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Aug
18
2011

Virginia Tech: Better in the SEC or the ACC? A Hokie’s Perspective.

Greetings from the @hokieguru, a regular contributor to the @TalkinACCSports and @accblogger (http://www.accblogger.com/) websites.

Texas A&M recently set up some major shockwaves in the college with a possible move to the SEC.  While the SEC has held off on expansion for now, the new Texas A&M chancellor is reportedly on board with a move.  Additionally:

So there you have it… Virginia Tech should go to the SEC… it’s as easy as that… no it’s not… lots a positives and negatives about a potential move to the SEC… and that’s the focus of this blog post… what should we do?  Well, let’s talk about it…

Positives

  • A change in Virginia Tech’s conference affiliation would most likely increase its athletic revenue (SEC television negotiations would work in the Hokies’ favor and alumni donations would most likely increase)
  • Virginia Tech football recruiting would improve to a certain degree.  The Hokies would never lose another player to any of the North Carolina schools, and more specifically, would not lose another player in Virginia’s famous 757.  We might be more of a national player here.

Negatives

  • Right now, Virginia Tech is a pretty big fish in a small pond in ACC football (four ACC titles in 8 years). Additionally, with our fellow Coastal Division teams having troubles with the NCAA, the Hokies figure to be the odds on favorite for the next 3-4 years to be in the ACC title game.  @MattZemek_CFN has said that we are the one team that qualifies as a star right now in the ACC.    Is it worth it to make the move to the SEC with the knowledge that it would be really difficult replicating that success? 
  • Save Kentucky, SEC men’s basketball is not good. While Virginia Tech has not made the NCAA tournament in four years, we’ve made a lot of progress.  The ACC never considered us to be a basketball school, but we do have the third most wins in conference play since our inclusion in the league.  SEC men’s basketball might be the worst of the BCS conferences and our men’s hoops recruiting could weaken.
  • How far would that additionally SEC revenue go?  The SEC is an airplane league.  The ACC is a bus league.  Virginia Tech would have to fly most of its athletes from its non-revenue sports to SEC locations and that could be quite expensive.
  • Most of the schools in the ACC are a short travel distance from Virginia Tech.  We’ve established really good relationships with our fellow ACC schools.  I think it’s harder to do that with the SEC schools that are farther away.
  • The academics (why most of us go to school) in the ACC are vastly superior to those in the SEC.  The majority of student athletes do not turn pro (yes, you’ve heard this before, but it’s true).  For example, three ACC business schools are in the U.S. News and World Report Top 20 list (and seven in the top 50).  How many from the SEC in the top 20?  Zero (and two in the top 50… and one, Vanderbilt, is a private school).  I am proud of being an alumnus of a conference that values academics.  Our academic partnerships with our fellow ACC schools are second to none.

The bigger question is:  What is John Swofford doing to ensure the ACC’s future viability?  I’d have to say next to nothing.  I don’t see that he has the conference future in mind.

The issue of conference expansion is a tough issue to wrestle with for us Hokies.  I think in our heart of hearts, we don’t want the ACC to disband.  However, we also don’t want to be on the outside looking in… and if we go the SEC, I will support the move 100 percent (even though I don’t want us to go there… there, I said it).

I’m always a Hokie!!! Keep it 110!! Go Hokies!!

 


5 comments

  1. David K. says:

    Outside perspective here (I’m a University of Washington alum and fan). I think when all the dust settles and we are finished with expansion to 16, that the ACC will still be around as the fourth super conference. I think the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten are the three in the strongest position and I don’t think the Big East or Big 12 will survive, but part of the reason is that I see the ACC, even if they lose a member or two, picking up most of the Big East schools to make up for it.

    As a league that values both academics (like the Pac-12 and B1G TEN) and one with strong basketball pedigree it makes sense to pick up schools like UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers and Pitt (assuming a couple of those don’t go to the Big Ten, which they might). Lousiville and Cincinatti aren’t bad schools either. I think USF is an edge case which only makes sense if FSU goes to the SEC and/or Miami gets the death penalty for its latest transgressions. TCU makes no sense at all, but you wouldn’t need them anyway.

    That said I don’t think a move to the SEC is out of the question for the Hokies are necessarilly a bad choice, but the ACC will survive and still have a seat at the grown ups table.

