With 14 teams, there is still room to add 2 teams… the right “2 teams” into the Atlantic Coast Conference. This, of course, does not mean that expansion will be happening, much less any time soon. This post will merely explore the teams that are out there and inquire, of you, what you would prefer to see.
The elephant in the room is Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish do not want to join a conference. We discussed yesterday that adding Navy/Notre Dame might be more palatable, as it would convert an OOC opponent into a conference opponent. But the reality is that Notre Dame simply does not want to join a conference until it absolutely has to. And many fans do not even deem being excluded from the playoffs such a circumstance.
Navy. While Navy has a good location, it is not a needle-mover revenue-wise outside of luring Notre Dame. Therefore, adding Navy only happens if Notre Dame comes with them. And who is to say that Navy even WANTS to be in a P5 conference?
West Virginia. The Mountaineers are sitting happily in the Big XII. That being said, adding West Virginia to the ACC would restore several rivalries, as well as some geographic common sense. The Big XII has a grant-of-rights, so this is not likely to happen anytime soon.
UConn. The Huskies are a basketball near-elite, even without Jim Calhoun and notwithstanding some tough years. They are eager to join. The problem is that they add little or nothing in football–the true revenue sport. They also add little or nothing on the TV revenue side of things, as Boston College/Syracuse cover the Northeast areas already. Unlike the above, they are certainly eager to join.
Cincinnati. Like UConn, Cincinnati is eager to join. The football has had more historical success and opens up a new market–even if a hugely distant second to Ohio State. Ohio is also a fertile recruiting ground. The hoops are not horrible. They have an NFL stadium nearby to use for the big games. Don’t rule it out.
Temple. With historically good hoops, and historically poor football, this seems unlikely. However, Philadelphia is a potential market to tap–even if Penn State and Pittsburgh generally dominate the state. Like Cincinnati, Temple would have access to an NFL stadium for big games. While the football team is perhaps most notable for being in the movie Unbreakable, they have had success with Golden and Ruhle. Never say never.
Texas. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. Although one might be able to convince Texas to accept a Notre Dame-esque 5-game schedule, it is difficult to envision Texas abandoning Texas Tech for such a membership. Unless the Big XII is going to die, which is unlikely at this point, Texas need not make a move.
East Carolina. The fifth North Carolina school finds itself in a similar boat as South Florida and Central Florida. Just not enough “market” addition to justify adding in a good football school regardless of on-field performance.
Memphis. The work done by the football team recently is notable, but the hoops has declined to offset any such gains. There is just not enough here to justify an addition.
And then, of course, there is the “do nothing” option. Why add any school and water down what is already there? If ND or Texas are available as permanent members…listen. But otherwise there is no need to make ANY move.
Once upon a time, the Confidential tossed around the idea of Navy as a suitable replacement for Maryland location-wise and as a partner with Notre Dame as the 15th and 16th teams. Obviously, Notre Dame is not ready for a conference, but they might start inching closer if they are 11-1 and outside the playoffs. The loss of a 13th game hurt the Big XII last year and could hurt Notre Dame this year–even with a win over Stanford. While everyone thinks UConn as team #16, and the Confidential has always thought West Virginia made even better sense than UConn, Navy has its merits too.
This article is another in a series of articles in which the Confidential opines regarding the over/under for football wins in 2015. We’ll take a cursory look at the schedule and determine what we think is the point where folks will struggle to select “over” or “under.” We hope people will share their comments as to “why” they are going over/under. If you disagree with our over/under choice, of course, feel free to let us know too. The next team up: Notre Dame. We are going with an over/under of 9.5 regular season wins.
Summary: Notre Dame’s schedule is not TOO awful this year from a difficulty standpoint. Unlike the full-time ACC schools, Notre Dame has several winnable games OOC–UMass, Navy, Temple. Then, games against Wake Forest and @ Virginia look interesting. The opener against Texas should go the Irish’s way too. So that’s 6 wins. Can the Irish win 4 of the remaining 6? Probably. But note how the second half gets much tougher, with road trips to Temple, Pitt, BC, and Stanford. We see loses to Clemson, Stanford, and at least one other team… with one more game being the swing. The Confidential goes with an over-under of 9.5 wins.
One of the downfalls of pool play is that it can often lead to pointless games later in the week. While Saturday’s early game was essentially a semi-final, the other two meant nothing. Still, teams can use these games to build momentum for the NCAA tournament.
Game 12: Florida State grabs their spot in the Championship
Louisville – 0
Florida State – 6
The two teams were in a 0-0 deadlock for most of the game. Florida State finally broke the tie in the top of the sixth inning when they scored three runs which would have been enough to beat the Cardinals.
But the Seminoles added two more runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to seal their victory. Both teams posted similar stats including 8 runners left on base. The only difference between the two was the way Florida State capitalized on their opportunities later in the game.
Game 13: A reversal of fates gives Miami a win over the Irish
Notre Dame – 5
Miami – 6
Not even 24 hours after a tough loss in extras to NC State, the Hurricanes took the field looking to regain some confidence for the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth and hoped that was enough. Trailing by one, Christopher Barr wasted no time tying the game. He homered on just the 5th pitch of the inning.
Miami would go on to load the bases with one out and Brandon Lopez at the plate. Lopez singled to right-center field to drive in the winning run. This time, it was Miami walking off with the win.
