has added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, along with Pac-12 members Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah. Fellow Pac-12 schools Southern California, UCLA, Oregon and Washington are going to the Big Ten.

As a result, the decimated Pac-12 is down to Cal, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington State. Yahoo Sports has reported this week that the Mountain West Conference is looking at expansion targets that may include Oregon State and Washington State.

What. A. Mess.

I get that the ACC wants to keep pace with the Big 12. I wish the Syracuse Orange never left the Big East Conference for the ACC in the 2013-14 term, but football dictates everything. I just hope that if the ACC ends up imploding at some point, the Syracuse Orange is able to catch on at one of the other remaining power conferences.

To me, the ACC discussing the possibility of adding Stanford, Cal and SMU smells like desperation. I get that regional rivalries and geographic proximity within conferences are getting thrown out the window amid the present landscape in collegiate athletics, but those three schools don’t seem to be a logical fit for the ACC, in my humble opinion.

I guess if the ACC ended up adding a larger cluster of west-coast schools, maybe that could make a bit more sense. I’m thinking of Stanford, Cal, Oregon State, Washington State and San Diego State, among others. Heck, we could keep the ACC moniker and make it the “All Coast Conference.”

One of the top college football analysts out there crushed the ACC’s discussions over possibly adding some Pac-12 teams.

Greg McElroy of ABC and ESPN, during a Tuesday appearance on ESPN’s television program Get Up, called the ACC’s exploratory talks “absurd … and their entire play is to keep Florida State at bay and to keep Clemson happy.” That’s according to an article from On3’s Nick Kosko.

"McElroy added in part, “there is absolutely nothing in this arrangement that would benefit the ACC. The only way that they survive is by keeping Florida State tied to their grant of rights. … If they can’t keep them tied to their grant of rights and they can find an exit, that means North Carolina can, Clemson can, NC State can, Virginia can and once those dominoes start to fall and the ACC as we know it will be no more.”"

And what McElroy describes is my biggest concern for our beloved Syracuse Orange. If the dominoes do fall, and eventually the ACC does dismantle, what happens if the Big Ten, the Big 12 or the SEC doesn’t want to invite SU in?

Will the Syracuse Orange have to join a mid-tier conference? Because if that did occur for the ‘Cuse, given the football revenue SU relies on to fund its Olympic sports, that could have a catastrophic effect on Syracuse Orange athletics.

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