An Alliance, if you can keep it

So, Jed and Jed and Jed are about to make a Big Announcement.

The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to formally announce an alliance, which pending final approvals could come as early as Tuesday, sources told Yahoo Sports. The Athletic first reported the possibility of an announcement this week.

The Alliance will center on a shared vision for the future governance of college athletics. For now, the Alliance will mean the three leagues can, among other things, form a voting block that will blunt the growing influence of an expanded SEC. It also allows three leagues that consider themselves like-minded to gain voting power on issues as the NCAA’s influence diminishes.

Can you feel the excitement?

On the scheduling front, the idea is that each football team in the three conferences would play one opponent from each of the other two leagues on an annual basis.  Sounds great, until you get into the details.  The Big Ten and Pac-12 would evidently reduce their conference schedules from nine to eight in order to accommodate this.  (The ACC is already at eight.) Notre Dame would count as an ACC team for this purpose.  Even taking all of that into account, it seems like a bunch of guaranteed games would need to be bought out to make the numbers work.  That ain’t gonna happen, so shrinking conference schedules is really the only way in the short term to open up inventory for the Alliance.

Ah, but the spite!

The new scheduling should create additional marquee games and perhaps increased television money, while potentially squeezing the SEC in non-conference scheduling.

Four ACC teams have annual games with in-state SEC rivals — Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Florida State-Florida and Louisville-Kentucky. Those games would continue, but there would be a decided lack of available non-conference dates for other SEC teams seeking major opponents.

Somehow, I don’t think Greg Sankey is losing any sleep over that possibility.  As I’ve said before, I’ll wait to see which Alliance school is the first to turn down a $5 million pay day to face ‘Bama in a neutral site opener.  Besides, if the SEC needs more big games, it can always increase the conference schedule; that’s what adding Oklahoma and Texas gives you.

What’s striking to me here is while the Alliance purports to be wary of ESPN’s influence, it’s adopting the exact approach Mickey already embraced that’s likely to diminish traditional passions for college football.  Dropping a conference game so that Oregon State can face Georgia Tech is the kind of swapping regionalism for national appeal that ESPN has openly pushed since the CFP came into existence.  Sure, there’s a shiny toy aspect to it that will drum up appeal in the short run, but it won’t take long for the viewing public to look for newer, shinier toys.

And that’s the thing.  If you’re hungry for a national appeal for college football, the NFL is already there for you and will likely do a better job of it.

The irony here is that the SEC, whether it’s forced into it by the other three P5s or willingly accepts it, is looking like it will be the last regional holdout.  My bet is that five to ten years from now, the Alliance is going to be comparing broadcast ratings between them and the SEC and wondering what went wrong.

As far as the rest goes, well, if the Alliance is that hung up about ESPN that they’re willing to forego playoff expansion for another few years, more power to them.  It’s not as if the SEC is going to be shut out.  And such a power play isn’t likely to win the three of them many friends between the G5 and Notre Dame.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention the Big 12 there.  That’s because the one thing it appears the Alliance will accomplish in the short run is to kill the Big 12 off for good.  The only question is how long Bowlsby’s conference clings to OU and UT to stave off complete collapse before 2025.  Enjoy it while it lasts, fellas.

In the meantime,

When they say it isn’t about the money…


Filed under ACC Football, Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football

41 responses to “An Alliance, if you can keep it

  1. 79dawg

    One thing you don’t mention above – if The Alliance (TM) is going to “soft boycott” scheduling SEC teams, (1) Mickey might have something to say about that and (2) the natural response to that by the SEC is to add a conference game, giving the SEC 8 more paydays and Mickey the opportunity to hype 8 more games.
    As I have said on here for awhile, the real power move would be for them to carve-up the Big 12, make peace with the SEC, and sell everyone’s TV rights collectively (ala the NFL), to get everyone on a much more equal and healthy footing. Instead, this quarter-measure just plays into the SEC’s continuing hegemony IMO….


  2. aim260

    The simp alliance of college football. Have fun in that circle boys…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so stupid on so many levels. First, money. Is ESPN going to agree to renegotiate the ACC media rights deal due to this? Likely no. Does this meaningfully increase the value of the Pac 12 to the east coast? Again, likely no. Second, talent. Does this stop the demographic change of high school football talent gathering in the SEC footprint (particularly, Florida, Georgia and Texas)? Nope. Does this make any of the schools a more attractive destination over the equivalent SEC school? No way. Does Notre Dame want to give up playing an SEC school for the recruiting exposure? No. Third, fan interest. Do Clemson fans want to give up games with an old SEC rival (Georgia) to play Washington? Doubtful. Will B1G and Pac 12 fans want to give up a conference game for a once in every 30 years trip to Notre Dame? Probably not.

    The big babies who are throwing a temper tantrum in San Francisco, Chicago and Greensboro (which one of these is not like the others?) are just making the SEC stronger. When none of the benefits materialize, I could see Clemson, FSU, Miami and UNC asking for admission to the SEC.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jcdawg83

    I really hope Georgia wins a national championship in the next four years. After that, college football is going to be pretty well uninteresting as ESPN and the greedy conferences will have turned it into the NFL.

