Conference realignment talk is on full ‘the sky is falling’ mode this week. And what great timing from Texas, Oklahoma and the SEC as fall camp starts in a week for most programs. The 2021 season will hopefully be as normal as possible coming off of 2020’s COVID season, but, now there’s realignment talk.
Rumor and innuendo are rampant about Miami heading to the Big Ten, the SEC, or staying home in the ACC and seeing the conference add a couple of teams to keep Clemson happy.
If the Big Ten really goes after Miami, Georgia Tech, UNC and Duke that could be a nice group for the ‘Canes as a “Southern” pod. It’s winnable, and not too bad for travel for the non-revenue sports. Miami has played some of the Big Ten schools recently and in the past with some regularity, ie: Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State. Miami even played Iowa back in 1992.
It makes sense academically, schools like Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, and Northwestern fit the Miami mold regarding being an ‘academics-first’ type of institution. The ‘Canes want to be a bigger force in basketball, and of course the Big Ten football is better than the ACC as a whole in most years.
South: Miami, Georgia Tech, UNC and Duke
What if the SEC adds Miami, Clemson, Florida State, and Georgia Tech along with adding Texas and Oklahoma? The ACC pod would be an easy maneuver for the ‘Canes with easy travel all around the conference. The SEC isn’t that focused on basketball, but they have great baseball programs in the conference.
Obviously the school size and focus on academics takes a drastic turn if Miami joins the SEC. Miami will have to kickstart even more fundraising to keep up with the big boys, and adjust their focus on academics a bit to keep up with LSU, et al. However, this is the conference to be in right now and especially if the SEC lands Clemson, Texas, OU and FSU.
ACC: Miami, Clemson, Florida State, and Georgia Tech
Miami could potentially also just stay home. If Clemson and Florida State stay in the ACC because the ACC is able to add Notre Dame and some combination of Cincinnati or West Virginia into the conference. WVU doesn’t make a ton of sense academically nor on the type of city that Morgantown is, but Cincy makes a ton of sense.
The Bearcats are really good at football right now, they have a top-35 TV market, a pro sports market, and a real airport as well as a strong presence in college basketball. Nippert Stadium is considered the best Group of 5 stadium experience in college football and Luke Fickell has the Bearcats as a top-10 program.
South: Miami / Georgia Tech / Florida State / Clemson
North: Boston College / Syracuse / Virginia / Virginia Tech
Midwest: Notre Dame / Pittsburgh / Louisville / Cincinatti
What does this mean for Miami?
If the Hurricanes are left out of the Power 4 I have no idea how the football program would survive. Joining some ‘National G5” type of conference with the ‘have nots’ of college football like NC State, Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas wouldn’t just cripple football financially, but it would destroy the non-revenue sports regarding travel and reasonable recruiting presence.
The ACC and/or Miami need/s to act NOW and get the future figured out in the present.