  2. Jfann says:

    Good comments David. I would love to have Syracuse and Pitt in the ACC. UCONN and Rutgers are also logical additions. What wouldn’t suprise me if the ACC and Big East form a sort of hybrid conference…

  3. cmkdawg says:

    SEC is an airplane league? the hokies are 3 hours to UT, 5 hours to kentucky, south carolina, and georgia, 5 1/2 hours to vandy, the only member of the sec east that would require an airplane is florida, which is closer to tech than miami,,,, also, i think va tech is a great fit for the SEC, but it is good to be a “BIG FISH”, my preference would be for them to stay in the ACC with the acc booting BC(come one, this is supposed to be a southern conference) and pick up another emerging coastal team( navy, usf, etc…)

  4. BJ says:

    I’m a Tech fan and I started out writing the reasons that I’d prefer Tech not the be in the SEC. However, as I was typing I realized how some of my arguments rang hollow. Nonetheless, I still prefer the ACC.

    Geographically, I love how Tech fits in the ACC. We are particularly clustered well with the North Carolina schools. But as cmkdawg points out the distance between Tech and other SEC East schools is minimal. For a comparison I map quested VT to SEC East schools and compared them to their closer ACC counterparts. The difference isn’t that great. Vanderbilt (6.5 hrs), Georgia (6), Kentucky (5), South Carolina (4.25), UT (3.75). Compare those to some of the ACC; GT (6.75), Clemson (5), Marlyand (4.75), NC State (4), Duke/UNC (3.5), UVA (2.5), Wake (2). Again, love the distance to Duke, UNC, UVA, and Wake in particular. That’s where VT would lose out but across the board it wouldn’t be that big of a difference.

    The SEC doesn’t offer the variety of olympic sports that the ACC does. Most glaring to me is the absence of men’s soccer. Also absent is women’s lacrosse. However, those are the only 2 olympic sports that VT competes in that are not present in the SEC. A couple other big ones missing (that VT doesn’t offer anyway) are men’s lacrosse and field hockey.

    You can’t underestimate academics and when stacking the ACC against the SEC there is no comparison. VT has some great academic partnerships with some of their ACC counterparts. VT has increasingly become more and more academically competitive. Going to the SEC would be a step down. I think this would be a concern of any ACC school contemplating the move with the exception being FSU. I think that even Clemson enjoys the academic side of things in the ACC. Maryland, UVA, Duke, UNC? No brainer how they feel on this issue.

    Basketball. VT has made great strides here but I feel they would take a step back in the SEC. The SEC is certainly less prestigious but let’s be honest in recent years it hasn’t been that inferior to the ACC. My fear would be recruiting. I think VT to the SEC would take a hit. The players we recruit grew up watching ACC basketball. We are in ACC country. In particular VT’s coach has targeted NC, Baltimore, DC, and Hampton Roads. All ACC hotbeds.

    Pros to going to the SEC are $. How can any school not seriously consider that? I don’t think UVA would hold us back. Yes Tech to the ACC was political in nature but that’s only because it was thought that Tech was going to be left out in the cold causing irreparable harm. UVA is going to be fine no matter where they are. For that matter I think the ACC will be fine no matter who remains. Maybe not ACC football but even then if they got off their high horse and invited WVU then I think they’d be ok.

  5. hokieguru says:

    All, thanks for your comments…

    David K and Jeff Fann, I’d love to see Syracuse and Pitt in the ACC… both would add a lot to our athletics

    cmkdawg and BJ, that’s only a few SEC schools (that’s not all of them)… Tech would have to fly to LSU, Florida, both Mississippi schools (Miss and Miss State), and both Alabama schools (e.g. Auburn and Alabama)… one can’t bus these students there… and we’re talking about not just flying football players, but also those student athletes that participate in the non-rev sports (e.g. volleyball)… *** that’s an expensive endeavor ***… Tech would have to either get rid of men’s and women’s soccer (and women’s LAX) or find a scheduling arrangement for those sports… Kentucky does that with C-USA, but I don’t like that thought and would rather have those sports in the Big East…

    I’d like for us to remain in the ACC if at all possible, but we’ll see how that goes. I’m open to all options.

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