Updated: Aug 11, 2022
The ACC, Big Ten, and PAC 12 announced their shared vision for the future of college athletics. What seems to be a fantastic opportunity for three conferences, both educationally and athletically, the mission appears to fall short of solving one thing—the SEC.
Thankfully the SEC does not reign over all college sports. For those sports other than football, the Alliance is an incredible opportunity for the conferences to increase exposure and competition and improve their overall appeal. Although not enough information is known, perhaps the biggest winner in this alliance is college basketball. If appropriately executed, we could see more big games like the ACC/Big Ten challenge at the beginning of every basketball season. But that’s a discussion for another article.
The big question here, and perhaps the only reason this alliance was formed, is the SEC. This Alliance being announced shortly after the news that the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma would likely join the SEC makes you wonder, is this their way of fighting back? If the alliance is not broken and the three conferences can work together and agree in the future, they now have a substantial amount of voting power over the SEC. But let’s talk about what matters, winning games.
Notably, the SEC has dominated the college football playoffs and bowl games over the last few years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down with only a few contenders coming out of other conferences. Although the Alliance plans to begin – as soon as practical – is some form of inter-conference scheduling enough to go head-to-head with the SEC in football? Maybe? If the scheduling is done right and not just one lousy game a year against the opposing conference, the strength in schedule could help teams better prepare for an Alabama powerhouse. Let’s remember, a strong Ohio State was not prepared to play Alabama in 2020 with the schedule they had and playing Clemson, an alliance conference team. What is more likely to help is better recruits.
The Alliance spans sports and education, and with some of the best academic programs in the nation a part of this alliance, the hope is that with more appealing games, players will be inclined to play for the Alliance rather than for the SEC. If that happens, we can see teams like Alabama, LSU, and Georgia losing key players that weren't always willing to go elsewhere. Additionally, why not play for an alliance team? With the age of NIL just starting, why go to a team filled with talented players instead of being one of the best players on your team and have the ability to cash in on more national and local deals. It’s time the same six-team rotation isn’t in the playoffs every year, and we have a free-for-all every year.
I remain hesitant about whether this will put the three conferences at an advantage or equal playing field against the SEC in football. However, in all other areas of sports and academics, the Alliance seems to make the ACC, Big Ten, and PAC 12 a dominant force to be reckoned with.