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Jumbo Package: Might the SEC and ACC merge together?

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Alabama released its football events schedule yesterday. Homecoming this season will be October 23 against Tennessee, which is highly amusing and just the right amount of disrespect. There will be no Fan Day this year, which sadly means no Running of the Gumps.

For those following the Olympics, Haylie McCleney and the USA national team are taking on Japan as we speak in the gold medal game on NBC Sports Network. Coming into the game, Haylie has reached base on 14 of 18 plate appearances.

Jay Bilas thinks the ACC should try and beg its way into a merger with the SEC.

Bob Bowlsby would have undoubtedly loved such a merger as well, but the SEC was only interested in a couple of his programs. Based on absolutely nothing, I imagine that the SEC would be interested in Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, and the Virginia schools. That would create a 24 team league that would dominate both football and basketball, but several schools would again be left out in the cold.

In any case, the ACC is in a precarious position right now. Their ESPN deal is locked in through the 2035-36 season and falls well short of the SEC’s new contract, which alone is going to pay significantly more than the total annual ACC distribution to its member schools. The reality is that nobody other than Clemson fans care to watch Clemson beat up on Duke or Boston College or Wake Forest, which is a similar problem to the one faced by the Big 12 with Oklahoma. A cold dose of reality:

The ACC is well behind the Big Ten and SEC for a variety of reasons: The other two leagues were quicker to start television networks; both the Big Ten and SEC are, in general, full of larger state schools with larger alumni bases; the other two leagues have more football history and brand, and so on. Even more concerning for the ACC than the revenue gap itself is the rate at which it’s growing.

Ten years ago it was wide but not like this. And with the ACC locked into its media rights deal with ESPN through 2036, there’s no clear opening to make a significant dent in that disparity any time soon. It will continue to grow. The “Power 5” moniker has become part of the American college sports lexicon to describe the five largest conferences but really it’s a Power 2.

The writing seems to be on the wall, doesn’t it?

ESPN staff collaborated on a piece laying out the potential timeline and next steps for the Sooners and Longhorns.

The two most likely scenarios: Texas and OU either stick around through June 2025, or they could bolt for the SEC as early as 2022 and each pay a penalty of at least $75 million-$80 million. One source speculated that if the schools decide to stick around and the relationship sours to a point of deterioration within the rest of the conference, they could get to an even smaller settlement. If the Big 12 dissolves before the grant of rights contract expires, there is also the possibility Oklahoma and Texas would no longer be bound by it.

More clarification is also provided on the Big 12’s failed attempt in May to get the networks to renegotiate. Parties from Texas and/or Oklahoma apparently reached out to some respected media rights analysts and were told that the conference wouldn’t be in any better position to compete with the SEC deal when the current contract ends. Ergo, they left for greener pastures.

So, the most likely scenario here is two superconferences when all is said and done. If each had 24 teams divided into six pods, that would naturally create a 12 team playoff with the conference champions meeting for the national title. Sounds a lot like the NFL, doesn’t it?

So, what might that other superconference look like?

I realize that I’m the one who wrote last year that the Big 12 needed to take half the Pac-12. One of my reasons was that it would allow the Big 12 to win in an eat-or-be-eaten situation. That might have created a league attractive enough to convince Oklahoma and Texas to stay. But now that the SEC appears ready to chomp down on the Big 12, it’s time to pitch the Big Ten on an opportunity to make sure that the Power 5 shrinks to a Power 2 instead of a Power 1.

Originally, I was going to suggest the Big Ten take USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington. These are all AAU members, so they would get the academic stamp of approval from the other Big Ten presidents. USC, Oregon and Washington are the best football programs, and UCLA is a national brand situated in America’s second-largest city. But then I also thought about the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the academic consortium of Big Ten schools. (Former Big Ten member University of Chicago is no longer a member of the consortium but remains a collaborator.) That group couldn’t possibly pass up a chance to ask Cal and Stanford to join.

All of that makes a lot of sense, and it just may come to fruition out of necessity.

Instead of chasing teams, the Big Ten can wait and see what happens next. The danger is falling way behind the SEC while watching a Pac-12/Big 12 merger of sorts and Notre Dame finally agreeing to join the ACC. Warren would get hammered for that, especially if Clemson, Florida State and Miami go to the SEC.

Five years from now, the Big Ten wants to be in the best position possible with all those giant changes that are coming.

It’s better for the Big Ten to be proactive than reactive.

We don’t have to like it, but college football as we know it isn’t long for the world.

Cole Cubelic has the updated Heisman odds, and Bryce Young is in the thick of it.

An awful lot of people are putting high expectations on Daniels. Guess we will see if he can live up to the hype.

Last, check out Ty Simpson working with AJ McCarron.

Pretty cool stuff.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.