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Notre Dame Moving All but Football and Hockey to ACC

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Notre Dame is moving all of its sports except football and hockey to the ACC. It is another big blow to the Big East, and it will get the Irish a bowl tie-in with a league that will have a contractual big in the coming BCS successor system. It won't have access to that Orange Bowl bid for the champion, but it will be associated with a league that has an auto-bid to the system. That's important for prestige. And here I thought we were going to get our first year since 2009 without any major conference realignment. Notably, the release says that the ACC voted to increase the conference exit fee to over $50 million.

ACC Officially Adds Pitt and Syracuse

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After the news broke yesterday that Pitt and Syracuse applied to join the ACC, we get news this morning that the ACC presidents have made it official. This might be the catalyst to get everyone else moving, as the SEC and Pac-12 have been taking pains not to look like aggressors. Neither wanted to take the first shot, so John Swofford did it for them.

NYT: Pitt and Syracuse Talking to ACC About Joining

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The New York Times is reporting that Pitt and Syracuse "are engaged in talks about joining the Atlantic Coast Conference". Syracuse, if you remember, was on the wish list the last time the ACC expanded, though it obviously didn't end up making it in. The conference and the two schools issued standard no comments. No other information is out there, so it's unknown whether the ACC is looking to be a 14-team league like the SEC (A&M plus one) and Pac-12 (plus the Oklahoma schools) are supposedly on the way to becoming or if this is some sort of preliminary stage for accepting Texas and Texas Tech later. There also is the possibility the conference is worried about losing one or more schools to the SEC, but again, no other information is out there yet. UPDATE CBS's Brett McMurphy is reporting that a high ranking ACC official told him that Pitt and Syracuse have officially submitted applications to join the league. Also, he was told the conference's presidents unanimously agreed to raise the league's exit fee to $20 million at a meeting in Greensboro, NC last week.

Why the ACC should raid the SEC

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Yes, you're reading that correctly. A little light fare for a Friday afternoon. I can only imagine Mike Slive laughing hysterically calling all the teams to make sure they're still committed to the league. (HT: Gobbler Country)

Brace Yourself for the Pac-16, Death of Big 12

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Supposedly this is pretty solid as far as expansion rumors go: the Pac-10 will seriously consider inviting Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado into the fold this weekend. Supposedly Fox would then organize a Pac-16 Network in the same way it did for the Big Ten. Presumably if this happened, the Big Ten would finally get around to inviting Nebraska and/or Missouri and who knows which Big East teams. Apparently the only hangup is A&M, which reportedly is more interested in the going to the SEC should the Big 12 die. The SEC would then have to invite at least one ACC team to bring on the Aggies (because 13-team conferences don't work). We just finished the SEC meetings and no one seemed interested in expansion. Should these dominoes fall, I wonder if the conference would feel the need to go ahead with it anyway. I personally still say no: let the other guys play with thermite first and then decide later. It's not like even if the ACC added four Big East/CUSA teams the SEC couldn't take whoever it wanted. UPDATE 6:37 PM 1. The ADs of Texas A&M and Oklahoma don't sound interested in killing the Big 12 preemptively. A&M guy specifically says he doesn't want to go to the Pac-10. 2. The 12 SEC presidents will discuss expansion tomorrow, but don't plan to be the first mover in the expansion game. UPDATE 2, 6:45 PM As of right now, this link will get you the whole article sans pay wall. UPDATE 3 7:10 PM Slive speaks. He won't comment on the report, but maintains that the SEC is looking at the matter of expansion actively. Key quote: the current TV deals make the SEC the "most widely distributed conference in the country. … We don’t need to get larger for the purpose of distribution." So there you go, straight from the boss's mouth. You don't have to consider TV markets when talking SEC expansion. UPDATE 4 9:00 PM Where there's smoke... The Colorado AD says that he and other school officials believes that six Big 12 schools will get Pac-10 invites as early as this weekend. He has not talked to Pac-10 officials, and Pac-10 commish Larry Scott has denied the report. This to me sounds like either A) someone told this guy about the Rivals report and he's repeating that, or B) he's talked to the the same sources that led to the Rivals report. It's significant that a Big 12 AD is giving credence to this rumor in some respect, but this is far from confirmation if you ask me.

Some Numbers on the BCS's Double Standard

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Doc Saturday hit this one on the head, analyzing some numbers that the MWC's lobbyist produced. Essentially, the WAC and MWC champs that have made BCS bowls have delivered higher TV ratings and larger in-person attendance than the Big East and ACC champs over the 2007-10 BCS games. The problem then is that the Big East and ACC get more money for it than the conferences that are better delivering ratings and ticket sales. I have to say, this is one that's always got me. Why is it that those who want to revoke the Big East's BCS auto-bid never talk about the ACC as well? The Big East (6-6 in BCS games) actually wins these games with regularity (ACC: 2-10), and bowl ratings in recent years have confirmed that FSU and Miami are the only ACC teams the nation as a whole cares about. When either of them win the conference, they'll get a bid. No need to force Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl on the rest of us to ensure that those two get their completely inevitable piece of the pie.

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