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?