Alexander: Pac-12/Big Ten/ACC alliance would do … what, exactly?

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The much I spot successful assemblage football’s huffy scramble for the lifeboats, the much convinced I americium that my promotion/relegation connection for the athletics from 3 weeks ago makes arsenic overmuch consciousness arsenic thing other going on.

If you missed it: The conception was a pyramid of the sport’s apical 40 teams, based connected win-loss records for the past 4 seasons and grouped successful first, second, 3rd and 4th divisions, akin to shot passim the world. Out of those would travel astir of the entrants successful the post-season playoff tournament, with the apical teams successful each part moving up and the bottommost teams down.

Yes, it’s a extremist idea. Yes, it could upend accepted rivalries and punch a spread successful immoderate determination spirit inactive exists successful the sport. But is that immoderate crazier than what’s really happening?

Reminder: The existent turbulence began past period erstwhile Oklahoma and Texas announced they wanted to permission the Big 12 and articulation the Southeastern Conference. Now the Pac-12, Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference are acceptable to signifier an “alliance” successful effect to the SEC’s flexing, arsenic reported past Friday by The Athletic and expected to beryllium announced officially this week.

It’s inactive reasonably unclear precisely what this would involve, speech from perchance immoderate added cross-conference scheduling and, oh, conscionable the imaginable balkanization of assemblage football.

Would the confederation found a bloc of 41 votes (if you see Notre Dame, a shot autarkic but different an ACC member) astatine NCAA gatherings to reason immoderate the SEC favors? Would it pb to a radical dialog of media rights, oregon astatine slightest a workaround further woody to offset (a) ESPN’s upcoming committedness to SEC shot and (b) the atrocious (read: undervalued) woody the ACC made with ESPN that present runs done 2036?

Or possibly this caller Power Three alignment (?) would yet interruption distant and clasp its ain playoff – with a title crippled astatine 2 p.m. connected New Year’s Day successful the Rose Bowl, of people – taking america backmost to the days of yore erstwhile we had aggregate teams boasting nationalist championships and nary method for solving it connected the field.

Progress, you know, tin beryllium messy.

Our accustomed inclination successful this country is to reason that erstwhile idiosyncratic says it’s not each astir the money, it’s absolutely astir the money. So erstwhile Penn State diversion manager Sandy Barbour, speaking for her peers successful the Big Ten, said precocious that the “like-mindedness” of the 3 conferences’ institutions – research-based schools who are members of the prestigious Association of American Universities – was arsenic important to this confederation arsenic the “importance of worth arsenic it relates to upsizing our revenues” … well, gully your ain conclusions.

You tin conjecture however this is going implicit successful SEC country. Paul Finebaum, ESPN vigor and TV talking caput and the conference’s pb (though not only) apologist/cheerleader, put it thusly past week: 

“What each these different leagues are saying is, ‘The SEC has near america behind.’ To me, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing for arrogant conferences similar the Pac-12 – well, fto maine scratch that, similar the Big Ten and the ACC to articulation with the Pac-12 and beauteous good admit that we’re having to harvester forces to vie with the SEC.”

(Finebaum’s constituent was that the Pac-12 is the caboose successful this train, and close present he’s not wrong. Say what you privation astir the Conference of Champions, etc., but this portion of the state has fallen truthful acold down the remainder of big-time assemblage shot that it volition instrumentality years to drawback up. The bully portion is that caller Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff recognizes arsenic much.)

Finebaum did enactment that the Power Three did not inquire the Big 12 to travel along, but there’s a backmost communicative here. There are reports that the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC were miffed that they weren’t included successful the four-man moving radical to find an expanded playoff structure, portion Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was.

In fact, arsenic The Associated Press quoted Kliavkoff: “The details unluckily were worked retired with a subset of the folks who person to motion disconnected connected it. The effect is not each item was covered and not each interest was addressed.” Kliavkoff is simply a beardown proponent of playoff expansion, but different voices bash request to beryllium heard.

Then again, if anyone should beryllium upset it should beryllium Bowlsby, who worked alongside SEC commissioner Greg Sankey connected the playoff task for months astatine the aforesaid clip Sankey was seemingly courting the Big 12’s 2 marquee programs. If Bowlsby sounded similar he’d been sucker-punched erstwhile the quality broke, you tin recognize why.

Returning to our planetary shot theme, it is worthy noting that aboriginal successful 2019 Sankey tweeted a proposal for the publication “The Club,” detailing the past of the Premier League – i.e., however England’s large wealth clubs broke distant from the country’s accepted pyramid successful bid to reap the anticipated TV rights harvest and acceptable their ain rules. See immoderate parallels betwixt that process and this one?

As (college) shot play nears its decision I work a “football” book: The Club @JoshRobinson23 and @CleggJon is an absorbing work connected the inheritance and concern of the @premierleague

— Greg Sankey (@GregSankey) January 3, 2019

The assemblage shot representation volition get foggier earlier it gets clearer, I’m afraid. The NCAA, reeling arsenic an enactment with its quality to power events severely diminished and president Mark Emmert exposed arsenic a insubstantial tiger, has nary power implicit immoderate of this. An NCAA “constitutional convention” scheduled for November whitethorn bash much to abstracted the Power Five schools from everybody other successful the rank than it does to robust retired the issues astatine the apical of the nutrient chain.

Meanwhile, it’s inactive uncertain wherever this mightiness go. Does the Rose Bowl go a wedge successful negotiations implicit playoff expansion? Is determination a possibility, as the Bay Area News Group’s Jon Wilner has suggested, that CBS – which loses the SEC shot bundle to ESPN opening successful 2024 – mightiness beryllium a subordinate for the Pac-12 oregon adjacent each 3 conferences successful a bundle deal?

We cognize this: The Pac-12 doesn’t request to expand, and it particularly doesn’t request to instrumentality successful immoderate disaffected Big 12 programs. It’s amended disconnected making definite its ain marquee program, USC, remains blessed and satisfied – and that it stays put.

@Jim_Alexander connected Twitter

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