Conference Realignment: Stanford and Cal to Join The ACC

Stanford and Cal leaving for the ACC

In what has been a very eventful and sad month for the Pac-12 could come to an end soon. Stanford and Cal are in serious talks with the Atlantic Coast Conference about becoming members. If you were to make this statement 15-years ago, this wouldn’t make sense. However, in an era where conferences expand from coast to coast anything is possible.

In July, the Colorado Buffalo continued the domino effect USC and UCLA started a year prior. Colorado announced that they will rejoin the Big 12 in 2024. This news was a shock for some, but a revelation for others. The Pac-12 is sinking ship and you don’t want to be the last program without a life raff.

Like in 2011, Colorado bolted for the Pac-12 when the Big 12 started to lose members to the SEC and Big Ten. Surprisingly, the Big 12 managed to stay afloat even after Texas and Oklahoma announced their departure.

That is a testament to the leadership in the Big 12.

Needless to say, the only Power 5 conference in the west coast seemed to be airtight. However, when media rights started to become more of a major factor in college football, the value of the Pac-12 seemed to pale in comparison to the other conferences.

So much so that the Pac-12 is still without a media rights deal. At this point, there’s no need to look for one.

Pac-12 Departures

Once Colorado started the chain of events started by USC and UCLA in 2022, the rest of the programs started to scramble for a landing spot. Oregon and Washington announced last week that they would be leaving for the Big Ten. Unsurprisingly, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah announce on August 4th that they too would be leaving.

The lone member of the Pac-12 after this season would be Stanford, Cal, Oregon State, and Washington State. Out of the four schools remaining, Cal and Standford have the bigger brands. This has led to the ACC as a good landing spot.

Stanford and Cal in The ACC

At first, this idea of Stanford and Cal joining the ACC seemed odd to me. The cross-country conference members on paper doesn’t look like a good fit. However, that paper is drawn out on a map. Since geography doesn’t play a role in a program’s membership into conference anymore, Cal and Stanford make sense.

Unlike the other conferences, the ACC has most of the division 1 private schools that play at the FBS level. Duke, Miami, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest are all Private. Notre Dame is a member of the ACC in all other sports. Stanford would be another excellent addition.

Although Cal is not a private school, its academic prestige and great alumni base fits what the ACC does well.

For Cal and Stanford, the ACC is a great security blanket. Due to the Grants of Rights deal that r the ACC has, the conference is the most protected out of all the conferences. The Grants of Rights (GOR) does not run out until 2036.

The GOR ensures that when Cal and Stanford join the ACC, they will have peace of mind that the conference isn’t going anywhere.

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