Insider Says Cal, Stanford, And SMU Are ‘Closer Than Ever’ To An ACC Invite

A Cal receiver hauls in a pass over a Stanford defender.

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Cal, Stanford, and SMU are reportedly “closer than ever” to receiving an invite from the ACC. The trio has been linked to the conference in realignment for some time, though the league hasn’t pulled the trigger on bringing them in.

A decision is expected to be made on Friday, and many believe that momentum is trending in the right direction for the schools. A potential shakeup would add to what’s already been an exciting offseason.

Cal and Stanford are two of the four remaining programs in the PAC. The Conference of Champions has seen six members announce their intentions to part ways following the 2023 season.

Colorado was the first, opting to return to the Big XII. Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah will follow suit.

Meanwhile, Oregon and Washington will head to the Big Ten, joining USC and UCLA who made their announcements a year earlier.

As the PAC-12 crumbles, outside leagues are looking to pounce. The Cardinal and Bears have become targets for the ACC, who is reportedly looking to add to its 14-team (plus Notre Dame) conference.

An initial vote rejected the additions as Florida State, Clemson, UNC, and North Carolina State opposed. Now, though, there’s a sense that something’s changed.

SMU could also join Cal, Stanford in the ACC.

The Mustangs have also been linked to the league as they hope to leave the AAC and return to prominence. SMU was a once daunting opponent in the Southwest Conference, but an NCAA death penalty put the program on life support.

It seems the administration is so desperate to get back into a top conference that it’s willing to forego the league’s distribution revenue for up to five years.

Their prayers might be answered according to Jim Williams.

SMU, along with Cal and Stanford are “closer than ever” to landing an invite. Williams cites the deep pockets of SMU donors as well as a healthy endowment at Stanford that would allow both schools to forego that ACC revenue for “a time.”

Cal might not have the same benefit, but they could be a package deal with the Cardinal.

The ACC’s deal with ESPN also states that the network must increase revenue with the addition of new teams. Should two of their three new schools join for free, that extra revenue could go to the current members for the time being.

Things seem to be trending in the right direction for the trio. They’ll just need one of the four naysayers to change its mind on expansion.