In 2004 Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech made the jump from the Big East to the ACC. The reason was largely seen as a football upgrade. This weekend Syracuse and Pittsburgh have decided to do the same. With these two additional members, the ACC will do home to 14 schools. The conference will also be one step closer to “super conference” status.
During the press call, ACC commissioner John Swofford did not exactly rule out a 16-team ACC. Although, for now, he says they are happy with 14 members.
While the Pac-12, BigTen, SEC and ACC remain strong, and in some cases continue to get stronger, the Big 12 and Big East are on life support.
It couldn’t have been the ACC’s plan at the time, but luring those three schools in 2004 may have saved this conference. Four of the last six ACC Football Championship Games has featured one of the three 2004 additions. That includes 2007 and 2008 when Virginia Tech and Boston College squared off. My point being that the addition of BC, Miami and VT were actually huge on the football front.
The ACC went 4 – 5 during last year’s bowl games. Pitt and ‘Cuse don’t currently offer a huge boost when it comes to ACC football. However, these schools do further the conferences reach into the northeast part of the country. Additionally, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have been near the top of what has been a dominant Big East basketball league of late.
Next to make the jump will likely be a couple more mediocre football programs; Rutgers and Connecticut. ESPN reported Connecticut is angling for an ACC invite, and The Star-Ledger reported that Rutgers is in contact with both ACC and Big Ten officials.
As the dominoes begin to fall in the east, further west things are just getting started. The University of Texas and University of Oklahoma’s respective boards of regents will meet today to discuss the possibility of leaving the Big 12. The obvious landing place in the current Pac 12. If that is the case Oklahoma State and Texas Tech would likely follow. This would create the Pac 16.
The situation can only get weirder before this settles down. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that among the dozen or so teams that have inquired about joining the ACC; Villanova. Apparently ‘Nova wants to remain in the FCS football conference, however. Although Villanova perfectly fits with the ACC mold, I’d imagine that would be a concession the ACC would not be able to do.
Thus far, in this whole conference realignment thing, the ACC is looking like a megabucks winner. The top heavy basketball conference, and mediocre football conference, is now in the drivers seat as it pertains to east coast collegiate athletics.