Two-minute drill with Clemson economics professor Raymond Sauer

What do you make of the ACC’s new 15-year, $3.6 billion television deal, which has been criticized because it will likely rank fifth among the five power conferences?

“The numbers on the surface look good. They may not be SEC-type numbers but we don’t have the same level of national interest in ACC football, those are the facts as they are. It’s a lot of money. It reflects a growing market, and that part is good for the ACC.”

How much would Clemson benefit if were able to control its third-tier television rights? Programs in the ACC do not control their third-tier rights, or games that are not picked up by ESPN/ABC. But Big 12 programs, for instance, do.

“In the case of Clemson it has a football brand so it would benefit from being able to do that independently, the same with Florida State, and the same with Miami. But when you think about it, the third-tier rights are for the lesser games, the games that don’t have a national interest and that is where the real money is. I haven’t really looked at the numbers but I don’t think (third-tier rights) would generate much (revenue).”

What is driving conference realignment?

“Part of it is if you change your conference configuration you are able to renegotiate and we are renegotiating at a time in a period where the media values keep going higher and higher so you want to renegotiate. It is the media that is driving it. You’re dead if you don’t take the opportunity to expand your revenues. It’s simply the rational choice for schools to make. It’s the rational choice for the ACC to make. Does it make the product better on the field? I have my doubts.”

What do you make of the Big 12 and SEC’s new bowl agreement and its ramifications for the ACC?

“Everyone is saying the ACC is dead. I don’t think that is the case. I think the fear factor is overrated. It’s kind of weird, that game is almost never going to match up the No. 1 SEC team and No. 1 Big 12 (because of a likely four-team playoff), the whole premise of the thing is about something that is never going to happen. I think the implications of that contract and its impact on conference realignment have been way over-stated in the press in the past couple of weeks.”

Would a college football playoff expand once power brokers see how much revenue could be generated?

“What the colleges have to do is be careful that a playoff structure doesn’t dilute the value of the regular season. The way to do this is to make the conference championships matter. Make it meaningful to win conference, your division. I wouldn’t be surprised if we move from a four-team conception to an eight-team conception.”

Compiled by Travis Sawchik