TARPON SPRINGS — Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher hasn't invested countless hours speculating about what might happen if the Big Ten balloons to 16 teams.
"Until there's more information, you're wasting time," he said Friday afternoon at the Cyprus Run Golf Club, a stop, followed by a banquet at the Hilton in Carillon Park, on his inaugural tour of booster clubs. "You're putting the cart way before the horse, and I think you have to wait and see."
That doesn't mean plenty of other people aren't speculating and that Fisher hasn't indulged the "what-if" game a little bit.
What if the Big Ten, which has been seriously weighing expansion since it added Penn State as its 11th member two decades ago, were to invite as many as five schools — Notre Dame, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Missouri and Nebraska?
What would the Big 12 and the Big East do next to reconstitute themselves? What if the Pac-10 increases its ranks as it is contemplating? Would the SEC make a move and if it did, how might that impact the ACC?
"If other conferences were to go 16, as a conference, you'd have to take a look at expanding," former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer said. "Whether you did it or not would remain to be seen, but I think you'd have to consider it."
That's what league power brokers are doing, at least to some degree.
"You have to have a plan of thinking and exploring all the avenues that you have," Fisher said. "That's just smart business. That's not saying you're going anywhere or you want to go anywhere.
"Business people all the time are constantly looking at things that are out there to say, 'Where are we going to go? Why are we going to go? What's the next move?' If you sit there and you haven't really thought about it and all of a sudden it happens then they're asking you questions and you haven't done your prep work. That's your fault. That's craziness. That's not good business."
He quickly emphasized a point he has consistently made — FSU is in a "great conference" as things stand now. But then the ACC has a history of forward thinking and it showed that by adding Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College to reach a dozen teams five years ago, a move designed to solidify its position for the long term.
The payoff? Well, the league reported total revenues of about $162.8 million to the IRS for the tax year ending June 30, 2008, according to documents. That was slightly more than what the SEC reported for the same period, $161.6 million. But that was before the SEC inked a $3 billion, 15-year deal with ESPN and CBS.
The ACC is negotiating new TV contracts and, though the deals likely won't rival the SEC's, the league should see a nice bump; for the first time, ACC officials bundled football and its coveted basketball together. Duke and North Carolina won the past two men's basketball national titles and that could be rewarded nicely.
More reason to wait and see, Fisher said. Ultimately, he said the decision-makers have to "do what's best for your university. We have to do what's best for Florida State."
Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3347.