With the Big East headed towards mid major oblivion it seems like the only question is who is the fourth major conference? Unless Texas sinks the whole thing, a possibility, it is probably the Big 12. I was talking to a UNC alum and there is talk that whatever happens with Maryland’s buyout could have big implications for the ACC. Many expect Maryland to get out for around $20 million, as opposed to $50. If this happens many expect Florida State and Clemson to bolt for the Big 12 (they can’t go to the SEC due to an agreement about not adding schools in existing states)
At that point many at UNC feel that the ACC’s core problem of being too focused in North Carolina, particularly in an era when cable subscriptions drive revenue, becomes catastrophic. At that point UNC and probably UVA look to make a move to the SEC or Big Ten. Academically the BIG 10 is a better fit for both schools and would probably be the choice of the faculty. Working against this is the whole southern thing. Many of the old guard in North Carolina and Virginia, who tend to be in charge at these institutions, resent the influx of northerners that has occurred over the last decade or two. As a result they may be more inclined to go in the direction of the SEC.
UNC also has the problem of its little brother with an overinflated sense of its worth. It is likely that any move by UNC will result in NC State going crazy and trying to create problems in the state government. Obviously the Big Ten should have no interest in NC State so UNC will need to find away to end their relationship with them. Duke is a question but all I could get out of my UNC friend about this issue was “F… Duke”. Since this does all seem to be about cable money anyway there is no reason for the big ten to take any more than one team out of North Carolina.
Overall I would be happy with both UNC and UVA in the Big Ten. Not great football schools but overall both are high quality institutions and Big Ten basketball would become firmly entrenched as the preeminent conference. This also has the benefit of screwing Notre Dame and eventually forcing them into the Big 12. Notre Dame and Texas trying to get along with terrorizing their conference bothers with unreasonable demands would be entertaining.