The college football world was in shock this past week when news broke that Southern Cal and UCLA are leaving the Pac 12 for the Big Ten.
It is a move that will seriously impact the Pac 12’s future and could start a ripple effect that could shake up the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 as well.
With USC and UCLA headed to the Big Ten in 2024, it makes the Big Ten the second conference to have 16 full-time members. The SEC added Texas and Oklahoma to its mix last summer, bringing its total membership to 16 as well. The Longhorns and Sooners will officially start competing in the SEC in 2025.
Does USC’s and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten mean expansion is over? Probably not.
In fact, Washington and Oregon have reportedly already approached the Big Ten, but the Big Ten told them to stand pat as it waits to see what Notre Dame is going to do. The Irish is tied in with the ACC’s grant-of-rights when it comes to every sport except football and hockey. However, reports have said the Irish can get out of the ACC if it wants to.
What about the other teams in the ACC?
Well, reports have surfaced that Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia could possibly leave the ACC for the SEC. However, it might be harder than it sounds with the ACC owning their grand-of-rights through the year 2036, when the league’s television contract is up with ESPN
That means if Clemson, FSU, UNC and Virginia leave the conference for the SEC, the ACC would own each of those schools’ media rights through 2036.
What does this mean for Clemson and its future with the ACC? Well, it means the Tigers need to pay close attention to what is going on. They do not necessarily need to react at the moment, but they do not want to be left behind either.
With all the success Clemson football has had in the last decade, plus with the mindset it has always been an SEC-type school playing in the ACC, the Tigers are an attractive school to have for the SEC.
Besides having an elite level football program, the university is growing and is considered one of the top schools in the country due to its academic success. Clemson has also, traditionally, been one of the top baseball programs in the country, an attractive quality for the SEC. It also does not hurt that Clemson softball is already becoming a player in that sport, while the men’s soccer team is the defending national champions.
As for Clemson football competing in the SEC on a yearly bases, the Tigers have already proven they can. Since 2009, Dabo Swinney’s first full year as head coach, no one has had more success against the SEC.
In the last 13 seasons, the Tigers have knocked off Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and, of course, South Carolina. Clemson’s record against SEC competition since 2009 is 18-11, the only non-SEC program in the country to have a winning record against the SEC.
Swinney owns the most wins of any coach not coaching in the SEC and is the only one to have a winning record.
I am not saying Clemson is going leave the ACC for the SEC, but it makes sense. Does it not?