Orange Watch: How conference realignment affects Syracuse football

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Could West Virginia be headed for a reunion with Syracuse in the ACC?

Item: The major news that Oklahoma and Texas are bolting the Big 12 to join the SEC, means the inevitable will occur. There will be another round of seismic shifts in conference affiliation, resulting in what we think will be a future mega 64-team College Football Association. The entity will be comprised of four leagues (bye. bye Big 12) that will compete to enter the College Football Playoff each season, along with perhaps a few at-large bids scattered throughout the other FBS conferences (AAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sunbelt, and Independents) as a play-in method. The good news for Syracuse, it’s in the 64-team field.

From his first day on the job in February, ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips has had one subject at the forefront of his mind; the growth and relevance nationally of ACC football, and using the ACC Network to deliver that message.

Phillips has no choice but to keep up with the SEC and Big Ten and their rich TV contracts producing envious topline revenue, and even more so now that Oklahoma and Texas have essentially dealt the final death blow to the Big 12.

At last week’s ACC media event in Charlotte, the league announced that moving forward each of the current 14 teams will have its spring football event televised live on the ACC Network, along with the winter time Pro Days for professional scouts. In August, each of the schools will be featured during 2021 pre-season football camp, with Dino Babers and the Orange spotlighted on August 13 (7:00 p.m. ET).

Syracuse is New York’s major college football team, and eventually SU fans will have the ability to put their money where their mouth is in allegiance to the ‘Cuse by wagering online. New York State is expected to begin reviewing industry-leading companies’ proposals for online gaming this summer.

ACC Network exposure is critical for Syracuse football to achieve Barbers’ stated goal of being “consistently good instead of occasionally excellent.” It will also be relevant to recruiting, especially now in the NLI era for players to dovetail their own brand with that of the program they accept a scholarship from.

» Related: Breaking down Syracuse football at the ACC Kickoff

One item Babers can tell all of his recruits without flinching, they’re playing at the highest level in the ACC before eyeing a pro career.

Below is our prediction of the look at the future East-Midwest-South-West geographic makeup of major college football. Apologies to TCU, the odd school out. The Horned Frogs will have to settle for becoming the 12th member of the AAC joining near-by SMU and in-state Houston in that league.

The projected lineup as we see it:

ACC BIG TEN   SEC PAC 12    
Boston College Illinois Alabama Arizona
Clemson Indiana Arkansas Arizona State
Duke Iowa Auburn Baylor
Florida State Iowa State Florida California
Georgia Tech Kansas Georgia Colorado
Louisville Maryland Kentucky Kansas State
Miami Michigan LSU Oklahoma State
North Carolina Michigan State Mississippi Oregon
North Carolina State Minnesota Mississippi State Oregon State
Notre Dame Nebraska Missouri Stanford
Pittsburgh Northwestern Oklahoma Texas Tech
Syracuse Ohio State Tennessee UCLA
Virginia Penn State Texas A&M USC
Virginia Tech Purdue Texas Utah
Wake Forest Rutgers South Carolina Washington
West Virginia Wisconsin Vanderbilt Washington State

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About Brad Bierman 762 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.