The future of college football is anything but certain. The new transfer portal, NIL rules, potential playoff expansion, and ever-bigger media deals all spell major change coming for the sport in years to come.
With all that change in mind, Paul Finebaum doesn't see the ACC catching up with the process anytime soon the way the SEC and Big Ten are.
ACC is a "diminished conference"
“I put very little weight into any of it because the ACC has become such a diminished conference,” Finebaum told WJOX-FM.
“I say that because it wasn’t long ago when they were nipping, pretty far back, but they were still nipping at the heels of the SEC and the Big Ten, especially because of Clemson. But now, it’s been marginalized."
Clemson was one of the two early dynasties of the College Football Playoff era, making six straight CFP bids and winning two national championships.
But that streak ended in 2021, and it doesn't appear the ACC has another team that's capable of making a regular run at the playoff the way Clemson has.
Finebaum blasts ACC's media deal
“[The ACC has] been marginalized for a lot of reasons,” Finebaum said.
“But the biggest is that their television contract, which has a long way to go, I think another 10 years before it opens back up again, is about to become significantly behind everyone else that matters which is the Big Ten and the SEC.
"And I say that because the SEC’s deal is done, everybody knows that. The Big Ten is about to sign a mega, multi-billion dollar deal. There was a time where everybody was reasonably close, but the ACC is going to be so far behind that it’s going to affect them.”
Finebaum criticized ACC commissioner Jim Phillips for getting his conference involved with the so-called "Alliance," the informal group of conferences that came to oppose College Football Playoff expansion after Texas and Oklahoma announced they would join the SEC.
“I also question the leadership of the ACC and Jim Phillips,” Finebaum said.
“I’m surprised by this because he was really a great athletic director at Northwestern. But he has led the ACC down a very dark and dangerous road by getting in bed with the Big Ten and the Pac-12 on this alliance.
“Now I know the question had to do with them talking about divisions and other things, but that’s the state of college athletics.
“Really whatever the ACC says is great, but it’s really more their position in the sphere of college athletics that concerns me the most.”