According to a report by ESPN, the ACC, Big Ten, and the PAC 12 have started discussions about the possibility of a collaboration.
The commissioners of the three conferences have been communicating for some time now, with the PAC 12 and Big Ten bosses at times meeting in-person.
“I’ve been in frequent and regular contact with all of the other A5 commissioners the last few weeks about the four or five complex issues that are facing our industry. Anything beyond that is just speculation, and I can’t comment on it.”PAC 12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff to ESPN
The talks are likely around an affiliation via their schedule, starting or continuing a series, and aren’t only about football.
Although we have recently seen big-named schools teams leave their long-time conferences, it’s unlikely that any version where these three work together in ever materializes.
We have heard rumblings about superconferences for over a decade, but the move that just happened between the SEC, Oklahoma, and Texas shows that the Power 5 leagues aren’t ready for that. If they were, it’s likely that either the Big 12 would’ve fully merged with the football powerhouse, or headed west to join USC, Oregon, and Washington.
Moving two teams doesn’t signal a merger. But since they did leave, it could mean that more scenarios like this pop up.
Since the beginning of the College Football Playoff, many have wanted expansion last the 4 allowed teams. The CFP is it’s own entity and doesn’t answer to the NCAA. But keeping everyone happy could prove to be the best way to effectively change the face of college football.
Adding teams to the postseason structure will happen, but adjusting the regular season schedule is the more direct way to move on from past restrictions.
Even Alabama head coach has said he believes that all of the Power 5 leagues should play each other. Restrictions on how the schedules are made are antiquated. Gone is the time where teams must schedule years in advance.
“I’ve always said, ‘Let’s play all Power 5 games. I was in the NFL where we played all the games against NFL teams. But let’s play at least 10 Power 5 games. It would be better for the players, better for the fans, and I think you wouldn’t have to worry that if you lost a game that you wouldn’t have as much of a chance to still be in [the College Football Playoff].”Nick Saban to ESPN Chris Low
We saw this a few times last season, most notably when BYU scheduled and played Coastal Carolina within a week. Ticket sales were almost maxed our at 25%, and was the most-watched game in ESPN since 2015, with 1.4M viewers.
Strength if schedule is always the biggest hang up when retyping to determine who should be ranked in the top 4. And if the Power 5 conferences are regularly playing each other it makes the ones who do get chosen to play more definitive.
If the ACC, Big Ten, and PAC 12 work it put to where they’re on each other’s schedule every year, the best teams will not be hard to find.
The time is right to change how the college football champions are determined. A full realignment isn’t on the horizon, but an agreement to augment the schedules of the top schools is exactly what the doctor ordered.