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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?

ACC Fans Choice: Notre Dame or West Virginia

The current ACC is 15 schools, one of which is Notre Dame.  Notre Dame participates fully in all sports, with the exception of football.  As we all know, the Fighting Irish are committed to play 5 schools a season in football.  West Virginia is a full member of the Big XII.  The Mountaineers athletic relevance has decreased substantially since making the geographically-unfriendly move.  The question for ACC fans–if West Virginia were to make overtures about joining the ACC… would you rather have West Virginia full-time (allowing an addition of UConn to get to 16 teams) or Notre Dame (in its current form)?

Read more…

Whither West Virginia

Last night, the Confidential unwittingly entered into a Twitter-battle with a West Virginia blogger.  The Confidential noted that West Virginia had become responsible for two things lately: bad expansion rumors and bad football.  One such twitterer came to the forefront, presumably seeking to take credit for being the blogger that was the source of those rumors.  Some day, the Confidential will appear on some “show” to discuss expansion, i.e. whether this blogger had sources providing rumors that, while not coming true, were rumors that could have been true, had something not happened.  Or something like that.

But a bigger question remains… what is the deal with West Virginia?  And is the West Virginia-Big XII marriage a happy one?

Read more…

Huge News: West Virginia to ACC in 2014-2015!

The ACC and West Virginia have scheduled a press conference for 3:00 p.m. today to announce that the Mountaineers will become a full-time member in the ACC for the 2014-2015 season.  West Virginia was able to extricate itself from the Grant of Rights on the basis that both sides just felt that it was a mistake, couple with the fact that Brigham Young is finally ready to join the Big XII.  With 13 teams being unwieldy, and no suitable schools for a 14th, this just made the most sense.  The oft-discussed cooperative efforts of the Big XII and the ACC came into play obviously too.

Winners:  West Virginia, obviously.  Gets to reinvigorate rivalries with Pitt, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech.  The ACC–gets a football school to help placate the masses, while awaiting a Notre Dame decision.  The Big XII–West Virginia was always a geographical outlier.  BYU–they almost lost out on being at the grown-up’s table.  This salvages that.  The Big East leftovers–this stabilizes expansion for a while.  Hopefully.

Losers: Connecticut and Cincinnati.  They are plainly on the outside right now.   They will have to wait for defections from the ACC, which seem a bit less likely now.  Marylandwho considers West Virginia a rival, for some reason.

Big Losers: Us, for posting this April Fool’s Joke in such a very cruel manner.   Those people who will not realize that this is an April Fool’s Joke and/or post on Twitter that it is.  Nobody likes a spoiler.

Why Debbie Yow was right

I know this is a controversial subject, at least among Wolfpack fans, but I believe that Debbie Yow was right to let Tom O’Brien go. To support my position, let’s take a look at O’Brien’s tenure at State:

2007 – After 3 straight 9-3 seasons and eight straight bowl apperances at Boston College, TOB announces that he will be taking his talents to South Beach…er, NC State.  Most State fans, including yours truly, are pretty ecstatic.  His reason for what most view as a lateral move is the fan support he saw when BC visited Raleigh; State seems to be to him as Notre Dame is to Lou Holtz, a destination rather than a stepping-stone (like the Pack was for the aforementioned Holtz).  But an instant miracle is not in the cards; State finishes 5-7 and does not go bowling.

2008 – Fair enough, Coach needs some time to recruit. The team starts slow but provides a feel-good ending with 4 straight wins including a thrashing of UNC that leaves them bowl-eligible. They lose to Rutgers in the bowl, but it’s a start.

2009 – This one qualifies as a lost season.  Only a season-ending win vs the Heels that knocks them out of bowl eligibility gives State fans anything to cheer about.  The low point for Coach had to be the 52-20 drubbing the Pack took at BC.  Let the grumbling begin…

2010 – The high point, the one O’Brien will point to when he tells the story of his time at State.  He calms his critics with an 8-4 mark followed by a rout of West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, 23-7.  This is the TOBPack we dreamed of.

2011 – State falls back to 7-5.  There is good news, with a last-game rout of Maryland 56-41, a powerful defensive performance vs UNC 13-0, and a thrilling Belk Bowl win against Louisville 31-24.  But after the 2010 season this really felt like somewhat of a step back. And there would be more of the same in…

2012 – Really? 6-6? Had to beat BC in the final game to get to a bowl again?  Then they lost to Vandy, though that one was on Dana Bible as our Yow had already pulled the trigger and frankly, the team looked a bit lost in this one.

