How ACC and Miami Hurricanes could be affected by SEC expansion

Oct 10, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports /

The impending defection from Oklahoma and Texas from the Big XII to the SEC will impact the other 128 FBS teams, particularly all Power Five conferences, including the Miami Hurricanes. The ACC will have many options on how to respond but is bound by a TV deal through 2036 that is viewed as antiquated by some analysts.

The Miami Hurricanes and Virginia Tech were part of the first major wave of expansion for the ACC in 2004. Georgia Tech was the first team to join the conference after the eight founding members in 1953. Six of those founding members remain. South Carolina left the ACC in 1971 and Maryland went to the Big 10 in 2014.

The Gamecocks joined the SEC In 1991, the same year the ACC added Florida State. North Dame (except for football), Pittsburgh and Syracuse joined the ACC in 2013 and Louisville was added in 2014. The ACC was part of a major expansion of the Power Five conferences in the mid-2010s that eliminated the Big East for football.

The Miami Hurricanes were a Big East member from 1991-2004. Boston College and Virginia Tech were founding members of Big East Football. Louisville, Notre Dame (not football) and Pittsburgh were all in the Big East. The fallout for the AAC could be similar. Pete Thamel of Yahoo sports summarized the ACC.

"“This is all sub-optimal for the American Athletic Conference, as it’ll be a familiar trickle-down. In a similar food chain fallout that followed the ACC cannibalizing the Big East a decade ago…One thing that could help the Big 12 recalibrate is that the Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten wouldn’t have much interest in any of the remaining schools…The loss of Texas as an option is a huge blow to the ACC’s ambitions, as multiple sources indicated that the ACC was caught by surprise Wednesday.The ACC’s other big play was Notre Dame, but the league failed to use any leverage it had on Notre Dame as a quasi-member the past few years. The new College Football Playoff proposal doubles as a security blanket for Notre Dame’s independence, which means little incentive for it to find a league home.And that hints at another potential ripple from this move – is this going to be remembered as the pivot point toward super conferences?…The ripples of this potential SEC deal will be felt from coast to coast. And it’s not good news for any of the other leagues because of how much ESPN oxygen this sucks up.As one industry source put it: “The current schools in the SEC wouldn’t agree to this if all of a sudden their games are relegated to ESPNU. It’s not just money, it’s exposure…The Big Ten leverage the potential of its next deal with a move to answer, adding Virginia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson to cover the league’s Eastern flank and fortify the Interstate 95 corridor? There will be pressure on Warren to be bold.But the ACC is protected by a grant of rights through the length of its TV deal. ‘It’s about combining forces now,” said a high-ranking college official. “Who teams up with who? Do we end up with four leagues? Do we end up with three? Or do we go to a 32-team NFL model. This is going to be earth-shattering.'”"

The moves by Oklahoma and Texas are occurring for multiple reasons. The move to the SEC will provide the Sooners and Longhorns with more competitive schedules that will look good for the college football playoffs. The TV contract the SEC will get as a superleague will render more money for Oklahoma and Texas.

Finally as Thamel said Oklahoma and Texas will receive more exposure. A common misperception about the potential of Notre Dame joining the ACC is that the Fighting Irish hesitate because of their television contract with NBC. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick spoke about the reason for them to stay independent.

The Big 10 is unlikely to add all five of the ACC teams mentioned by Thamel. That would increase the Big 10 to a 19 team conference. Two of those five are certainly possible. The addition of Clemson would slightly balance out the dominance of the ACC with the Tigers and Ohio State proving two top 10 programs.

Clemson and one other teams potentially moving on to the ACC to join former conference member Maryland would create other opportunities for the conference. A departure by Clemson would also take attention away from the conference. The Pac 12 has been nearly irrelevant nationally without an elite team in recent seasons.

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The impending moves by Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC will be felt throughout college football. The SEC is about to become more dominant and more relevant than it currently is. ACC teams and the Miami Hurricanes need an updated TV contract and the ACC network to become more important to compete.