Just in case there was any confusion: big-time college football is about one thing: money. It's the impetus behind all the conference realignments, including the three-teams-out, eight-teams-in shuffling going on in the Big East.
And while the Big East may have been ripe for the picking -- Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia all, in their minds, graduated to better situations in the ACC and Big 12, respectively -- even the most powerful conferences aren't immune to defections. Or, at the very least, discussions about it.
Florida State, which joined the ACC in 1991, and now they could be the first to bolt the conference in some time. The school's athletic director told the Orlando Sentinel last week that the school is committed to staying in the ACC but football coach Jumbo Fisher seems to think otherwise.
"There have been no official talks, but I think you always have to look out there to see what's best for Florida State," Fisher said. "If that [jumping to the Big 12] is what's best for Florida State, then that's what we need to do."
And according to the Sentinel. Andy Haggart, chairman of Florida State's board of trustees, wholeheartedly agreed with Fisher. University president Dr. Eric Barron eventually issued a statement to clarify the FSU's stance on the matter.
"Florida State University regrets that misinformation about the provisions of the ACC contract has unnecessarily renewed the controversy and speculation about University's athletic conference alignment. Florida State respects the views of the Chair of its Board of Trustees that, of course, any university would examine options that would impact university academics, athletics or finances. At the same time, Florida State is not seeking an alternative to the ACC nor are we considering alternatives. Our current commitments remain strong."
Disaster averted, right? For the time being.
As we stated above, and as Yahoo.com's Dr. Saturday blog reiterated last week, this is about money. Specifically, the Seminoles, given their fan base and geographic location, are uniquely positioned to create their own television network in much the same way the Texas Longhorns did.
So what does this have to do with the Big East, even tangentially? More via Dr. Saturday's Graham Watson:
This isn't the first time Florida State has been mentioned as a potential expansion candidate for the Big 12. Clemson, Notre Dame and Louisville also has been thrown in there as potential candidates to help the Big 12 get back to 12 teams following the departures of Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M in the past few years. The Big 12 will add TCU and West Virginia for the 2012 season.
UConn doesn't yet have the football cachet to garner such consideration, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't jump at an opportunity to better their situation. University president Susan Herbst hasn't given her unequivocal support behind staying in the Big East. The overarching takeaway: schools are looking out for their best interests. And that's not a bad thing, it's just the current climate we live in.