The Confidential

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ACC Expansion Options

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.

So here are the options… what do you think?

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6 thoughts on “ACC Expansion Options

  1. Unless Notre Dame is #15, and baring some totally unexpected opportunity, I see no reason to expand at all. That said, I can at least imagine a scenario whereby adding Cincinnati allows the ACC to launch a cable network (and charge in-state rates in Ohio!), but that is somewhat imaginative…

    • Would that be the three-division model?

      North: Cincy, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse, BC
      South: FSU, Clemson, Ga Tech, Louisville, Wake Forest?
      Middle: NC, NC State, Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech

  2. Obviously the best thing for the ACC is to add Football Kings like Notre Dame, Texas, or even Penn State…but since 1) those are likely never going to happen, and 2) the football landscape is cyclical and there is no guarantee that a King today won’t be a knight in 10 years, I would instead look at smaller/up-and-coming schools that offer more than just football supremacy today.

    My top three:

    Villanova: Adds a new market (Philadelphia/South Jersey/Delaware) in the void between the north & south, near-elite basketball school, good football school (almost beat SU last year), adds a 6th lacrosse team, and excellent academics. Gives Syracuse a natural regional rival. Also, takes a chunk out of the Big East so that’s good. There are rumors that Temple wants to build an on-campus stadium (not sure where they will put it in North Philly) which could free-up the Linc on Saturdays…

    Navy: Re-enters the Maryland market, but also adds viewership across the world. Good football, so-so basketball (sorry Adml. Robinson), ok lacrosse. Also adds a high level of patriotism and pride to the ACC by having a service academy. Plus adds the Army-Navy game to the list of ACC must-watch games.

    Cinci: Adds the Ohio market and gives a geographic rival to Pittsburgh. As was pointed out above, there is the possibility of playing in an NFL stadium for big games, and adds a great basketball program to the fold.

  3. Wolfman on said:

    The ACC has 15 teams not 14. I realize the reference was to football but If you add 2 more you create more issues by trying to schedule 17 teams in the other sports.
    I don’t see Navy as being a big draw for ND. ND does schedule Navy football every year but they rarely play them in other sports.
    I would prefer the Georgetown (Olympic) and Navy (football) combination. This combination would be a more than capable counter to Maryland.

    • True, the idea is that ND might have to be discarded if they do not want to become a full-time member and two other schools present themselves. Anyway, who knows anymore?

  4. ACC needs Temple. A strong football/basketball tradition, tremendous on campus basketball arena with new football stadium soon & most importantly the 4th largest TV media market for new ACC Network.

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