Game 14: Even with some key players out, NC State cruises past UVA
NC State – 10
Virginia – 2
Coming off their big win the night before, NC State got a chance to rest some of their stars. Even with those guys out, the Wolfpack scored an even ten runs on the way past Virginia. The Cavaliers took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but NC State quickly responded with two runs of their own to take the lead.
Virginia tied up the game in the sixth, but NC State responded with eight runs which all but ended the Cavs chances at picking up a win. The Wolfpack improve to a surprising 3-0 on the tournament, which no one expected. Equally surprising is Virginia’s 1-3 performance. After their 11-0 rout of Georgia Tech, they almost topped Miami early in the week. They just never found a way to finish off these close games.
Another day of the ACC baseball tournament is in the books and it was a wild one. Notre Dame won their first tournament game, UNC improved their tournament resumé, and NC State punched their ticket to the championship game with an extra innings thriller.
Game 9: Irish notch their first tournament victory
Notre Dame – 8
Virginia – 2
Cavan Biggio made up for his quiet Thursday with a couple of RBI’s that played a big roll in his team’s 8 runs. That ended up being more than enough as Notre Dame cruised to pick up their first ACC baseball tournament win.
Virginia had a tough time doing anything on offense against Ryan Smoyer, who only gave up four hits through his six innings of work. They started out down early and never really had a chance to get back. UVA scored two runs in the third which cut the lead to just 1, but allowed the small innings to add up.
Notre Dame gets Miami at 3pm and Virginia faces NC State in the night game.
Game 10: UNC makes strong case for NCAA with win
Clemson – 3
North Carolina – 6
Though it was a meaningless game in terms of ACC tournament, both Clemson and UNC came into the tournament needing some resumé boosts to get in the NCAA tournament. Clemson might have got theirs yesterday with their win over Louisville. UNC on the other hand, only had a win over Virginia Tech in the play-in.
The Heels were able to run away the game early after taking a 5-0 lead after the fourth inning. Skye Bolt drove in four runs in part due to his 3-run home run. Though the score tells a different story, Carolina always seemed to have the game under control.
Both teams will have completed their games in the tournament and await their NCAA selections.
Game 11: NC State advances to the ACC Championship game with a wild win
Miami – 4
NC State – 5
As the 6 seed, even the most loyal NC State fans probably didn’t believe their team would be the first in Sunday’s title game. As a matter of fact, the Wolfpack didn’t lead in this game until Preston Palmeiro’s walk-off double.
After Andrew Knizner tied the game up in the ninth inning, Palmeiro stepped in as the first batter in the bottom of the twelfth.
He drove the second pitch of the inning off the blue monster in left. Carl Chester fielded it, but threw it past the second baseman. Palmeiro rounded third and looked to have been thrown out at the plate, but Zack Collins couldn’t handle the throw and the Wolfpack mobbed Palmeiro.
Miami finishes their tournament Saturday against Notre Dame. NC State plays a meaningless game against Virginia, and I wouldn’t expect to see too many regulars playing. They will play the winner of Saturday’s FSU/Louisville game on Sunday.
The day began in slow fashion as a heavy rain storm lead to a long rain delay. After two-and-a-half hours of waiting around, NC State and Notre Dame took the field for the third day of the ACC Tournament.
Game 6: Brown strikes out 10 as the Wolfpack blank Notre Dame
NC State – 3
Notre Dame – 0
Brian Brown fanned an even ten batters as he and Curt Britt combined to shutout the Irish. 15 NC State came roaring out of the gate with three runs in the first 2 innings, which ended up being plenty to secure the win over Notre Dame.
Scott Kerrigan turned in a decent outing allowing 3 runs through 5 1/3 innings. The lack of run support hurt him the most. The Irish mustered only 3 hits in the entire game and never could figure out NC State’s pitchers.
Notre Dame faces Virginia in the morning game Friday while NC State plays the night game against Miami.
Game 7: Tigers rough up Funkhouser for a big win
Louisville – 2
Clemson – 7
Clemson found their bats this time around and at a good time. Facing virtual elimination, the Tigers posted seven runs off of nine hits on Louisville’s ace, Kyle Funkhouser. On the other hand, the Cardinals couldn’t get anything going. They only scored one run through the first eight innings and never really found an answer for Clemson.
The Tigers were also helped by a great performance by starter Zack Erwin. 11 strikeouts and no walks though his eight innings effectively shut down the Cardinals’ offense.
Clemson plays North Carolina Friday afternoon and Louisville gets a day off.
Game 8: Seminoles strike early, cruise past Tar Heels
Florida State – 8
North Carolina – 4
Playing their third game in as many days has taken a toll on North Carolina. A tough loss to Louisville the night before didn’t do much to help their spirits. With Clemson’s win, UNC needed to win to have any hope for an ACC Championship.
Florida State jumped out to an early lead and never really looked back. They scored a run in the first inning, two in the second, and added another in the third. Mike Compton took a perfect game into the fourth inning, but finally handed the ball to Dylan Silva who worked out of danger. The Heels answered in the sixth, but never really threatened the FSU’s lead.
UNC takes the afternoon game Friday against Clemson and FSU well get their day off.
Clemson and UNC are now eliminated from championship game contention. The winner of Saturday’s Louisville/Florida State game will advance to the championship game.
The other side is a bit more complicated. Game 9 (UVA/ND) will act as an elimination game. Miami or NC State could clinch tomorrow with a win and some help. NC State would need Virginia to lose and Miami would need a loss from Notre Dame. Stay tuned to The Confidential for updates.