It's tough to know how today's announcement that Notre Dame is joining the ACC in a sports except football will affect the Big 12 without knowing exactly what the league's intentions were to begin with. All we are left to go on are assumptions of what could have been while guessing where things in the Big 12 are headed from here.
One has to assume - Bob Bowlsby has said there were conversations - the Big 12 wanted Notre Dame in the same type of arrangement the ACC just gave the Irish (if not a as a full member).
That's understandable since they were the biggest fish in the pond, but by waiting on Notre Dame to make a decision, they had to know they ran the risk of losing Florida State and Clemson. And that's making another big assumption which is whether Florida State and Clemson were ever really on the table for the Big 12's taking. That in itself is a debatable point depending on who you believe.
It appears from the outside looking in that the Big 12 made a decision that if Notre Dame wanted to come, they're in. If not, they would stick with 10 members and go forward as is. It's hard to imagine any line of thought that involved other ACC members still leaving the league once Notre Dame made their decision to join the conference.
Even without Notre Dame, the Big 12 appears to be in a good spot. That doesn't mean it couldn't have been even better, but that is something we may never know, at least not for the foreseeable future.
The new Big TV contract is signed, sealed, and delivered. Each school in the league will receive approximately $20 million per year from its media deal, plus the revenue from their third tier rights, plus the payout from the new Champions Bowl set to being in 2014 that according to the Big 12's commish on SiriusXM radio today, will pay each school another $4 million dollars per year.
Is Florida State or any other member of the ACC still a possibility? Again, were going on an assumption here, but the logical answer would be no, although I'm not convinced that by adding Notre Dame, the ACC's football problems are necessarily solved.
There may be additional TV money available, but keep in mind, NBC still has the rights to Notre Dame's home games (a contract Notre Dame is looking to extend). How that would be handled in conjunction with the ACC TV deal isn't yet known to my knowledge. That could leave only 2 or 3 addition games home games for the ACC to add to their TV package.
Then there is the new $50 million exit penalty put in place by the ACC today. On the surface, that would seem to make it extremely unlikely any school could afford to leave. Of course, the Big 12 knows all too well how these exit fees work. It didn't stop any team in the Big 12 from leaving when they had the chance. No, it wasn't $50 million, but there's usually seems to be room for negotiations here. There is already speculation circling in Florida State circles about whether that penalty would or could hold up. Florida State has also said they didn't vote in favor of the penalty.
So where does all this leave the Big 12? The probability for expansion in the short term certainly looks bleak. Who's out there that would be bring enough value to make it worth expanding? Louisville is nice, BYU is OK, but both lack the brand name the Big 12 has its sights set on. Nothing against either of those schools, but if the Big 12 were to add either (or anyone else still left in the Big East) then everything the conference has said regarding expansion to this point was nothing more than hot air.
We all know talk is exactly that when it comes to conference expansion, but the Big 12 has said repeatedly it is happy with 10 teams. I happen to believe them, but I also don't doubt that should the right schools come along, the conference would add two more teams without much second thought. The "right" schools coming along, however, now appears much less likely that it did earlier this summer.
I've always been and still remain in the camp the league would benefit from getting back to 12 teams, given the additions moved the needle nationally. For now, however, those teams don't look to be on the market which means the Big 12 waits and moves forward with ten.
That's still not a bad spot to be in. The league appears strong with a solid TV package moving forward paying the schools in the league more than double (more in some cases) than they had been getting under the old deal. And when expansion comes back up, the Big 12 is still as was well positioned as any league in the country to add teams when the timing is right.