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Sep
22
2011

5 Reasons the ACC Shouldn’t Expand Further… Unless Notre Dame wants to join.

It looks like conference expansion for 2011 is close to an end. This was brought about by the Pac 12 deciding they didn’t want to hassle of Oklahoma and Texas. For the ACC we’ve already covered their newest additions Pittsburgh and Syracuse. It was a great move by John Swofford and the ACC to solidify the conference for years to come. The ACC has the whole eastern seaboard covered now, and I like it. That said, unless Notre Dame calls the ACC ready to join stop expanding and here are 5 reasons why.

1. As stated you have the eastern seaboard covered, everybody is happy. Pick up two more teams from the Big East that lack football tradition and your southern football schools Florida State, Clemson, and even Georgia Tech are going to start to feel slighted.

2. A 16-team conference was tried by the WAC. It failed. Older teams weren’t happy, travel costs were high. The ACC shouldn’t be the first BCS conference to try this.

3. College Football right now is the like the Tech Bubble of the late 90s early 2000s. The number of viewers can only go up so much. The sport is growing at an unbelievable rate. If you add 2 more teams, that don’t really increase your market share, you could be forced into a TV deal that may not be that profitable. i.e more mouths to feed.

4. Get to 16 teams, and please explain to me how that’s a conference and not just a group of colleges associated by name. Even if you move to a 9 game conference schedule, you would play 7 other teams in your division, and 2 in the other division. There would be a conference rival you play once every 5 years! Even in a pod system you’d play just 3 teams every year. It’s kind of hard to build rivalries that way.

5. Get that big, and you may run an even higher risk of getting poached. Go to 16, and the SEC, Big 10, and Pac 12 will try to expand as well. There are only so many schools to go around and the SEC and/or Big 10 may come calling trying to get one or more of the ACC’s schools. Remember the Big East got huge basketball wise specifically and it couldn’t hold things together.



1 comment

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  1. Gregory Breitenbeck says:

    JFann,
    Let me deal with each of your points, which, on their face, seem to make sense.

    1. The eastern seaboard covered, everybody is happy. Pick up two more teams from the Big East that lack football tradition and your southern football schools Florida State, Clemson, and even Georgia Tech are going to start to feel slighted.

    Not completely true. Connecticut and New Jersey (the big NYC TV market) are not served. True that more northern basketball schools would alienate FSU, Clemson, and Georgia Tech but the recent ACC college presidents’ decision to increase the conference departure fee to $20 million would inhibit those three from joining the SEC though, in my view, that would be the best future for them.

    2. A 16-team conference was tried by the WAC. It failed. Older teams weren’t happy, travel costs were high. The ACC shouldn’t be the first BCS conference to try this.

    This precedent isn’t relevant. Times have changed. The Big 10, Pacific Coast, and SEC super conferences are coming. A preemptive move by the ACC may be the only option for its survival. Travel costs won’t be a factor if the old Big East teams and old ACC teams become the new ACC North and South divisions.
    If you add 2 more teams, that don’t really increase your market share, you could be forced into a TV deal that may not be that profitable. i.e more mouths to feed.
    True. True. True. We gotta hope that the New York City market pulls in sufficient bucks (particularly from basketball) to offset dilution.

    3. Get to 16 teams, and please explain to me how that’s a conference and not just a group of colleges associated by name. Even if you move to a 9 game conference schedule, you would play 7 other teams in your division, and 2 in the other division. There would be a conference rival you play once every 5 years! Even in a pod system you’d play just 3 teams every year. It’s kind of hard to build rivalries that way.

    I can see your point. If you just cobbled together sixteen schools, you’d have a very hard time establishing traditional rivalries with a conference of this size. Fortunately, that’s not the case in the new ACC in which traditional Big East and traditional ACC schools will play each other every year. Lining up cross divisional “rivals” shouldn’t be too difficult, viz FSU-Miami, UVa-Virginia Tech. Note that, in the current ACC configuration for example, FSU plays rivals in the Coastal Division at home like Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech only once every five years now. The North/South alignment even in a 16 team configuration would solve this problem for traditional rivals in both the north and south. Besides, who really cares how often you have the opportunity to go to Boston in November?

    4. Get that big, and you may run an even higher risk of getting poached. Go to 16, and the SEC, Big 10, and Pac 12 will try to expand as well. There are only so many schools to go around and the SEC and/or Big 10 may come calling trying to get one or more of the ACC’s schools.

    You can count on it! The Big 10 covets Maryland and the Washington DC TV market and the SEC would love to destroy the ACC as a rival to its football prominence in the South and would effectively do so if it stole FSU, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. However, this sad scenario for the ACC is more likely—not less likely—if the ACC stands pat at 14 teams when the big three—Big 10/SEC/PAC—move to their sixteen team super conference configurations. Preemptively moving to 16 teams positions the ACC better to not only fend off the threats of the Big 10 and SEC on an equal footing, but, more importantly, to negotiate with the targeted schools of Maryland, FSU, Georgia Tech, and Clemson. You can be certain that secret and independent negotiations are going on among all these parties while everybody makes the politically correct comments about their satisfaction with their current conference membership. However, if the ACC bureaucrats want to safeguard their jobs in a conference office that has a strong position in the college football world and not be relegated to looking after a rump collection of geographically disparate basketball schools (which the ACC would become without the aforementioned schools), they need to act as aggressively and proactively as they did when they acquired FSU, and then Miami, Virginia Tech, and BC, and finally—to the surprise of the NCAA football world—Syracuse and Pittsburgh. UConn and Rutgers aren’t great shakes, but, at least, they are on the Atlantic coast (unlike Notre Dame and Texas), they to some degree bring the lucrative New York City market, and add to the perception—real and imagined—of strength in numbers.

  1. So the ACC may have an expansion model with Notre Dame and UCONN. Do you like it? » All Sports Discussion says:

    [...] way back in September I wrote that the ACC shouldn’t expand beyond the soon to be 14 teams, unless that is Notre Dame joins and brings a partner. At the time I didn’t ask the reader what they thought. So here’s one of our polls here [...]

  2. So the ACC may have an expansion model with Notre Dame and UCONN. Do you like it? | Sports Blog United says:

    [...] way back in September I wrote that the ACC shouldn’t expand beyond the soon to be 14 teams, unless that is Notre Dame joins and brings a partner. At the time I didn’t ask the reader what they thought. So here’s one of our polls here [...]

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