    It was a good run.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. So much closer to my goal of 4 power conferences of 16! Each conference gets a little brother sub-conference of 16, add in some relegation and an 8 team playoff based on division championships and bing, bang, boom, college football is saved!


    • jcdawg83

      I like your idea but the fly in the ointment would be the sub conferences. They would start whining about “deserving” to be in the playoff almost immediately.

      Liked by 1 person

      • fisheriesdawg

        If you have relegation/promotion, that’s solved. I guess the champion of the sub-conferences might claim they could win the whole thing, but I doubt anyone would take them very seriously.


    • 606dawg

      Tennessee’s relegation would be one of the upsides to the superconference era.


  6. fisheriesdawg

    If this delays (or, if I really want to get excited, prevents) playoff expansion, I’m all for the alliance.

    I think the Big Ten will be the first to break ranks. They’re not the SEC, but they’re a lot closer to the SEC than they are to the ACC or Pac-12. If they get an opportunity to grab a team or two from the Big 12 or even one of their partners, they’ll do it. They’re ultimately going to be better off becoming one of the big two conferences vs. trying to keep it at four. The only way this dynamic changes is if we see a resurgence at FSU, Miami, and one other program like VT or UNC. The ACC at least has the recruiting footprint to field multiple powerhouse programs, but the Pac-12 will always be USC and one other challenger at best.


    • You don’t take new teams unless they add to the net bottom line.

      There isn’t a team left in the Big 12 that qualifies.


      • fisheriesdawg

        Agreed. That’s why I think it’s more likely that they poach teams from one of their partners. Again, if they can knock one of them out of the new Power Four, that’s a bigger pie from which to slice their pieces. The ACC would seem to be the most logical candidate. Then you’d have the Pac-12 out there operating in a weird quasi-status where it’s clearly behind the two strongest conferences, but still kinda sorta good enough to compete in the right year. That’s not going to demand a lot of TV revenue, though, and the eyeballs have to go somewhere.


      • SlobberKnocker

        Yep, this alliance is yet another nail in the Big 12’s coffin. After all the gnashing of teeth by the national media after the UT/OU move, I’m surprised at how little I’ve seen them recognize this.


      • fisheriesdawg

        One other off-the-wall idea: they actually end up creating a conference within three conferences for football scheduling purposes. In all other sports, the three remain intact. But for football, they create a premier league and match the best teams against one another. You could, for instance, make a 14-team league out of this year’s top 25:

        Ohio State
        Notre Dame
        Penn State
        Arizona State

        That’s the kind of lineup that could push the post-Texas/OU addition SEC for championships, TV dollars, and prestige.

        The remainder of the teams could go into an East/West or North/South split and still get a shot at the G5 playoff slot. Keep some room on the schedule for one or two traditional rivalries to stay in place with your current conference rivals.

        I’m not saying it’s what I want, but if they want to be anything other than staring at the SEC’s taillights in the future, something like this probably has to happen.


  7. W Cobb Dawg

    The alliance teams aren’t the only ones who could elbow out the competition via scheduling. If the sec started scheduling Thursday night games it would be a dagger to the heart for the acc.


    • You’re missing the bigger threat — the NFL getting Congress to lift the no Saturday games rule.


      • fisheriesdawg

        Yep. The NFL already killed the Thursday night games years ago.

        Outside of Labor Day weekend (no NFL) and Thanksgiving (Egg Bowl), Virginia @ Miami on 9/30, North Carolina @ Pitt on 11/11, and Louisville @ Duke on 11/18 are the only three Thursday night games matching up P5 teams against one another. The rest of it is mostly Sun Belt/WAC stuff for hardcore CFB fans.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Russ

          At least we’ll still have Tuesday night MACtion!


        • PTC DAWG

          Not many here want to acknowledge the power/draw of the NFL on a national level when it comes to TV games, etc…

          You are right, the NFL demolished the big Thursday night College games..for better or worse.


      • Yep…any threat to TV ratings, attendance, merchandising, etc. and the billionaire boy’s club of the NFL will act to slow the roll of CFB.


  8. spur21

    This is what you get when panic guides to decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. back9k9

    Yeah, remember when the ACC consumed the Miami & VA Tech from the Big East and everyone* thought (with Clempson, FSU, Miami, VA Tech) that they were going to overtake the SEC as the most dominant conference. I sure do. How’d that turn out?

    Not everone

    Liked by 1 person

  10. artistformerlyknownasbman

    If Tech replaces the Georgia game with an Alliance matchup, it may take more than 4 hotdogs and 4 cokes to peddle those tickets.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Nil Butron is a Pud


  12. practicaldawg

    This is hilarious. The only ones they’ll punish for avoiding SEC matchups is themselves. Ratings suck for ACC-only games. It will suck just as much to watch GT play “alliance” games with Northwestern.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. uga97

    The world holding its breath….this has gotta be bigger than Y2K when the clock hit midnight.


  14. stoopnagle

    LOL. This is all sweet and nice until FSU and Clemson call Sankey to join the SEC.


  15. stoopnagle

    3 days, 23 hours, and 40 minutes until the first kick off

    then all of this bullshit can take a back seat.

    alliance my ass

    Liked by 3 people