Nothing the ACC does to counter Maryland's move to the Big Ten is going to catapult it into some super-conference stratosphere. Yes, UConn or Louisville are on the table, and those might be the best two options. Who else is it going to get? Part-time lover Notre Dame was the coup.
If the ACC doesn't add a 14th team this week, it might be because of logistics. Organizing presidents and committee reps to deliberate, and eventually vote, on something like this can take time. Thanksgiving week is less than ideal as state employees disappear for the rest of the week Thursday. There's no reason for angst among ACC officials since they've been through the realignment pinch before.
|More on Realignment|
|More college football coverage|
Expansion-related discussions in the ACC typically start with the "4-4-4 Committee," composed of four university presidents, four athletic directors and four faculty reps. FSU athletic director Randy Spetman and NC State faculty athletics rep Sam Pardue are members. The committee is in the conference-call stage, I'm told.
To add a school, ACC presidents would need a three-fourths-majority vote in favor of the move.
A prominent official from an ACC school told me Louisville and UConn, the top suitors to replace Maryland, both have something to offer but stressed academics will matter to the presidents, which favors UConn. According to this list, UConn is ranked 63rd among U.S. universities while Louisville is 160th. UConn also has the better TV market, 30th to 50th.
But Louisville is the better football/basketball product, pound for pound. And a lot of people respect what Louisville's done under AD Tom Jurich. It will make for some interesting discussions among decision-makers.
"Who can bring in a full share to the table?" the ACC source said. "When you bring in another mouth to feed, they have to bring in at least that same amount of money."
In scope and scale, the $50 million exit fee might be more important to the league than which school it adds. The ACC feels the amount is iron clad, while Maryland clearly doesn't. I'm not so sure Maryland can simply lawyer its way out of it, but perhaps the Terps can say: We're not paying the full amount, so sue us if you have to.
It's also possible the Big Ten can front some money and take some of Maryland's media rights money on the back end.
It's all about precedent. If Maryland somehow escapes for less, other ACC schools (hello, FSU) will be watching.
The money trail will be worth following here.