Originally written August 13, 2011 on Sportz Assassin:



With the college football season coming up, we'll get to see a lot of old faces in some new places. Nebraska is in the Big Ten. Utah and Colorado is in the new Pac-12. Boise State moves to the Mountain West and BYU is an independent.

Now there are rumors that Texas A&M is set to bolt the Big XII for the SEC. Though the SEC has said they aren't looking to expand right now, it still may off another chain reaction that could force conferences and schools to look for bigger better deals.

Remember that this started less than a decade ago when the ACC saw the future as being football and decided to raid the Big East. Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College all eventually joined the ACC making the historically hoops conference into a hopeful football power. Miami and Virginia Tech join Florida State as top tier football programs. Boston College joins Clemson and Georgia Tech as schools who have a nice football history.

The ACC had dreams of Florida State and Miami meeting for the ACC title. They felt they were ahead of the curve by making this bold move. And they were.

The problem is that the ACC was trying to become a big dog in the world of college football. Once conferences that already had that clout starting waving it around last summer, a whole new landscape was formed. One that will both pass the ACC by and actually force the conference to become weaker.

Two of the schools being mentioned in a possible move to the SEC (joining Texas A&M) is Florida State and Clemson. Neither improves the SEC's footing in either area (Florida and South Carolina may have some beef with this move) but both have rabid fan bases and bring two solid programs who've won national championships to the SEC.

What that would do to the ACC could be catastrophic. Obviously the ACC would have to look outside to find a couple of replacements. Staying a 10-team conference would be stupid since the whole point of all this mess was the ACC's attempt to gain a 12-team league and football clout.

But where would the ACC go for two new teams? There is no way any SEC, Big Ten or, obviously, Pac-12 team would join. Of course no Mountain West or WAC team would join. That leaves the Big East, which the ACC has a rocky relationship with already with that whole raid thing several years ago.

West Virginia? Syracuse? Rutgers? South Florida? UConn? Who would they go after and more importantly would any of them even want to come.

See, the Big East offers the same thing as the ACC, if not better. A historically awesome hoops conference who has a seat at the BCS table. But the Big East deal is better since on the basketball side of things, the conference is so powerful and deep that they get tons of teams into the NCAA Tournament. On the football side, there is no championship game to get through for a shot at BCS glory. I mean, Cincinnati, Pitt and UConn all made BCS appearances in recent years. In the ACC, you still have to get through Miami (for now) and Virginia Tech (for now) to get a league title.

The ACC pre-expansion was a great basketball conference that was very tight knit and a decent football conference. Now, they are a weakened hoops conference with a decent football side.

To me, a lifelong ACC fan, this has been a disaster. Expansion watered down the basketball side of things (though UNC and Duke have won a total of three titles since the expansion started).

I'm not saying that all this wouldn't be happening to the ACC had they not started raiding the Big East a decade ago, but it would be less embarrassing and we'd still have basketball.

1 Comment:
  • I disagree. The ACC's last expansion did improve the conference overall. The fact that they have not joined in the conference expansion orgy does not mean they have failed at the process. I hope FSU and Clemson don't bolt, but IMHO, they do need to add two more football schools. Looking at the map, Missouri and Texas AM are no where near the Atlantic but would make things interesting.
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