On Wednesday, Bob Bowlsby told a group of reporters that the Big 12 might be proactive in conference expansion this time around but it wouldn’t be just for the sake of expansion. As the Big 10 proved, markets are all that matter but without a Big 12 network to sell to networks, it won’t matter what markets you get but the ratings that you can provide.
The low hanging fruit available is Cincinnati. Now that’s not to say the ACC won’t go after them if the Big 10 raids the conference for another team. The fear of many Big 12 programs and their fans are that the Big 12 will sit around and do nothing and the best options will be off the table and the Big 12 will be left with options that take more from the TV money than the value it would add.
Florida State has been the option that everyone is looking at. If the Big 10 does poach Georgia Tech and Virginia, the Big 12 could go after Florida State and Clemson. Virginia Tech would likely hold out for an SEC offer. Then the ACC would be left with very little expansion targets. The fact that it has a deal with the Orange bowl makes the ACC an attractive option. But the perception is that the ACC is a very weak conference and doesn’t belong in a playoff for a national championship. Obviously who is at the top seems to change every decade so the ACC might have a chance to rebuild it’s image.
At the same time, the only reason the ACC was any good at football was because Florida State was very good at football. That’s the issue with Florida State. They use to run through the ACC schedule without much trouble. The Big 12 would be a step up in competition and might not give them the path of least resistance to the playoffs.
Interesting times in college football and this time around, I hope the Big 12 acts rather than reacts.