For most all college football fans, the announcement brought with it celebration, and why not?
Since the formation of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, teams from the Big 12 and the SEC have combined to appear in 12 of the last 14 BCS title games, winning 10 times, only adding to the believe that the two conferences are the best in all of college football.
Of course, with a new four-team playoff on the horizon, this Big 12-SEC bowl game may have to settle for second-place teams from each conference. But even if they do, it’s highly probable that the matchup would be a far more attractive one than, say the Orange Bowl, featuring whatever it can scrape up from what’s left of the ACC and Big East Conferences.
This bowl game between power conferences is nothing new, though. The Big 10 and Pac 12 having been doing this for years in a game called the Rose Bowl. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. And, technically, the Big 12 and SEC have already been partnering for awhile now in the Cotton Bowl, although this new bowl game promises to have way more hype in place of tradition.
And this may not be the last of the conference partnerships as sources have already indicated that the Big East would be “open” to talking to the ACC about a possible bowl game partnership. If that seems a little hard to swallow, considering the ACC just swooped in and took Pittsburgh and Syracuse away from the Big East, remember that the SEC just grabbed Missouri and Texas A&M from the Big 12, the same conference it now has a new deal with it.
Yes, money makes for some strange bedfellows when it comes to the world of college football.
Let’s face facts. College football isn’t necessarily about winning anymore. It’s about money, pure and simple. Teams are gravitating toward the big conferences because that’s where the big TV contracts and the money are.
Sure, winning helps you get a bigger piece of the pie, but just by being in a conference, you get a significant portion of the revenues, even if you stink on a regular basis. It’s the reason why Vanderbilt, who will never even sniff the SEC Championship Game, would never leave the conference of their own accord.
But I have a feeling not everyone is particular happy about this Big 12-SEC deal, especially one Mr. John Swofford.
Swofford is the commissioner of the ACC, and if he wasn’t sweating buckets and chewing his nails down to nubs when this announcement was made, he should be.
As it stands, the ACC has far fewer “basketball schools” than they do “football schools”, and perhaps the biggest bell cow on the football side, Florida State, is already letting it be known that a move to the Big 12 is something they’d consider in the perhaps not-so-near future.
The Seminoles already aren’t very happy that the new TV deal between the ACC and cable sports giant ESPN is for less money than the deal the Big 12 got, and even more money could be available with this new Big 12-SEC bowl game.
Add to that the fact that the Big 12, even with the addition of TCU and West Virginia, will have just 10 members this season. That means no conference championship game in 2012 and the loss of millions of dollars of revenues that the game would bring.
The Big 12 isn’t going to sit around and lose all that money forever, so it’s safe to assume that at some point, calls will be made and we could very well see Florida State bolt for the greener pastures of the Big 12. It also isn’t a stretch to think that FSU could bring Miami with them, opening up new TV and recruiting markets for the Big 12 in the Sunshine State.
If that happens, the SEC should be the one to make the next move.
If I’m SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, and I see FSU and Miami leave the ACC for the Big 12, I’m immediately making calls to Clemson and Georgia Tech.
The SEC can offer way more money to both those schools, shorter travel distances to big rivals, and a chance to complete for titles in both football AND men’s basketball, since (save for Kentucky), men’s basketball is usually wide open every year. The Tigers and Yellow Jackets would also give SEC baseball a boost, Clemson is as close to an SEC football school as the ACC has, and it just makes too much sense to bring Tech back to the SEC for the first time since 1963.
You place both of those teams in the Eastern Division with Missouri moving to the West (where they belong anyway), and suddenly you have what might be a perfect 16-team SEC.
Of course, maybe we’re all jumping the gun on this. Maybe this new Big 12-SEC Bowl Game won’t have the domino effect that it could have. Maybe the ACC will be just fine after all, even if teams start bolting for other conferences. Besides, didn’t the Southwest Conference do just fine after Arkansas left for the SEC?
Scott Herpst is Sports Editor of the Walker County Messenger.