The two ACC schools the Big Ten and SEC might want the most are North Carolina and Virginia.
While Clemson, Florida State and even Miami might make more sense in terms of conference expansion on the college football side of things, the two ACC schools leagues like the Big Ten and SEC might covet more than any are … North Carolina and Virginia?!
ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported earlier in the week that UNC and UVA will be “coveted” by both leagues in potentially the next wave of realignment. Although neither program has won a national title before on the football field, there is way more than meets the eye with the Heels and the Hoos than shooting hoops, turning left and academics. It is all about geography and market share.
Where North Carolina and Virginia are located, they would be contiguous additions to either league should the Big Ten or SEC come calling. I do not think you can add one without adding the other…
Once again, conference realignment is not always about what seems to be the most obvious thing.
North Carolina, Virginia seen as ACC expansion possibilities for Big Ten or SEC
When the SEC was still at 14 teams, the two schools I thought made the most sense to acquire would be Oklahoma and North Carolina State. I had a feeling those two schools would have the easiest time assimilating into the league like Texas A&M has done since its arrival last decade. Texas has a bit of a wine-and-cheese feel to it. Entitlement is not how you win games in the SEC.
Well, lo and behold, Oklahoma and Texas are joining the SEC in 2024, the same year that shockingly, USC and UCLA are joining the Big Ten. Who in the hell saw that coming? Regardless, I have always thought the media markets in North Carolina and Virginia were too enticing to be overlooked by what are currently better college football programs in Clemson and Florida State.
While the Seminoles and Tigers would be easy additions to the SEC footprint, keep in mind the league wouldn’t be picking up all that much more market share, as Florida and South Carolina are already vibrant parts of the conference. Geographically, those two schools are too far away to be in any consideration to join the Midwest-based Big Ten. It is why UNC and UVA are so captivating.
You are looking at two prestigious public universities in the south that two power leagues would love to add. Of course, the ACC will try to do everything in its power to keep them. Should either of them walk, that league is dead, more dead than a Pac-12 without USC and UCLA because at least that league still has two traditional powers in major public schools with Oregon and Washington.
Truth be told, if the Big Ten or SEC were to add North Carolina and Virginia, you would have to think North Carolina State and Virginia Tech would be coming as well. You are getting strong athletics and academics with those two schools. While you are not increasing market share with their additions, they would certainly strengthen the league’s reach in its two acquired territories.
Ultimately, I don’t see this happening for a good minute. The next wave of realignment has everything to do with San Diego State and the Pac-12. Heck, I would envision the Big 12 going big-game hunting in trying to acquire the Four Corner universities from the Pac-12 before this. Of course, their is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in everyone’s favorite team, Notre Dame…
What this all means is that North Carolina and Virginia are massively under-appreciated assets.