On July 1st the ACC will welcome Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Notre Dame officially to the ACC with a special event/press conference in New York City. The ACC’s roots lie in South. Seven schools (Clemson, South Carolina, Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and Maryland) broke away from the Southern Conference to form the ACC along with Virginia in 1953. That’s a majority of southern based schools right there.
The ACC’s next four additions, Georgia Tech (1979) , Florida State (1992) , Miami (2004), and Virginia Tech (2004) were all southern based schools, but with the addition of Boston College in 2005 the ACC began to make the move North, and the gradual transition from a Southern Conference to an what I’d consider an Eastern one.
There are those that lament the ACC stretching beyond it’s largely Southern roots. It’s the nature of expansion with conferences the last 20 years expanding outside their historical footprints. They’ve all done it – the Big 12 (West Virginia), SEC (Missouri), Big 10 (Rutgers, Maryland, Penn State).
As far as the ACC goes, I think there’s still plenty of Southern feel with 11 schools still south of the Mason Dixon line, including new entry Louisville for those feeling nostalgic. Bringing the Northern schools makes the ACC a truly Eastern oonference. Utilized properly that can only benefit the ACC. John Swofford has already made mention that the ACC will have over 50% of the US’s population in it’s new footprint.
Already as we’ve mentioned the special press event next week will be held in New York City. That’s no coincidence. This this one of the signs of the ACC using their Northern access. I know the ACC just added the Pinstripe bowl in NYC as well, to play the Big 10 in a bowl game. It makes sense both conferences play a bowl near their new Northern schools.
I know Notre Dame is the MidWest, but that’s an eastern school at heart. The moves that started a decade ago had to be made, even if Boston College was on an island for years.
So it will be official on July 1st. The ACC becomes a truly Eastern Conference. I’m ok with it, and I’m looking forward to the ACC’s newest members.