Breaking: ACC Set to Announce Grant of Rights Deal Through 2027 (Updated)

The ACC's Grant of Rights Will Lock in All Teams Through 2027... Goodbye, Realignment Talk!

The ACC’s Grant of Rights Will Lock in All Teams Through 2027… Goodbye, Realignment Talk!

So, remember all those times when the ACC was pretty much dead? Well, so much for that…

As reported by ACC Sports Journal’s David Glenn and The Daily Press’s David Teel, it looks like the ACC is set to announce a grant of media rights agreement through 2027. Such a deal would lock in media revenues from broadcast rights through 2027 for all teams except Notre Dame‘s football program. So, if a school wanted to leave for what used to be perceived as a “better” deal with the Big Ten or Big 12, that benefit’s now moot, since that school would surrender 14 years of revenues.

Obviously, fans of the league have been calling for this type of move for some time, as it basically builds a fence around the current membership (similar to what the Big 12 did a couple years back). With such a long deal, too, the ACC suddenly drops to the bottom of any potential expansion list, since no school can afford to give up a decade-and-a-half of revenues. Effectively, with the two most “vulnerable” leagues (ACC and Big 12) locked up for the foreseeable future, the conference realignment circus looks to be dead, at least in terms of the five major conferences.

We’ll be able to provide more information once the announcement is official and we see the agreement’s details in their entirety. It’s a great day for the ACC and all of its members, and in my own opinion, the perfect segue for an ACC Network to get up and running. With media rights locked in for such an extended period of time, there’s less risk and more value than ever before in undertaking such an endeavor.

Thoughts? These are just some of my initial reactions, and would love to discuss it all further with folks in the comments. We’ll also leave you with this image, courtesy of @TheKeyPlay.

UPDATED: CBS notes that payouts per-school will now be at $20 million annually. This is huge, and with the ACC Network still in the wings, suddenly, the conference is looking much more competitive from a revenue standpoint. The grant of rights agreement also removes the previous exit fee (three times the operating budget).

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Notre Dame, ACC Announce Football Opponents Rotation for 2014 Through 2016 Seasons

Syracuse and Notre Dame Will Face Off Twice in the First Three Years of the ACC Scheduling Arrangement

Syracuse & Notre Dame Face Off Twice in the First Three Years of the ACC Scheduling Arrangement

The big news out of Notre Dame‘s camp today (after yesterday’s announcement regarding the NBC contract extension) is the rotation of ACC football opponents for the 2014 through 2016 seasons. As a quick refresher, the Fighting Irish will play five ACC teams per season going forward, and with 14 conference teams, there’s no simple rotation available. Still, per the release today, the schedule will look like this (dates TBD):

2014

Home: Louisville, North Carolina, Wake Forest
Road: Florida State, Syracuse

2015

Home: Boston College, Georgia Tech
Road: Clemson, Pittsburgh, Virginia

2016

Home: Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech
Road: NC State, Syracuse

… we took a crack at figuring what the schedule would look like about a month ago, and while we swung and missed on several of these (understandably so — there were a lot of options to go with), we did correctly guess that Syracuse would be doubled up on the first rotation. This is likely due to the Meadowlands arrangement that’s already in place, rather than a favoritism toward facing the Orange (if anything, I’m sure ND would rather play BC or Pitt more often than the others).

So while that all appears pretty cut-and-dry, it actually ends up leading to a few more questions: Who gets doubled up on the rotation’s next go-around? Will it have to be a high-profile team (FSU, Clemson, Georgia Tech, VaTech) or one playing at a neutral site? And where will these games be televised? Assuming ESPN, for sure, on these Notre Dame road games. But what of the home games? Are they all just automatically sent over to NBC?

The Irish also have to spend some time clearing room on the 2014 schedule, with one more game left to go after they removed Arizona State. I’d bet the pick there is Rice, but at the same time, the Owls would be one of Notre Dame’s only breaks in what’s otherwise a monster slate of major-conference teams.

Thoughts? Complaints? Sour grapes over Syracuse getting two games in this rotation despite being one of the “new guys?” Share your commentary below.

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Rushel Shell Transfer: Where to, and What’s Next for Pitt’s Backfield?

Rushel Shell's Leaving Pittsburgh, But Where Could He End Up Next?

We Know Rushel Shell’s Leaving Pittsburgh, But Where Could He End Up Next?

As has been the news for nearly a week now, presumed starting running back Rushel Shell has elected to transfer out of Pittsburgh’s football program. SB Nation’s Cardiac Hill has a detailed breakdown of the various puzzling aspects of this move, so for discussion around that front, feel free to wander in that general direction.

What we’re interested in here is where he could potentially end up (touched upon over at CH as well), and then what’s next for the Panthers’ backfield as they continue with spring practice. With little information available right now, please keep in mind this is almost entirely speculation at the moment.

