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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Fast Forward: The ACC in 2016?

It’s 2016 and conference realignment has slowed down.  Again.  As most expected, the Atlantic Coast Conference has survived another round of unsubstantiated rumors and quasi-sourced reports from university big wigs and industry executives.  Overall, the past few years have proven quite productive in terms of membership and revenue.

A combination of ESPN affirming its financial commitment to the conference and the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati and Connecticut have made way for a 16-team league which boasts a great amount of competitive talent, geographic diversity and athletic tradition.

The ACC now has eight teams competing in men’s lacrosse with Cincinnati, Louisville and UConn adding the niche sport to their athletic departments.  Six of the league’s baseball teams are firmly in the Top 25 and seven teams are regulars in the women’s basketball Top 25.

College football has gradually improved over the past two years.  The Seminoles and Tigers have continued their top-tier presence in the rankings and Virginia Tech, Louisville, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh add some needed depth to the conference schedule.  NC State, Connecticut and Syracuse are steadily improving, the Tar Heels are sanction-free and competitive and Georgia Tech has awoken from its talent slumber.

College basketball is absolutely phenomenal.  Along with the annual Tobacco Road matchup, Syracuse-UNC has become epic in its short existence and Pitt has become quite the foe of Duke, NC State and Virginia.  Much anticipated matchups between Duke and Louisville and Connecticut and North Carolina have also given way to intense conference-wide games with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.  The conference now boasts seven teams with national championship histories.

Although there is much competition among the field in both basketball and football, there is a great amount of talent at the top.  Many believe multiple ACC representatives will punch cards to the Final Four and there is guarded optimism a team will soon vie for the Coaches’ Trophy at Cowboys Stadium.

As with anything, it takes vision, determination and patience to see a great idea through to fruition.  The ACC is no different.  Fantasies often begin with unrealistic expectations while goals are accomplished through steady hard work and practical ambitions.

Congratulations, ACC!  You had the nerve and foresight to persevere and maintain your athletic tradition while maintaining and promoting solid academics.  The Confidential looks forward to many more years of ACC excellence.

**Is this article fantasy or realistic? Join the discussion below and let the Confidential know your opinion.

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8 thoughts on “Fast Forward: The ACC in 2016?

  1. Of course, the Notre Dame issue looms. That makes 17 teams for non-football.

    So I think it comes down to a battle between UConn/Cincy for that spot, unless the ACC loses a team.

    And if the ACC were to lose 2 teams, say Virginia and Georgia Tech, the ACC could backfill with UConn/Cincy to get to 14 + ND again.

    • HT1138 on said:

      17 teams actually isn’t too difficult to work with. A 16 game single round robin schedule covers basketball. For non-revenue sports, you could simply divide the schedules approximately along old ACC/Big East lines.

      ACC group

      Clemson
      Duke
      Florida State
      Georgia Tech
      Miami
      North Carolina
      North Carolina State
      Virginia
      Wake Forest

      Big East group

      Boston College
      Cincinnati
      Connecticut
      Louisville
      Notre Dame
      Pittsburgh
      Syracuse
      Virginia Tech

      It’s obviously not an ideal system. The loss of home and home series would be a big deal to the basketball programs and I’m sure Virginia Tech would prefer to have their non-revenue sports competing with the ACC group. However, ideal went out the window when the idea of super conferences got into the heads of every school president, conference commissioner, and journalist in the country.

  2. What a clever and optimistic article regarding the ACC! Let’s hope it is all realized. The ACC is a great conference… just need to get FB more onto more winning ways!

  3. As long as ESPN plays along up to your expectations, I do see this as not only a dream scenario but a realistic one. College Sport is now a $$$ game…and if ESPN desires to be a big-time player than it must keep the ACC together…and the only way to do that is $$$. Interestingly, there are three important keys to this:
    1. Timing of when ESPN increases the ACC contract
    2. Notre Dame coming in ’13 for all sports minus football…
    3. Fox’s deal with the Catholic 7

    #2 and #3 give credence for increasing the ACC TV monies….Notre Dame in any sport gets viewers and the ACC provides nearly year around content for ESPN….add Notre Dame to BBall, Lax, baseball, soccer, and women’s sports and coupled with the ACC line-up there is sporting events through most of the year….add the Notre Dame football games and coupled with those already in the ACC provide a very good line-up

    So the call really is “where is the money” ESPN. It is time to give now…and give large.

  4. LenVILLE on said:

    Not sure how Cincy and UConn gets in the ACC but I buy it.

    • Vinnie Saltine on said:

      Cinci effectively continued their christmas card writing campaign, and UConn dug up some naked pictures of Swofford.

  5. There’s no question that the combination of 16/17 schools would yield one heck of a conference. There would be a lot lost with all of those home-and-home games to the point that I think we’ll see a 18 or 20-game slate before we’ll see 16, but that wasn’t the point of your post.

    I just think the number of defections will be defined by things that happen outside of the ACC’s control for the most part. If the Big Ten is able to do what they need to do to convince UNC/UVA, or if the SEC picks two and decides to go for it, or if the Big 12 decides it wants to grow and finds a way to do it. All this stuff cascades downhill and the ACC sits below the other four right now. And until some football powers really emerge from the conference — something that takes years and years to build — I don’t see that changing.

  6. Like it, but the fantasy part is State “steadily improving”. By 2016 the Pack should have, oh, a couple of conference football titles and also in basketball. Louisville will have the other basketball crown, since you wrote the article…

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