An announcement of a partnership between the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 may come on Tuesday, per Yahoo! Sports, though there probably won’t be much in the way of specifics on the mechanics of this thing.
The biggest longer-term implication is football scheduling, and this is one possible scenario moving forward:
An agreement where each football team in the three conferences would play one opponent from each of the other two leagues on an annual basis. In most cases, the opponents would rotate. This could help maximize revenue in upcoming television deals for the Big Ten and Pac-12, which have expiring media rights deals in upcoming seasons. (The Big Ten deal is through the 2022 football season and the Pac-12 through the 2023 football season.)
That sounds like fun in theory, especially getting more Pac-12 games since ACC schools play those only once in a blue moon, but I’m not sure how such a scheduling agreement helps the ACC. The Big Ten and Pac-12 are already used to playing 10 power-conference schools per year (nine league games + one OOC), but the ACC, which still has an eight-game league schedule, is not.
It’s an easier adjustment for the other two leagues, which would drop a conference game in exchange for the extra non-conference matchup, while ACC schools would be adjusting to an added degree of scheduling difficulty. Adding that extra P5 game makes it at least a little bit tougher to get to the CFB Playoff for any given league member—even Clemson!—which is not ideal.
Selfishly, I like what NC State already has put together with its P5 scheduling: Texas Tech, Florida, BYU, Vanderbilt, and Cincinnati (not to mention Notre Dame) are on tap over the next half dozen years and I’d like to keep those games. Figure most if not all of them would have to be nixed to implement a new agreement with the Big Ten and Pac-12. Who’s paying for those contract buyouts? NC State doesn’t have a lot of money sitting around for this type of thing.
And while a scheduling pact could obviously bolster the soon-to-be-renegotiated TV deals for the Big Ten and Pac-12, it’s unclear just how much it would help the ACC, which is locked in with ESPN well into the next decade.
All of this is premature speculation anyhow, so we’ll have to see how the agreement plays out in practice. I just don’t know that the ACC stands to gain as much as the other two leagues, when it comes down to it.