Where could Rushel Shell transfer to?

Just one year ago, Shell was in high demand as one of the top-rated running back prospects in the nation, and he was expected to deliver on those lofty goals as Pitt’s featured back in 2013. Now, he’s an impressive sophomore runner with 641 rushing yards and four scores under his belt, looking for a new home where he’ll sit out a year before regaining eligibility in 2014.

The top transfer choices are the ones in closest proximity: West Virginia and Penn State, but there’s chatter that Pitt would not allow him to head to either long-time rival program. Same goes for Arizona State, where former Panthers coach Todd Graham currently resides as head coach. The Cardiac Hill guys believe Pitt would block any move to those three schools, but is that the right move? Not siding with Shell here, but based on a recent tweet from the mother of Shell’s children, it would almost seem like he’s trying to run from some issues (purely speculation). However, rewind the clock a year, and let’s remember what happened when former Terps QB Danny O’Brien was trying to leave Maryland and head coach Randy Edsall was adamant about limiting his possibilities. The backlash was pretty far-reaching and ultimately, amounted to nothing since O’Brien failed to go to a future scheduled opponent or another ACC team (he went to Wisconsin).

So with that said, where could he potentially land? The top two choices are obvious:

Arizona State: Graham and his staff initially recruited Shell, and perhaps that was part of the initial appeal to the Panthers program (beyond just local tie-ins). The Sun Devils currently have a veteran backfield set for fall, giving Shell ample opportunity to contribute come fall 2014.

West Virginia: Still local, and like many Pitt players, Shell certainly knows plenty of Mountaineers players. With the Big 12 sort of lacking for an elite back, Shell could get an opportunity to really shine in that conference, though who knows how much opportunity he’d get in Dana Holgorsen’s air-raid offense.

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ACC Football Head Coaching Hot Seats 2013

Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson is One of Several ACC Coaches on Tentative Ground Right Now

Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson is One of Several ACC Coaches on Tentative Ground Right Now

We’re just jumping into spring practice (you can look at every ACC team’s previews here), but for all 14 (15) squads, this is the start of the 2013 season. And for head coaches, this is where the year’s evaluations start; from their players, the school administrations, the fans and the boosters that can easily pull the plug on their position. While some of the ACC‘s head coaches are firmly entrenched where they’re at, there are also plenty that find themselves in precarious situations. Regarding both, we provide a quick evaluation of where all of them stand, new coaches and all.

Completely Safe (5)

Dabo Swinney, Clemson (sixth year): Swinney has brought the Tigers to an extended period of success they haven’t seen in decades, winning the ACC, becoming a perennial top-20 program and taking home a huge victory in the 2012 Chick-fil-a Bowl. The only things left? Consistently beating South Carolina and winning a national championship.

David Cutcliffe, Duke (sixth year): After getting Duke to their first bowl game since 1994, it appears that Cutcliffe can do no wrong in Durham. Of course, now the question begs whether he can keep it up. So long as he can consistently win between five and seven games, Cutcliffe will be just fine at Duke.

Charlie Strong, Louisville (fourth year): Strong had a real opportunity to leave this past offseason, yet chose to stick around at Louisville to finish what he started. While there’s always the threat he could head to the SEC, Strong’s ability to rebuild this program and contend on a national stage (see: Sugar Bowl) have him here long-term if he wants to be.

Larry Fedora, North Carolina (second year): Just a small sample size for Fedora thus far, but in his one season, he’s already brought UNC to a place of far more prominence than they’ve been in a decade. He’ll get several seasons to continue implementing his system, but if trends continue, he’ll be fine in Chapel Hill.

Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh (second year): Another second-year coach, Chryst has seen some results after a season at the helm, but it appears he’s set to grow the program further after (especially after a nice recruiting haul this spring). If they take a step back, questions may start, but he’s got plenty of runway to work with.

Fine for Now (4)

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State (fourth year): Expectations are always high at FSU, so it’s no surprise Fisher sits here, despite winning 12 games and an ACC title last year. Now, of course, it’ll be interesting to see if he can live up year-to-year. If Fisher can’t contend more than every few seasons, patience will grow short very quickly around Florida State.

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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: Top 10

Clemson Starts Off Its Season In the National Spotlight, Against the SEC's Georgia Bulldogs

Clemson Starts Off Its Season In the National Spotlight, Against the SEC’s Georgia Bulldogs

*Some computer troubles delayed the release of this final post, but nonetheless, here are your top 10 games for 2013:

The 2013 ACC football schedule has officially been released, meaning we finally have some clarity as to whom the conference’s 14 teams will face-off with from week-to-week next season. So with that in mind, we thought it would be an entertaining undertaking to rank all 112 ACC football games for 2013 because, well… it’s the offseason.

