The College Football world was shocked to learn of a Big Ten/ACC/PAC-12 alliance this week. In essence, it’s just a gentleman’s agreement between the three major conferences to work together. This will likely also result in scheduling agreements along with forming a coalition ala the Triple Entente.
With the power that the SEC holds, it’s unlikely that this Big Ten/ACC/PAC-12 Alliance will result in a triumvirate in College Football. Rather, this agreement attempts to stymie the stranglehold the SEC may have thanks to the addition of the bluebloods in Texas and Oklahoma. Honestly, this alliance could be the beginning of something massive. There are a few things we’d like to see come forth.
The Big Ten/ACC/PAC-12 Alliance: What We’d Like To See
All summer, there have been rumblings that the CFP committee is planning on expanding from four teams to twelve. Personally, I’m 1000% for it. More football with the 12 best teams is never a bad thing. However, many believe that this expansion would result in far more SEC teams getting in, which would be why this Alliance would vote against it.
Sure, the three conferences are not as deep at the top of their respective standings. There’s Ohio State and Clemson, then a massive gap, then who knows what else. Additionally, the PAC-12 has been a mess and not nearly up to snuff compared to the rest of the P5. However, with this new proposal, all five P5 champions and the highest-ranked G5 champion get it, it leaves room for six at-large.
Each of these conferences could have a bid to take at least one of those spots each with the teams who take runner-up. In the case of the Big Ten, a one-loss Penn State or Michigan (whose only loss would be to an Ohio State) would be enough to let them in.
Now, these Big Ten/ACC/PAC-12 Alliance schools would not have as many “quality losses” as an SEC team, which would hurt them. Regardless, having more teams vying for a championship would behoove each of these conferences because instead of five P5 conferences duking it out, it’ll feel like three.
Expand the CFP. Fight like Hell to have at least two teams represented each. Six of the CFP committee members represent and/or hail from a school from these conferences (Gary Barta: Iowa, Paola Boivin: Arizona State, Boo Corrigan: NC State, Rick George: Colorado, Ray Odierno: NC State, R. C. Slocum: Arizona State [although his affiliate is SEC]).
Unified Number of In-Conference Games
It’s 2021. Every conference needs to play the same amount of in-conference and out-of-conference games. It evens the playing field. Folks cried in 2020 about certain team(s) playing fewer games, yet we continue to ignore some conferences playing nine conference games and zero FCS OOC and others playing eight conference games along with at least one FCS OOC.
The Big Ten/ACC/PAC-12 Alliance should result in a unified agreement to play eight conference games. Ie. for the Big Ten, play the other six teams in your division and two crossover games. If there’s a significant rivalry, keep it yearly. If not, evenly rotate teams and locations.
This allows each team to play four out-of-conference games. Further this by making sure all of the OOC games are FBS-level competition, even if they are barely FBS (sorry, Bowling Green). Allow the teams to tune-up for the big-ticket games:
B1G/ACC/PAC-12 Alliance Challenge
In basketball, we have multiple challenges and fans love them. Seeing the best from each conference fight it out for supremacy is ratings gold and allows the nation to gauge the contenders and pretenders yearly. We can do this in football. Set aside two weeks to play these OOC games. They could be Week 1 and 2. Or Week 2 and 3. Or Week 3 and 4. Regardless, imagine this scenario:
The Big Ten/ACC/PAC-12 Alliance Challenge! The matchups are decided at the conclusion of the previous Championship Weekend. Put the three conferences’ standings next to one another and there you have it! The B1G champs play the ACC champs and PAC-12 champs. The runner-ups play each other, and so on. Imagine the hype and ratings this could generate!
Going off of the 2020 standings, 2021 could have had some serious matchups:
- Clemson, Ohio State, Oregon
- Miami (FL), Northwestern, USC
- North Carolina, Indiana, Washington
- NC State, Iowa, Stanford
- Boston College, Wisconsin, Colorado
- Pitt, Penn State, Utah
- Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Arizona State
- Virginia, Nebraska, UCLA
- Wake Forest, Maryland, Cal
- Georgia Tech, Rutgers, Washington State
- Lousiville, Michigan, Oregon State
- Florida State, Purdue, Arizona
- Duke, Syracuse, Michigan State, Illinois (Duke and Syracuse would play both MSU and Illinois)
Given, the craziness of the Big Ten and PAC-12 in 2020 makes it hard to seed them. A normal season would be much more straightforward. Not to mention this assumes Notre Dame gets left out in the cold. Unless, of course, it wants to formally join the ACC…
Regardless, would this not make for good TV yearly? The best of the best of each conference squaring up against each other. No cupcakes here (unless you count the pillow fights at the bottom). We could get so many more ranked-vs-ranked matchups that would be great for CFP resumes. Not to mention, imagine the entire Big Ten/ACC/PAC-12 Alliance Challenge coming down to a Rutgers vs Washington State. It would give meaning to otherwise meaningless games.
Naturally, when bowl season rolls around (CFP notwithstanding) the Alliance would try to make sure that there are no rematches to keep things fresh. This Challenge could be sponsored and the winning conference could earn some serious NIL compensation. The possibilities are endless.
College Football May Have Changed Forever
While this Alliance is not as crazy as a promotion/relegation idea, it could be even more ambitious. Give us an expanded CFP. Unify the number of conference games. Craft a Challenge. Want to compete with the SEC? Stear into the chaos!
Regardless of whether or not this suggestion falls on deaf ears, College Football is back! We should all be excited to see what the 2021 season brings.