Alabama Football: New conference ‘Alliance’ a shield from Tide and SEC

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

The pace of college football change is quickening. Alabama Football and the rest of the SEC are secure. The same cannot be said about other programs. Rapidly the Power Five will transition to the Power Four. The Big 12, if it does not merge with an existing conference will make the Group of Five, the Group of Six.

The latest change was more sudden than the move by Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. The Big Ten, the ACC and the Pac 12 decided safety in numbers was needed to buffer the dominance of the SEC. Though not yet officially announced, it is expected early next week the three conferences will make a joint announcement of their Alliance.

No doubt the three league commissioners will say the primary motivation is facilitating better scheduling. As in, more games that will attract more eyeballs and more dollars from media deals. According to Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News, the ‘Alliance’ will not include “shared media rights.” The B1G would never agree to sharing those dollars.

When the announcement is made, a counter Playoff plan is not expected to be discussed. Later, it should become known the Alliance members will not support a Playoff expansion that does not guarantee their conference champions gaining slots.

Beneath the surface of everything discussed about the change is the issue of future governance. The Power Five and future Power Four already have the autonomy to “write their own rules” without NCAA intrusion. The ‘Alliance’ as much as anything, appears to be an attempt by the three conferences to not have their power diminished through SEC dominance.

What also has to be on the minds of ACC leadership is attrition from future SEC expansion. A Clemson and either North Carolina, Florida State, Georgia Tech or Miami move to the SEC would severely damage the ACC. If the SEC wants to go to 18 teams, it is hard to see the Alliance blocking it. But, inter-league scheduling by the Alliance could make a one-loss Clemson team more Playoff-worthy and possibly dissuading the Tigers from an SEC move.

The impact on Alabama Football

It is hard to envision any negative impact on the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Alliance could fill its schedules with each other and indirectly refuse to play SEC teams in the regular season. A counter to that by the SEC would be to go to nine or ten-game conference schedule. Many Alabama Football fans would be happy with an 11 game conference season.

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