Conference realignment has been pushed into overdrive. Schools are hopping conferences, while leagues that arent the Big Ten and SEC are scrambling. The ACC is negotiating a cross-conference championship with the ACC, but also is having teams rumored to leave. They may need to add schools if some exit. Here are Schools the ACC should consider adding.
1. Notre Dame
Notre Dame is already in the league for other sports, so getting the Fighting Irish to join would be a huge get for the conference. This should be the conference’s first call as the addition of Notre Dame would help the television money and could convince other schools to stay in the conference. If Notre Dame does join a conference, it appears that they would join the Big Ten because of the television money the conference can offer, but the ACC could really re-negotiate with a brand like the Fighting Irish joining the conference.
2. West Virginia
The Big 12 is trying to get other teams to join from the Pac-12, but haven’ had any success. If West Virginia doesn’t like the direction the Big-12 is going, whether teams leave for bigger conferences or not, they could opt to leave for a better offer. In the ACC, they’d already have one of their rivals in Pittsburgh and some familiar faces from their Big East days.
When Texas and Oklahoma announced they were leaving for the SEC, the Big 12 added some schools, including Cincinnati. The Bearcats have some history in college basketball and some more recent history in college football as they are coming off a season of making the College Football Playoff. Like West Virginia, Cincinnati has some familiarity with some teams in the ACC from their days in the Big East.
UCF is set to join the Big 12 with Cincinnati, but they are playing in a conference that will have them traveling a lot. A conference like the ACC fits more of the geography that would suit them and could end up being a better conference. They have a large enrollment as well and have had successful football teams over the last decade. A move to more teams per conference is imminent, so if the ACC stays together, they should consider poaching UCF.
Memphis has been one of the teams left in the AAC, as others joined bigger conferences. They have some history on the gridiron and on the hardwood. The Tigers also add another solid television market. Memphis would jump at the opportunity to join the conference and could provide a little value when the conference negotiated TV rights.
6. Oklahoma State
Things are going nuts and no one knows where conference realignment is really going. Teams are joining conferences even if it doesn’t make geographic sense. One of the biggest schools that has not yet joined the Big Ten or SEC is Oklahoma State. Oklahoma, their rivals, have joined the SEC and if things don’t go well in the Big 12, they could be tempted to jump ship.
Oregon tried to join the Big Ten, but they are waiting on Notre Dame. A Big 12/Pac-12 mashed up conference could happen, but would that satisfy what Oregon wants? The Ducks are one of the biggest brands without a set future and the ACC could offer a nice alternative, even if it is clear across the country.
The college football landscape is moving things quickly. If the ACC wants to remain a conference or at least a viable one, they need to start exploring all options to keep the conference afloat.
Make sure to check out our college football page for more content like Schools the ACC Should consider adding!