Yesterday’s announcement that the Big 12 and the SEC were joining forces to create a new bowl game was tangible evidence that the college football landscape is indeed changing.
When and exactly how — looking at you, realignment — remains to be seen. But change doesn’t solely have to mean conference affiliation, either. If anything, the news was a symbol that major conferences are willing and able to dictate the terms of their postseason in a way that brings revenue back to where it belongs: with member institutions.
Where things get a bit convoluted is trying to figure out what this means for the likes of Florida State and Notre Dame. Depending on the day, the tides and/or who you ask, Florida State is either looking to escape the ACC, or remains perfectly content. Now that the ACC is on the outside looking in, though, the pressure could escalate for the Seminoles to make a move.
Does that mean FSU is the Big 12’s newest member? Not necessarily, acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told the Austin-American Statesman.
“We did before,” Neinas said, referring to interested parties in general. “Who? Maybe some old folks, maybe some new ones. Have we had any conversations with Florida State? No.”
Keep in mind that while Neinas and Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds have publicly stated there’s no interest (today) in expanding, let alone FSU, there is at least one account of the Big 12 reaching out to the ‘Noles. How accurate that account is remains unknown.
As for Notre Dame, the other school having its name tossed around? Neinas reaffirmed what many already believe.
“I don’t think Notre Dame is going to join a league,” Neinas said. “They’re in the process of extending their contract with NBC. No, I don’t see any pressure on them.”
While the effects of the Big 12-SEC bowl game have the potential to be as monumental as any playoff, it’s the latter that still determines Notre Dame’s independent status. A playoff consisting of the four highest-ranked conference champions would obviously have a much greater impact on Notre Dame’s conference affiliation — or, lack thereof — than what the Big 12 and SEC decide to do independently.
The point is that as long as Notre Dame’s chances for inclusion in college football’s new postseason don’t diminish, don’t expect them to join a conference.
Yes, that means the Big 12 too.