Jan 1, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel (3) rests from the sidelines late in the fourth quarter against the Northern Illinois Huskies at the 2013 Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. The Seminoles defeated the Huskies 31-10. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Conference Realignment: The Dude says what?

Nov 12, 2011; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles players huddle up before the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

If you listen to the Dude of WVU, then you’d be led to believe that FSU to the Big 10 is imminent.  Or at least possible.  Or, maybe it will never happen.  Or it’s simmering now.

The Dude had two big things to tell us while speaking on The Spin Zone tonight… first, he says that FSU turned down an invitation to the SEC last year and second, that FSU and the B1G is a reality–so much so that it has the votes to join.  And apparently, other ACC schools are interested as well.

Truly, it’s hard to believe someone who isn’t inside the mind of Jim Delany.  Or Mike Slive.  We just can’t believe anything until Slive or Delany pulls the trigger on FSU.

The truth is, the Dude is making a reputation off FSU being the most intriguing piece of the conference realignment puzzle.  Why?

Well, FSU is the only school in the country that has 4 options for its future conference realignment. At this point, FSU could wind up staying in the ACC, joining the SEC, joining the B1G, or joining the Big 12.

For one, being located in Tallahassee is actually paying off because they are accessible to a larger geographic footprint. They could get to a game in Austin, Auburn, Boston, or State College fairly easily and without much disruption.

They also are the door for other conferences to more easily get into Florida. The Big Ten and Big 12 would love nothing more than to get into Florida.

Second, FSU has the national brand that every conference needs. They are and will always be a football king because they’re in a (1) recruiting hotbed and (2) football crazed culture. This means they have a following across the nation and if you follow FSU, you know they have one of the most rabid, intense fan bases.

You can ignore the fact that Tallahassee is a smaller town without a large media market. Almost all schools are that way. The truth is that the TV contracts are being dolled out based on the perceived quality of the product. FSU has a reputation for producing high quality products–championships and star players.

There is a reason FSU is constantly mentioned in conference realignment circles and that’s because they have the most flexibility of any other school. Being able to join any of 4 conferences is a tremendous leveraging tool in negotiations. And for those who say FSU has no shot in the SEC, I wouldn’t be sure.

First, the arguments that FSU duplicates UF’s TV markets are absurd. FSU fans and alumni follow FSU. UF fans and alumni follow UF. Rarely will those markets merge or crossover. In fact, they have distinctly separate followings and the SEC would only be adding viewers, not duplicating.

Second, the SEC, for all of the huffing and puffing about duplicating markets, may risk losing market share if the Big 10 or 12 invades. There is a tremendous amount of Big 10 alumni in Florida. They may have their sets tuned to SEC games but that would change immediately if the Big 10 nabbed FSU. That doesn’t seem ideal for the SEC either.

Those are just two very short, but sweet reminders of why the SEC should get it over with and invite FSU to join.

But until they do, FSU is the most intriguing case of conference realignment.

Tags: Acc Big 10 Conference Realignment Fsu Sec

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