Whew, it's been a crazy few days in the college realignment rumor mill. But today we're learning that as soon as Friday the first realignment domino could fall and start a chain reaction that will likely affect Maryland and the ACC in one way or another. A story by Lee Barfknecht at the Omaha World-Herald says Nebraska could join the Big 10 as early as Friday. Here is SBNation's Nebraska site, Corn Nation's, take on the talk. That certainly is an accelerated timeline from what the Big 10 said a few weeks ago and is undoubtedly a reaction to rumors that the Pac-10 was trying to quickly steal away most of the Big 12 South.
So what does this mean for Maryland and the ACC?
Well, that all depends on who and how many additional schools the Big 10 adds. If they only go to 14 teams (adding Nebraska, Rutgers and Notre Dame), that might not make the SEC expand. But even if the Big 10 only goes to 14, it seems as if the Pac-10 is still trying to become the first 16-team super conference, which would make a league like the SEC act. And while Nebraska to the Big 10 seems logical, what Notre Dame does is still up in the air and will also have an effect on the ACC as the Big 10 might target an ACC school as a 2nd tier option.
Regardless, I think the ACC's apparent lack of readiness in all of this is shocking and a little alarming. As a conference that raided the Big East a few years ago, you'd think they'd be experienced in this arena. And maybe they're prepared to act, but don't want to tip their hand. If that's the case, I'll tip my hat at them. But every time I hear ACC Commish John Swofford speak, he just makes it sound like the ACC isn't concerned about expansion and thinks it won't effect his 12 teams. I just wish the ACC would be the aggressor again and target schools like Pitt, Syracuse, and then maybe East Carolina (because you know the NC-focused conference is going to want that) and maybe another Florida team (like USF) because FSU and Miami will likely hold leverage over the conference with the treat of joining the SEC and want more FL team to join the ACC. If the ACC did that, they could be the first to 16, renegotiate their TV deal (which quietly still hasn't been officially signed...a possible sign that they know something is coming and will want to restructure the deal? Maybe), and sit back and relax. But at the moment, it appears the ACC is going to have to be defending against conferences trying to steal teams away from the ACC, having to ponder expansion, and reacting to the moves of the other major conferences, all within the next few months.
This is going to be a crazy summer, folks.