Today, we look at numbers 10 through one; the best of the best for this year’s ACC schedule. Among the highlights, in- and out-of-conference rivalries galore, and a bevy of top-ranked matchups that are sure to catch national attention (and hopefully, accolades for the conference, too).

#10: Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Saturday, November 30)

#9: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Clemson Tigers (Thursday, November 14)

#8: Virginia Cavaliers at North Carolina Tar Heels (Saturday, November 9)

#7: Boston College Eagles at Syracuse Orange (Saturday, November 30)

#6: Virginia Tech Hokies at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Thursday, September 26)

#5: Clemson Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks (Saturday, November 30)

#4: Florida State Seminoles at Miami Hurricanes (Saturday, November 2)

#3: Florida State Seminoles at Florida Gators (Saturday, November 30)

#2: Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Tigers (Saturday, October 19)

#1: Clemson Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs (Saturday, August 31)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • The 10 games appear on 7 different dates
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent leagues: SEC (4)
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent home states: Georgia (2), Florida (1), South Carolina (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: four public

Previously: #112-101, #100-91, #90-81, #80-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #40-31, #30-21, #20-11

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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #20-11

Can This Year's Iteration of North Carolina v. NC State Live Up to Last Year's Thriller?

Can This Year’s Iteration of North Carolina v. NC State Live Up to Last Year’s Thriller?

The 2013 ACC football schedule has officially been released, meaning we finally have some clarity as to whom the conference’s 14 teams will face-off with from week-to-week next season. So with that in mind, we thought it would be an entertaining undertaking to rank all 112 ACC football games for 2013 because, well… it’s the offseason.

Today, we look at numbers 20 through 11; the real meat of the ACC schedule overall. While most of these games highlight rematches from some great 2012 contests, there’s also a good deal of new matchups — some due to kickoff classics, and others to renewed rivalries.

#20: NC State Wolfpack at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Saturday, October 5)

#19: Duke Blue Devils at North Carolina Tar Heels (Saturday, November 30)

#18: Virginia Tech Hokies at Boston College Eagles (Saturday, November 2)

#17: Florida State Seminoles at Pittsburgh Panthers (Monday, September 2)

#16: Florida Gators at Miami Hurricanes (Saturday, September 7)

#15: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (Saturday, August 31)

#14: North Carolina Tar Heels at South Carolina Gamecocks (Thursday, August 29)

#13: Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Pittsburgh Panthers (Saturday, November 9)

#12: Virginia Tech Hokies at Miami Hurricanes (Saturday, November 9)

#11: North Carolina Tar Heels at NC State Wolfpack (Saturday, November 2)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • The 10 games appear on 8 different dates
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent leagues: SEC (2), Independent (1)
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent home states: Alabama (1), Florida (1), Indiana (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: two public, one private

Previously: #112-101, #100-91, #90-81, #80-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #40-31, #30-21

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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #30-21

Syracuse and Pittsburgh Get to Continue Their Rivalry (Or Lack Thereof) in the ACC

Syracuse and Pittsburgh Get to Continue Their Rivalry (Or Lack Thereof) in the ACC

The 2013 ACC football schedule has officially been released, meaning we finally have some clarity as to whom the conference’s 14 teams will face-off with from week-to-week next season. So with that in mind, we thought it would be an entertaining undertaking to rank all 112 ACC football games for 2013 because, well… it’s the offseason.

Today, we look at numbers 30 through 21; a collection of great in- and out-of-conference matchups, many of which are rooted in decades of history. If you haven’t noticed, we’re now getting to the games which could (potentially) grab some national attention, and potentially even shape the ACC title race.

#30: Maryland Terrapins vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (Saturday, September 21)

#29: Virginia Tech Hokies at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday, November 30)

#28: Syracuse Orange vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (Saturday, August 31)

#27: North Carolina Tar Heels at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Saturday, September 21)

#26: North Carolina Tar Heels at Virginia Tech Hokies (Saturday, October 5)

#25: Pittsburgh Panthers at Virginia Tech Hokies (Saturday, October 12)

#24: Virginia Cavaliers at Maryland Terrapins (Saturday, October 12)

#23: North Carolina Tar Heels at Pittsburgh Panthers (Saturday, November 16)

#22: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Miami Hurricanes (Saturday, October 5)

#21: Pittsburgh Panthers at Syracuse Orange (Saturday, November 23)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • The 10 games appear on 8 different dates
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent leagues: Big Ten (1), Big 12 (1)
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent home states: Pennsylvania (1), West Virginia (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: two public

Previously: #112-101, #100-91, #90-81, #80-71, #70-61, #60-51, #50-41, #40-31

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