Division I college athletics may be in for another major shakeup. Commissioners from ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are discussing an alliance to counter the SEC’s planned addition of Texas and Oklahoma in 2025, according to a report on Friday from The Athletic (requires subscription).
Sources told The Athletic that the talks center on a soccer programming alliance and possible coordination on expanding the college football playoffs and NCAA governance.
PREDICTIONS SN 2021: ACC | Big ten | Pac-12
The conferences already have long-standing connections, including the Rose Bowl in soccer and the ACC / Big Ten Challenge in basketball. Stronger programming ties could, in theory, lead to matchups like Ohio State-Clemson in the college football regular season, or more frequent blueblood basket meetings (eg, UCLA vs. North Carolina) .
They could also revive historic rivalries that have been left dormant due to the conference realignment. Take these three, for example:
Duke vs. Maryland
This one is more for the basketball crowd. Rivals haven’t met in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge – the Terps switched sides in 2014. Stronger interconnection between conferences should put pressure on these sworn foes to meet every now and then, even if soccer is the game. main focus of the alliance.
Blue Devils-Terps football isn’t exciting, but the schools were together in a conference (Southern, then ACC) for more than 80 years before Maryland broke up. The teams have met 50 times, with the last meeting in 2010.
The ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 make up 41 of the 65 schools in Power 5 (if you include Notre Dame, a partial ACC member), so an annual game could be tough if conferences want all schools to eventually play. each. But even a semi-regular contest would be a blow to tradition.
Penn State vs. Pitt
Pennsylvanians reveled in this Thanksgiving rivalry for decades. Schools have even met 100 times on the grid, but there was a 15-year gap between the 2001-15 games. The schools played a four-year series from 2016-19, but that was considered the closing chapter of the book.
There are no expectations of a new volume; Penn State wants maximum flexibility in its non-conference schedule, so the Panthers are out of the rotation again. Pitt’s coach, Pat Narduzzi, is hoping to see teams play again “in my life.” It could be a very old citizen if that happens, in the absence of a new ACC-Big Ten programming pact.
SN’s Mike DeCourcy, who has fond memories of the rivalry dating back to his Pittsburgh days, wrote before the 19 game about what killed him.
Nebraska vs. Colorado
The Cornhuskers and Buffaloes date back to 1898, before there was a Big 6, 7, 8 or 12. The series reaches 69 games after a meeting in 2018. Schools are scheduled to play again in 2024.
Before the Buffs launched into the then Pac-10 in 2011, Nebraska-Colorado was played on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The last 10 games were 6-4 in favor of Nebraska.
Before, the rivalry was one-sided (Nebraska was 34-4-1 between 1962 and 2000), but the Huskers ceased to be a college football powerhouse years ago. In fact, the Buffs’ last good season was in 2016. But the situation could be very different when conferences implement scheduling plans. That offers hope that NU-CU can potentially turn into a fun biennial showdown.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.