Seminoles face a very tough decision

Florida State is now at the center of the ongoing conference realignment talks once again, but this year the "talk" centers on the Big 12 and not the SEC. Will it happen?

Today we will take a look at some things dealing with a potential move by Florida State to a different conference:

FSU joined the ACC in June 1991

There is no doubt that when Florida State joined the Atlantic Coast Conference it was expecting a very long relationship -- perhaps a forever relationship. It is a great academic league, the geography is good and FSU was getting added revenue by joining.

It was a strange college football world back then, with several independent schools doing extremely well on a national level: Florida State, Miami, Penn State, Notre Dame. But television money existed back in the day, too, and it was an issue that forced schools to join -- Penn State to the Big 10, Miami to the Big East. By adding FSU, the ACC was gaining credibility on a national scale, especially after Georgia Tech won a split national title in 1990. All signs pointed up.

About a decade ago, the ACC then added Miami -- still a national power at the time -- along with Boston College and Virginia Tech. The conference was apparently going to compete with the SEC.

However, the last decade has not been kind to the ACC, and it is generally considered closer to the Big East than the SEC in terms of national stature on the football field. On top of that perception, it is now being valued less than other conferences with regard to television money. This is potentially taking revenue away from the program.

Therein lies the problem, and it is made worse by rival Florida being in the big-money conference and sitting on close to $100 million.

Options

Stay: Not a terrible option. The ACC is not the WAC. Florida State is not playing in the minor leagues by staying. FSU would continue to be aligning itself mid-tier in the conference arms race, so to speak. But we do not think it is impossible to compete on a national level in this scenario. More difficult? Perhaps.

Big 12: This is about the University of Texas. Simply put, it is good to be tied to this monster of a program. The money will be more. The added fertile recruiting grounds are a bonus. There is potentially more cache with games against the Longhorns, both home and away. Travel becomes harder, but not significantly so. If the Big 12 is taking TCU and West Virginia, it's taking Florida State. But where does the Big 12 go after adding FSU?

SEC: This is about what the SEC is going to do. If it sticks at 14 programs, obviously Florida State is not an option. Making a move to 16 has no clear answers. Would FSU take the opportunity if given? I don't say how it could say no.

Hard to see the future

If we could see the outcomes right now over the 10-, 20- and 50-year windows, the decision would be easy for all parties. Unfortunately, we can't.

What happens with the proposed playoff scenariors in the short term? The long term?

On a grander scale, what happens to the sport of football in general considering the fact that the NFL is currently being sued by approximately 1,800 former players?

We simply do not know, which is where the risk enters the picture. Having said that, there is risk in staying as well -- being passed by and left to fight for scraps.

Prediction

We believe the writing is on the wall here. We do not see any interference with Florida State being unanimously asked to join the conference by current Big 12 schools. The invitation should be routine.

FSU accepting the invitation is more problematic, but we live in a world in which money talks. Cash is not left on the table, and for that reason alone we see FSU accepting said invitation and joining the Big 12 should the opportunity present itself.


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