Conference realignment is without a doubt the thing I hate most about college sports but it is a reality that cannot be ignored in today’s money is the only thing that matters world. In response to Marylands move to the Big Ten the ACC has brought in Louisville and is in talks of bringing in other programs to the conference.
UCONN and Navy are rumored to be programs targeted by the conference as the ACC discusses expansion. The conference may need to bring in multiple new programs if persistent rumors of Florida State and Clemson eventually departing come to fruition. The ACC is and always has been a basketball conference first and foremost, but football is where the money is.
Notre Dame recently joined the conference in everything but football and the move is one that brings hope that if the Independent Irish ever do decide to join a conference in football, it will be the ACC. Any moves made by the ACC have to be ones that both keeps the conference elite in basketball by avoiding bringing in a program strong on the gridiron and weak on the court but more importantly they must be strong football programs.
The ACC has been a laughing stock in football for too long and it’s time they do something about it. Schools like Florida State and Clemson are very good right now, Pitt makes the conference stronger and it’s reasonable to hold out hope that NC State and Miami will regain previous prominence on the gridiron. Larry Fedora had a respectable first season in Chapel Hill and UNC has some talent and a nice recruiting class coming in, at the same time it would nothing short of being a blind homer to believe the Tar Heels will be anything other than a mediocre football program until they prove otherwise.
Navy would be a money move, this isn’t the 1950’s and they will never be a powerhouse of any kind in any sport ever again. I hate to put it that bluntly but it’s the truth, if the ACC wants to strengthen the conference and not just the bank account they will stay away from Navy.
UCONN is not a football school by any stretch of the imagination. They would at least provide a good basketball program and wouldn’t be a complete loss for the conference if they jumped to the Atlantic Coast.
In my eyes Louisville is the best choice and I am ecstatic to see them join the conference. The Cardinals are very strong in both basketball and football, geographically they make zero sense but that logic was thrown out the window a long time ago. What they don’t bring is a large TV market and I’m happy to see that this wasn’t purely a money decision in bringing in Louisville, it was a move made toward bringing in a program that is strong in athletics.
UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham sent an email to fans reassuring them that the Heels would not leave the ACC and stated that he intended on them remaining in the conference fold for the next 60 plus years. Unless he’s just boldface lying to the mass public on a very visible stage which I cannot fathom, I expect both UNC and arch rival Duke to remain in the conference for a long, long time. I also can’t see in state schools like NC State or Wake Forest bolting for another conference.
Both UNC and Duke are trying desperately to become relevant on the football field and they are making progress. The conference needs to continue to make good decisions for the long term not just knee jerk reaction of bringing in programs simply because they have a large TV base. This is that type of move, out with Maryland and in with Louisville is a good trade off for the ACC but I fear it’s not over and we will likely see more programs defect and more brought in as conferences continue to shuffle.