Postscripts: Waiting for the ACC Collapse, Venables’ Extension, New Blood in Houston

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami

What’s going on in the Big 12 and beyond? I expand and explain every Sunday in Postscripts at Heartland College Sports, your home for independent Big 12 coverage.

This week, the ACC seems destined for a major change, West Virginia has an NBA champion and the Big 12 Fan Base-Zamboni challenge.


Waiting for the ACC to Fail?

It sort of feels that way, doesn’t it?

Our Pete Mundo had Fox play-by-play announcer Tim Brando on his podcast earlier this week and he talked about the ACC’s future. See, Tim even tweeted out the conversation, because if it’s not on Twitter then it didn’t happen.

Josh Pate at The Late Kick believes that “reconstruction of the ACC is imminent.”

If all of this feels familiar, well, it’s what happened to the Pac-12, which we should acknowledge still exists, just not in the way it used to.

But it’s also different. And it’s also different than the Big 12’s situation with Texas and Oklahoma.

Or did either of those two leagues have five different lawsuits going on at once?

Earlier this week a judge in Leon County, Fla., ruled against the ACC, which was trying to get Florida State’s lawsuit thrown out of court. That ruling gave the Tampa Bay Times’ Matt Baker a chance to quickly recap all five lawsuits:


FSU v ACC, in Tallahassee; ACC v FSU, in North Carolina; Clemson v ACC, in South Carolina; ACC v Clemson, in North Carolina; and Florida Attorney General v ACC.

The only entity able to spin this many things at once is Red Panda. These are all county or state lawsuits, by the way. For instance, FSU has sued the ACC in Leon County while the ACC has countersued FSU in North Carolina.

The Pac-12 never got this bad. The Big 12 DEFINITELY never got this bad.

It’s about money, of course. It’s about the BIG money the SEC and Big Ten will make starting next year and the less than BIG money the ACC will make moving forward in a TV deal that goes through 2036 and does have an opt-in in 2028 — which ESPN holds.

Recently ACC commissioner Jim Phillips came to the defense of the conference, but also said a “reset” is coming in college sports (duh) and was determined to keep the ACC alive. There were a lot of takeaways from that Charlotte News-Observer piece, but this one stuck out:

“So we’re going to fight. I’m going to fight. And the courts will ultimately decide. And we believe that everybody knows what was in that contract back then. And it was celebrated. And people were excited.  A new network (with ESPN). We’d just lost Maryland (to the Big Ten) and it was a chance for unity and togetherness and the rest of it.

“And there was a unanimous acceptance of, ‘this is a great deal for the ACC.’ And that has changed in the minds of a couple.”

Jim, lemme tell you a little story about what happens when a couple of “minds” change.

In the Big 12 a couple of minds changed and those minds are headed for the SEC. The Big 12 decided to make lemonade out of lemons and is now more stable than the ACC.

In the Pac-12 a couple of minds changed and those minds are headed for the Big Ten. The others couldn’t agree on what to do and the rest, save two, bailed, too.

This is a pivotal moment for the ACC. Allowing the courts to decide may not yield the ruling that Phillips is hoping for. If he does get the ruling he wants, the cases may die, but the acrimony will live on. Because, as Oklahoma and Texas showed us here in the Big 12, once those “minds” have changed, there’s no changing them back. If FSU and Clemson can’t get out legally, they’ll find another way.


The Big 12 is busy trying to generate as much revenue as possible to be competitive, to the point of courting private equity partners in what would be a college conference first. It’s invested in surviving and thriving, even if that means breaking some norms in the process.

The ACC hasn’t generated any new revenue streams that I’m aware of. It also has three new members, all of whom are joining under the condition that they will either get a paltry TV revenue payout (Stanford and Cal get approximately $8 million each of the first seven years) or none at all (SMU for the next nine years). But don’t cry for SMU because they just did this:

But at least they’re still in a power conference. For now. But maybe not forever.

I don’t feel good about this. This could end up being the third part of the trilogy, but without the happy ending.

West Virginia’s Champion

The Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals over my beloved Dallas Mavericks in five games (I’m still in mourning so keep it to yourself).

That said, Joe Mazzulla — a former West Virginia point guard who went to the Final Four under Bob Huggins — was the head coach that led the Celtics to that title.

It’s an incredibly insane rise for Mazzulla. He was an assistant at two Division II schools and with the G League’s Maine Red Claws before taking over at Fairmont State in 2017. He went 43-17 in two seasons and took an assistant coach position with the Celtics in 2019.

He happened into the head-coaching job on an interim basis in 2022 after the Celtics suspended Ime Udoka for the entire season for violating team rules. He did so well that the Celtics made him the permanent guy and now he has an NBA title ring coming to him.

Anyway, here’s Mazzulla telling ESPN’s Zach Lowe what role he would like to have in robbing a bank. Hypothetically.


Which Big 12 Fan Base Is Most Likely …

… to do this while tail-gating?

By the way, go Oilers. I want history. The only other team to come back from 3-0 to win the Stanley Cup was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.

Summer is for Vacations

Hey, Big 12 basketball coaches can’t live by transfer portal alone. Sometimes they’ve got to get out and relax and keep the family happy.

Here’s UCF men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins with his wife at a Cubs game (presumably they went inside after the photo was taken).

The Portal Isn’t Always Kind

Count Mississippi Valley State baseball coach CJ Bilbrey among those that have had enough of the transfer portal and he’s taking to social media to find players for next season. It’s probably not the most efficient, but I’d love to see where this ends up.

And, just so we’re clear, “be over 86” means mph, not age.

Brent Venables Extension Polarization

Some folks weren’t too happy with Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables getting that huge extension earlier this week. Many of the takes were, well, takes. But, our friend Shehan Jeyarajah at CBS Sports dug up this fun fact:

OK, maybe that’s not so fun depending on your point of view.

Houston’s New Leader

The firing of Houston athletic director Chris Pezman was a bit of a stunner. The Houston Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte was, of course, all over it. He had two years left on his contract. If you’re considering interviewing for this job, make sure you can do the below:

Sounds like it might be important.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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