May 07, 2003

The Miami Hurricanes could be jumping from the Big East to the ACC as early as tomorrow, according to an ESPN report. As a fan of the late Southwest Conference, which saw its best schools bolt as a group, I think this could get ugly fast for the Big East.

posted by rcade to general at 08:26 AM - 12 comments

I think that it would ruin the spirit of the ACC if Syracuse and Boston College joined. Miami would make sense, but Marshall and either Virginia Tech or West Virginia would be better choices to keep the ACC to its ture mid-Atlantic roots. If the Big East schools did not join, then the best candidates would be Marshall, East Carolina, Central Florida, and UNC-Charlotte (but they would need to start a football program to give the ACC two divisions).

posted by jasonbondshow at 09:03 AM on May 07, 2003

I'd want South Florida before Central Florida. They're building an impressive mid-major program in Tampa out of nowhere, and I think they have a better chance of being good over a long period. Marshall, Virginia Tech and Miami would be a nice expansion.

posted by rcade at 09:06 AM on May 07, 2003

I hate the idea, and I don't see how they are going to get the 7 votes needed for expansion, specifically from the Big Four. Article saying that Duke, NC, and State will oppose.

posted by corpse at 09:36 AM on May 07, 2003

Good or bad, this is going to happen. The vocal opposition by the Carolina schools is merely positioning to ensure they have plenty of say in the alignment process. In the endgame they’ll agree and exchange a basketball friendly division for the potential of big $$. Setting aside the ACC’s historical roots, Syracuse and BC are by far the best choices in terms of competiveness in the two key sports and new market penetration. The talk for years has been that eventually the NCAA would consist of a small number of 12-16 team ‘super’ conferences and this seems to be another step towards that. Unfortunately, if it survives at all, the Big East will be marginalized to A-10 or Conference USA type status.

posted by kloeprich at 02:07 PM on May 07, 2003

So, say we do get the 12 team division, how would the divisions break down? I don't think you could do it geographically, so I'd put in the North: Maryland, 'Cuse, BC, Clemson, Virginia, and Georgia Tech. In the South it would have to be Wake Forest, Duke, Carolina, NC State, Miami, and Florida State. I don't think many folks here in the heart of ACC country would be happy with that setup, but it's really the only way I could see it working.

posted by corpse at 03:00 PM on May 07, 2003

Don't be surprised to see them split up Miami and FSU. Remember the grail for football is a big money conference championship game with national title implications. Most years you want those two to meet. And the Maryland/Duke home and away basketball series seems to have taken on its own life as well. Corpse, my guess is your alignment is about right, but with Maryland and Miami flip-flopping, geography be damned. This has the added benefit of keeping the Hurricanes on more even basketball footing.

posted by kloeprich at 03:23 PM on May 07, 2003

kloe: I'm not sure about that; the money argument just isn't very persuasive. The ACC pays out just under $9M a year to each member, currently (the highest of any conference.) That means three new members would have to bring in $27M just so that each conference member breaks even on expansion. Even if the ACC got an SEC/Big12 level payoff for a championship game, that's still $17M more every year that those three teams have to bring in. I just don't see how that happens. The only way I see the money argument making any sense at all

posted by tieguy at 03:35 PM on May 07, 2003

Argh. As I was saying... the only way the money argument makes any sense at all is if the alternative to texpansion is not status quo but actually FSU leaving. Even that's hard to justify; FSU brings in ~0 to the television contract and $10M for football, so if it left, that's $9M less to pay out and $10M less in, cut eight ways- not much, really, esp. when you count the cost of getting a football team to Tallahassee.

posted by tieguy at 03:40 PM on May 07, 2003

tieguy: You're right, the money isn't a dropkick - here's another article about that. (It's a link off the main article above - so you may have read it.) But clearly the ACC feels this is the right direction - particularly with the negotiation of their football TV contract on the horizon. I've heard nothing about Florida State leaving - if anything this gives them a reason to stay. Long-term, if Miami can hold serve in football then this looks like a smart, although less than aesthetic, move.

posted by kloeprich at 04:15 PM on May 07, 2003

Though I do understand that the football TV contract is coming up, I strongly believe that this isn't just aesthetically impure- it's taking your best product (basketball) and ruining the beauty of the ACC tourney and ACC season. Brand dilution isn't just unpleasant- it's bad business, and risks destroying what you've already got. Basically all of the best rated regular season basketball games of the past 5-10 years are ACC games- Duke-Carolina or Duke-Maryland. Dilute those so that they only happen once a year and you lose a lot of potential ratings, it would seem to me.
As far as FSU leaving, I wasn't suggesting that expansion would make them leave- I was suggesting that if the ACC stayed a small conference they might desire to go to a 'real' football conference. I don't think they would either, really, but that's been suggested as the 'this is what will happen if we don't expand' situation in some circles.

posted by tieguy at 04:26 PM on May 07, 2003

What this clearly shows is that no matter how well basketball does, football is still the 800 pound gorilla. I'm not sure the ACC 'brand' suffers as much as you think - and there's certainly a way to do this and preserve the twice a year matchups among the traditional rivals. I'm a big fan of ACC BB as well, and if the result of this is Duke playing NC or Maryland only once a year then they've made a mistake. But if Duke plays GT, Clemson or even Virginia only once a year, I think the ratings will suffer very little.

posted by kloeprich at 05:12 PM on May 07, 2003

Brand dilution isn't just unpleasant- it's bad business, and risks destroying what you've already got. Basically all of the best rated regular season basketball games of the past 5-10 years are ACC games- Duke-Carolina or Duke-Maryland. Dilute those so that they only happen once a year and you lose a lot of potential ratings, it would seem to me. Right on. Look at what's happened to the Big East. The addition of Rutgers and Virginia Tech (for football reasons) has diluted the conference. You've got 2 teams that add nothing to the conference's strong point, and are really just extra bodies in the football scene. The basketball season is now reduced to seeing teams in separate divisions play only once (UConn/Syracuse, Georgetown/BC, etc.) Meanwhile, Connecticut has sunk an incredible amount of money into it's football program (which opens it's new stadium this fall) to set itself as a conference power across the board, much like Syracuse. Now Connecticut is left thinking why me??? But this is a strictly football decision... for one game, Miami vs. FSU in the ACC Championship, and it's a decision that might hurt basketball for both different ways.

posted by YukonGold at 05:32 PM on May 08, 2003

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