There are no absolutes when it comes to realignment in college sports, but the ACC's recent announcement of a grant of media rights has been viewed as a game-changer.
The ACC now appears secure, especially from its biggest perceived threat, the Big Ten, which already has swiped Maryland and could have targeted others (Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia). Many think major realignment finally will die down.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is among them.
From The Sporting News:
"Given everything that has gone on, yes," Delany said when asked about the ACC’s deal cementing the current five major conferences to their respective lineups.
Although Delany said the 16-team superconference format was also "an arbitrary number" that he wasn’t part of, the Big Ten was open to further expansion. ... There still is the possibility that a team from the SEC (Missouri) could leave for the Big Ten -- the SEC has no grant of rights or exit fee -- but that’s a pipe dream, at best.
Missouri might not be a total pipe dream, but as I mentioned earlier this week in a mailbag, the Big Ten would really, really want to expand to make a push for a school not located on the East Coast, where it wants to have a greater presence after adding Maryland and Rutgers.
The perception is that Delany spends every waking moment thinking about expansion and how he can conquer the college football world. People think he dreams of a 24-team superconference. That's simply not true.
Did he have a plan to go beyond 14? Sure. Does the Big Ten's expansion process feel a little unfulfilled with just Maryland and Rutgers? A little. But expanding just to expand makes no sense. Maryland and Rutgers were about markets, demographics and being bi-regional. What's the rationale now that seemingly all of the good East Coast options are off the table?
Our poll on the potential end to Big Ten expansion revealed many of you are sick of the expansion chatter. Perhaps Delany is, too.
A 14-team Big Ten can thrive if certain things go right. The league could get bigger, but here's hoping there's a good reason why.