What could be the ACC’s Next Move?

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Oklahoma and Texas officially informed the Big 12 they would not renew their media contract in 2025 as they seek to relocate to the SEC. The move has shaken college sports to its core. The name, image, and likeness ruling got the ball rolling on college realignment. Schools are positioning themselves; so players have more ability to make money. The Big 12 was the last of the Power 5 conferences with $409.2 million in revenue. If they move, the SEC could see up to 1 billion dollars spread out to 16 schools. So how does the Oklahoma and Texas decided to leave the Big 12 impact the ACC?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The biggest fish in college football is Notre Dame. The ACC and Big 10 would love to have the Fighting Irish on their team. While they have been steadfast in staying independent in football, the game is changing, and possibly so will them. It makes sense for ND to be in the ACC with only football and hockey being independent. If any move could be competing with Texas and OU decisions, it is this one. But getting the Irish will not be easy. Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbick stated the program is even more dedicated to football independence. ND has no reason to leave football independence; it would take a change in the football landscape that would push them towards a conference. With playoff expansion, ND is now almost guaranteed a spot in the college football playoffs. 

West Virginia 

If Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12, a mass exodus could follow. A team that never really fit geographically within the Big 12 is West Virginia. WVU vs Louisville was the premier football game when the teams were in the Big East. West Virginia could be attractive beyond football. They also have a history with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Miami. WVU is a solid program but lacks the star power in football the ACC will need to contend with the SEC. But they do bring a top 25 basketball program that could hold the key if they try to join the ACC. The location makes sense, but it’s still in West Virginia. WVU doesn’t have the best market. In the end, the power of ACC basketball could ease any issues the ACC may have, and WVU football is good enough to be in play. 

Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats have been one of the best nonpower five programs in recent years. A move would allow the ACC to tap into the rich football high school base. Cincinnati has raised its football profile to the point that Luke Fickell and the company have created one of the best teams in the country. UC would now have a real shot at the playoffs, and Fickell wouldn’t have a reason to leave. With the rise to a more prestigious conference, the school could continue to improve. This move would also help UC compete with Ohio State for recruits. Cincinnati is a major market compared to other options, with over 3 million people in the metro area. The Bearcats also have enough basketball history to fit within the best basketball conference in the country.

Other Teams to Consider

Memphis, UCF, Temple

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