Clemson football in a dangerous spot if it stays in the ACC

Jul 22, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers coach Dabo Swinney speaks to the media during the ACC Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers coach Dabo Swinney speaks to the media during the ACC Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The Clemson football program is in an extremely volatile spot as we look ahead to potential conference realignment that will shake the College Football world.

There have now been multiple reports that Texas and Oklahoma have been in talks with the SEC for the greater part of six months now on leaving the Big 12 to join the conference. Reports have also said that Texas and Oklahoma could officially make their intentions clear to the Big 12 as soon as next week.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel explored what might happen to the rest of the College Football world following the move from Texas and Oklahoma. In short, it’s not looking bright for any league outside of the SEC, but especially the ACC.

Thamel noted that the ACC is in a bad spot because of the deal it made with ESPN to get the ACC Network. The conference’s network is far behind the same revenue that the SEC Network produces and much of that has to do with the initial deal.

Keep in mind that deal runs through 2036.

"“The ACC is in a difficult spot because it ate a bad deal from ESPN to get a linear network. Now it is frozen for two decades in an antiquated agreement, as the ACC gives schools more than $32 million per year,” Thamel wrote.“Phillips needs to do something dynamic to blow up that deal and get back to the bargaining table. Those options are limited, and ESPN isn’t going to be eager to give up a sweetheart deal on its end.”"

Thamel also reported that the ACC reached out to both Texas and Oklahoma, but that the two schools seem set on joining the SEC. And why wouldn’t they?

"“The loss of Texas as an option is a huge blow to the ACC’s ambitions, as multiple sources indicated that the ACC was caught by surprise Wednesday. The ACC’s other big play was Notre Dame, but the league failed to use any leverage it had on Notre Dame as a quasi-member the past few years. The new College Football Playoff proposal doubles as a security blanket for Notre Dame’s independence, which means little incentive for it to find a league home. Especially with its own lucrative TV deal coming.The best remaining option for the ACC will be some type of scheduling arrangement or merger with the Pac-12. And that hints at another potential ripple from this move – is this going to be remembered as the pivot point toward super conferences?,” Thamel wrote."

The best remaining option is a potential scheduling arrangement or merger with the Pac-12? Count us out.

If Clemson football stays in the ACC, the Tigers are going to be in a dangerous situation

There is no indication from anyone that we’ve talked to that Clemson is even considering leaving the ACC, so we should first point that out.

While anything can change at a given moment, it wouldn’t seem that the SEC- which would have 16 conference members if it added Texas and Oklahoma- would have room or want to add more member institutions.

So, if Clemson stays in the ACC- and that obviously is the most likely path at this point- all we’re saying is that the Tigers are going to be in a dangerous situation.

The ACC was already falling behind the SEC and Big Ten in revenue generation. Now, with the addition of NIL and the major revenue that the SEC is going to be bringing in with Texas and Oklahoma added to the league- assuming it happens- you can only imagine how much further down the food chain the ACC is going to fall.

If the conference were to add a couple of schools- like Notre Dame or West Virginia- that may keep it relevant for the time being and would definitely add a nice amount of revenue with the Irish on board, but let’s still not pretend that the ACC won’t be considered a second-rate citizen compared to that of the SEC, as we’ve already seen in the past well before these additions.

The ACC has to make some moves and it has to make them now.

If not, the Clemson football program is going to be at a major disadvantage in terms of finances compared to that of its SEC competition.

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