The Big 10, ACC and Pac 12 Alliance’s impact on Alabama Football is unclear. A quick, somewhat serious take is the three conferences are afraid of the SEC and their response creates an ‘SEC vs. The Rest of the World’ environment. That catchy phrase was stolen from a Jeff Goodman tweet.
What is clear is the three conference move was a reaction to SEC expansion bringing in Texas and Oklahoma. The three conferences quickly reacted to protect themselves from possible attrition. The bolstering of each other was probably necessary, but it suggests some weakness. As in, the three ‘don’t-wanna-be-Davids’ don’t want to battle the SEC Goliath alone.
Jealousy of Alabama Football must be a contributing factor
Alabama Football is certainly the backbone of the SEC’s not inconsiderable strength. The dominance of Alabama Football must rankle many of the also-rans. Whatever the Alliance is or isn’t, it essentially changes nothing for the SEC’s flagship program. At some point, the Alabama Crimson Tide may have fewer willing FBS opponents. The result might be a change in scheduling that matches what Nick Saban has wanted for years – more SEC games and possibly no FCS opponents.
Others can unwrap what the Alliance believes it will accomplish. The 40 (41 if Notre Dame is counted) member schools either don’t really know, don’t want to say, or are afraid to actually bind themselves to each other. The three leagues have no contractual agreement. Pac 12 Commissioner, George Kliavkoff said one was not needed. Dennis Dodd, writing for CBS, called it a “non-aggression pact.”
There was talk about shared goals and about future scheduling arrangements. A fuzzy claim of being motivated to save college football was a consistent theme. Less fuzzy and far more likely, their efforts are to collar dollars and more future College Football Playoff slots. Those unstated goals require preempting any attempt by the SEC to add two to four more schools. The ACC is at the greatest risk of attrition with Clemson, and some Florida, North Carolina and Georgia markets good SEC fits.
It appears the Pac 12 is the league most fearful of being the least favored step-child. Still bristling from the possibility of an expanded College Football Playoff not guaranteeing a spot for their conference champion, the Pac needed the clout of the other two leagues to thwart the potential change.
Will the SEC be content to sit at 16? Will college football stabilize with a Power Four and a Group of Six? There are no current answers. More change seems likely and whatever year the shuffling subsides will there just be two ‘Power’ conferences with less than 60 teams, playing only each other? If so, the ‘rest’ of college football might create a second competition for a separate ‘claimed’ National Championship.
The Alliance is purportedly built on ‘trust’. It is surely built on distrust of the SEC. But would any of the three new buddies have turned Texas and Oklahoma down? No way.