Now, does the body of work mandate a firing?  No.  Is Tom O’Brien a bad coach? No.  I wish him all sucess in his new post as Associate Head Coach at Virginia and feel that he will return to the HC ranks at some point if he so desires.

But here’s the point: O’Brien had taken State about as far as he was likely to.  Yes, we went bowling four times in his six seasons, but we were almost always just this side of mediocre.   Sometimes it is just time, and this was one of those cases.

Will Dave Doeren do better? I don’t have a crystal ball, but he did take a team from a non-BCS conference to the Orange Bowl, a place State has yet to go.  Admittedly this is a completely different challenge than facing the likes of Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech on a regular basis, not to mention the newcomers about to change the face of the ACC.  But I look forward to finding out.

As for Yow, I am still pretty psyched about that basketball coach she chose. So let’s give this thing a chance.

ACC Winter Meetings Update- Future ACC Basketball Tournament Sites

Finally, we have some news out of the ACC Winter Meetings! Swofford has been FAR too quiet the past few days despite all of the realignment rumors that have been picking up speed in this blog and others. Fortunately, as any ACC member knows, silence from John Swofford and the ACC can be a good thing. HE’S UP TO SOMETHING.

ESPN just posted an article regarding  ACC Basketball Tournament sites and the possibility of future tournaments in New York City. What do you guys think about that? While I’m an NC native and a current resident, I’ve never liked the tournament being in Greensboro. Sure, I love the history, and the location is pretty convenient for me, but it just hasn’t seemed like the right place for the past few years. The league’s membership has grown and changed and so has its footprint. The location of its tournament must reflect that.

I’ve recently been a proponent of the conference expanding to 16 teams. Once we got beyond 10, scheduling  just became too difficult and unwieldy. With 16 teams, you can split up into four pods and play 9 conference games in football. That means you can play your entire pod (3 games), another full pod (4 games) and half of a third pod (2 games) each year. Under that configuration, teams would be able to see each other at least once every other year and play a game at every team’s home at least once every four years. That’s way better than things are now. Under the new scheduling rotation and current divisional model, it may take UNC up to 8 years to play Wake Forest, a longtime rival who’s campus is just 80 miles down the road from Chapel Hill. So how would these pods look?

Tobacco Road                    Deep South                Mid-Atlantic              North

North Carolina                        Miami                              Virginia                           Boston College

NC State                                     Florida State                  Virginia Tech              Syracuse

Wake Forest                             Georgia Tech                 Pittsburgh                    Louisville

Duke                                            Clemson                           West Virginia              Notre Dame

You’ll notice that I have West Virginia and Notre Dame in there. I believe that WVU has always belonged in the ACC and that ND WILL be forced to join a conference at some point. Its conference of choice is the ACC. They have proven this by taking partial membership with us over the Big 12 and rejecting the B10 on numerous occasions. If superconferences were to be logically created (and they probably won’t be), then the Big 12 would be the next to fall (not the ACC) and WVU would be free to join without the grant of rights restriction (which could just as easily be broken if 5 or more Big 12 members wanted to leave).

All that to say, is that it is imperative that the league shake its “Tobacco Road” bias image. That is why I propose that the tournament develop a permanent rotation between four cities: Orlando (ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex- Deep South POD), Raleigh (PNC Arena- Tobacco Road POD), DC (Washington Wizards Arena- Mid-Atlantic POD), Brooklyn (Barclays Center- North POD). Not only do these cities provide a variety of entertainment, dining and housing options for fans, but they also come with a significant corporate population and satisfy the fan bases of each “pod.” No longer would the ACC tournament be seen as a place where the North Carolina schools are given an advantage. With a strict, set rotation, fans could expect their favorite team to have an unbiased leg-up on the competition once every four years. This would also ease with travel plans for fans and teams and leave the league to work on more important matters such as re-branding itself and marketing its product.

What do you think? While we haven’t heard much yet, the news out of Florida (the location of the ACC Winter Meetings) is encouraging. John Swofford seems to be more willing to stray from the past, as seen with the addition of Louisville, than ever before and this can only be good for the future of the conference.

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