FSU to The Big 12, A Fan’s View on the Possible Realignment
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As many of you have heard by now, rumors have been running rampant that FSU was going to leave the ACC for the greener grass of the Big 12. The last 5 days have been filled with rumors, misinformation, “facts” and a lot of money talk. There is a case to be made for both sides. In the ACC, the path towards a national championship is much easier. The location of a lot of FSU fans (not just in Tallahassee) allows for easy travel to road games. Our basketball program is reigning ACC-champs and many basketball fans are excited to see what we can keep building in the number one basketball conference in the country.
If you ask me, the time is coming for a move from the ACC. Although, I do not think we should rush into a decision within a week or two of the rumors first coming out. We need to let the process play itself out. We need to contact the Big 12 and see what they have to offer. President Barron and Athletic Director Randy Spetman need to see if that “gentleman’s agreement” between UF, UGA and USC in the SEC will hold up and keep us out of the most powerful conference in the world. I don’t see any problem in it being common knowledge that we are looking for a step up from the ACC. I say that we let the year play out, see if we can make a national championship run this year (I think we can), then see how the offers look. If we live up to the expectations placed upon the football team this year, we will be an even hotter commodity next summer.
The number one reason I think it’s time to look outside the ACC is the all-important dollar. Right now, the FSU athletic budget is at a projected deficit of $2.4 million for the coming year. Per the new ACC football coverage deal with ESPN/ABC, we will be making $17 million in TV rights down the road. While that seems like a healthy amount, when compared to a few other things it may not seem too high. Duke and Wake Forest will make the same amount in the TV deal because of the equal-revenue sharing of the ACC. And when compared to the expected $25 million payout coming to UF and the other SEC schools, $17 million might just not cut it for us. We are competing with UGA and UF for recruits every year and the financial drop-off will hurt us in recruiting, hiring the best coaches and facility upgrades in the years to come.
I am a believer in Jimbo and think we are incredibly close to being back to that annual top-10 program that we all know and miss. This year, if we beat Clemson on September 22, we have all the talent to make a run for the national championship. So I don’t exactly understand the fear of going to the Big 12 and competing against Texas and Oklahoma every year. Yes, the path towards a national championship every year would be more difficult, but you get better by playing better teams. We would expand our recruiting base into Texas (a recruiting hot-bed) and Oklahoma, which would also help us immensely.
To sum up, I believe we can do better than the ACC. Our football program is a national brand that brings with it viewers from all over the country every Saturday during the fall. It’s time we are treated like one and, more importantly, paid like one. Dream scenario for me: Go win the ACC (at least) this year and go to a BCS game, leave for the Big 12 next summer and bring Miami, Clemson and BYU with us. If that were to happen, the Big 12 would once again become a football powerhouse conference and demand top dollar from the TV networks, benefitting everyone and assisting us on our road back to the football program we all grew up watching.
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