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Mailbag 8/3

All about Conference Realignment

NCAA Football: Washington State at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

jabsterjacket: Anything to this?

Logan: I think the big takeaway from this offseason is that the ACC and PAC-12 are on their last legs. I don’t know that FSU and Clemson leaving will be the death knell, but it is a sign of things to come as many teams are sure to follow. College football isn’t going anywhere but the conference dynamic is definitely leaning towards the super conference concept.

Ben: I think FSU will certainly leave the ACC at some point, but I don’t know if that point will be sooner or later.

jabsterjacket: My secondary question is, would the departure of F$U and/or Clemson enable someone (the Mouse, other ACC schools, etc.) to say that the existing agreements have changed materially, forcing a renegotiation? Regardless of whether the ACC/Mouse accepted cash to waive the grant of media rights (in addition to cash to the ACC as an exit fee), it would still be a material change IMO.

Logan: I’m not an expert on contracts or law. Based on what I am seeing from the BIG 12 and PAC 12 situations there is an argument for such claims but they would be difficult to prove, so litigation would take a significant amount of time. I would still expect this lawsuit to occur, based on the amount of money on the line, but it could be a while before we know what that will actually mean for the ACC contract and the ACC as a whole. There is always the possibility that the ACC implodes prior to litigation completing, which I’m pretty sure would nullify the contract.

Ben: I think it would take more than one team leaving to force a renegotiation.

Partywaggin: Or this one?

Logan: Big 10 is making some big moves very quickly. Who knows, by the time this article is up Oregon and Washington may already be a part of the Big 10. Clemson might be a stretch for joining the Big 10, I feel like Clemson could have the opportunity to hold out for a bid in the SEC if the Tigers decide to leave the ACC. It’s not that I don’t think Clemson will leave, I just think they have options that perhaps Oregon does not based on their location.

Ben: I feel like rumors like these are so 50-50, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

TkTheGoat: Will Jeff Sims have a breakout year as a Nebraska Husker this year? Or is he really just not the player he was hyped up to be?

Ben: I think he certainly has the ability to be a good QB, but I don’t know enough about what he has around him (players and coaches) to really say if this will be a breakout year for him or not.

TkTheGoat: Why has the ACC been so quiet in the “adding teams to the conference” aspect? Why hasn’t the ACC been offering spots in the conference to teams like Tulane, Troy and Cincinnati if they know that teams like FSU, Miami, and Clemson could leave?

Ben: Because that would be a terrific idea. Realistically, though, I imagine a lot of it has to do with money. They don’t bring in the money like an SEC or B1G, so they aren’t able to attract any big names, and I guess they don’t feel like they need to add anyone right now.

Submitted via email: Hey guys,

Hope all is well in your parts of the world. Question this week… everybody seems real focused on the ACC and PAC 12 falling apart, however I am looking at another potential collapse. Disney seems to be looking to sell ESPN due to the high price tag associated with its networks. Who do you think would make a good buyer for ESPN and what would the sale of ESPN mean for college football coverage in the future. Let me know what you think and thanks again for some great articles this week.

Don Knotts

Logan: I think ESPN is struggling because now all the unique shows they used to have are being done by other networks. Sportscenter, First Take, and all the debate style shows all have their own versions on different sports networks across the board. I can’t even think of the last time I watched Sportscenter since all my apps keep sending me information about what is happening in the sports world that I care about. It also doesn’t help that ESPN is essentially sharing rights with NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA Network... basically every major sport in the US has its own network now and ESPN can only get a share of the programs at a more expensive price tag. College sports is the one thing ESPN has going for it, but even that is being split between different networks at this point. I don’t think a sale of ESPN is going to impact things in the near future, but we may see a turning point where ESPN will struggle to bid on some of the bigger sports. Of course this all gets very complicated when you consider that currently Disney is bidding against itself with ABC trying to get rights for SEC matchups and NFL programming. The money going around has made this a convoluted mess which is difficult to speculate on at this point in time.

Jack: The Bob Iger factor is very interesting to me in all of this. Clearly, ESPN is going through some kind of change right now in terms of personnel, but the content they want I don’t think has changed. They are the live sports capital of the internet. They are going to keep their ESPN+ subscribers by having an extensive library of sports you can watch at any given moment. Just giving up the ACC doesn’t make sense to me when the deal is looking better and better with each day that goes by.

Ben: I think ESPN would do better if they did a better job of tailoring their coverage, even by region. If you turn on SportsCenter, it’s going to be the same few teams they’re talking about every single time.