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.