Meanwhile, commissioner John Swofford and the ACC’s leadership have questions to ponder.

Can the conference afford to lose Florida State and/or Clemson? If not, how to ease their apparent angst?

Abandoning the ACC’s equal division of revenue from media rights, bowls and NCAA tournaments would risk the resentment that helped cause the Big 12, where Texas ruled with an iron fist, to splinter. The Big 12 has since returned to equal revenue sharing, excepting the Tier 3 rights Texas monetized with the Longhorn Network.

The SEC, by the way, also distributes revenue equally. So yes, 2-10 Mississippi cashed in handsomely on Alabama’s national-title conquest of SEC West rival LSU.

Would reversing the decision to play a nine-game ACC schedule once Pittsburgh and Syracuse bring membership to 14 help? That would make it easier for schools to play seven home dates every season.

The difference between six and seven home games helped increase Virginia Tech’s ticket revenue $2.24 million from 2009-10 to 2010-11 -- those numbers courtesy of a USA Today data base.

The Pac-12 and Big 12 play nine-game league schedules. The Big Ten and SEC play eight, the latter even with Missouri and Texas A&M bringing membership to 14.

How about tweaking the ACC divisions and/or crossover partners to create more attractive matchups for not only fans but also TV? Or is that like prescribing two aspirin for a torn ACL?

 The ACC’s cure-all would be luring Notre Dame to join the conference. Absent that, an Orange Bowl tie-in with the Irish would help. But given the ACC’s current uncertainty, those options may not be viable.

No matter, Swofford and the ACC can’t risk inertia. The stakes are too high.

How will the ACC play its weakened hand? How will others respond?

My hunch is that Swofford will not be idle and that any malcontents will conclude that the ACC remains the best avenue for their football programs and athletic departments.      

The truth is, I don’t know.     

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