The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are going to form some sort of alliance. And it appears that the details of the alliance are still being worked out.
According to multiple reports, including The Athletic and ESPN, the three conferences are set to announce an alliance to counter the newly expanded SEC sometime next week. Those reports, however, don't contain many specifics about the announcement. And it appears that people within those three conferences are unclear about the specifics themselves.
"Is that about philosophy, governance, scheduling?" one athletic director asked. "It could be all of those things."
The SEC got the conference realignment carousel spinning again earlier this summer when Oklahoma and Texas announced that they would be leaving the Big 12 and heading to the SEC. Their addition to the SEC would make the conference the biggest at the top level of college football.
Playoff could be biggest topic
The three conferences' attitudes toward an expanded College Football Playoff could be one of the biggest immediate points of discussion. The playoff is set to expand to 12 teams at some point within the next few seasons. That expanded playoff would seemingly benefit the SEC and Notre Dame as more teams from the SEC would make the playoff on an annual basis — especially with Oklahoma in the fold — and Notre Dame's degree of difficulty in making the playoff is set to be lessened.
Could the implementation of an expanded playoff be slowed down if the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are against it? Maybe. From another ESPN article:
"You go back to all the great reasons that folks talked about why eight didn't work, why 10 didn't work and all these other things, you've really got to relook at it and say, 'All right, well, we're just gonna let this settle down a little bit, see where we are, and maybe come back and look at it in 12 months,'" one veteran AD in one of the conferences said.
The Big 12's grant of rights agreement runs out in 2025. Both Oklahoma and Texas have cited 2025 in their departure announcements. While it's certain that the schools would like to leave the conference sooner rather than later, they would need to pay the Big 12 an exit fee if they left before the expiration of the agreement.
In a weird way, the alliance could end up helping out OU and UT's efforts to leave the Big 12. The Big 12 hasn't been mentioned at all as part of this counter-SEC alliance, and according to the ESPN report linked above, the conference's role in an expanded playoff could be a factor in why it's being left out in addition to only having eight teams left after the departure of its two biggest schools.
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