The Big 12 could decapitate the ACC in realignment. Instead, the conferences may try symbiosis, forming a relationship Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby termed “friends with benefits.”
It’s not clear what this relationship will involve. A football scheduling relationship with 10 vs. 14 (possibly 15 if ND steps in) would be wonky. It also would not help the Big 12’s strength of schedule. A joint network might not be feasible. Even if it was, what would the point be? A gentlemen’s agreement not to poach provides little security. The primary danger for the ACC comes from Big Ten and ACC expansion, not from the Big 12. Unless the “benefits” help make up the gross TV revenue disparity, that’s still a problem.
Nothing may come of this, though it is encouraging to see conferences finally, sort of… recognize they are in business with one another.
[Photo via USA Today Sports]