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November 28, 2012

ACC Takes Louisville

Filed under: ACC,Big East,Conference,Expansiopocolypse — Chas @ 10:05 am

Oh, lord the expansiopocolypse just keeps rolling. Let’s start with the latest and work backwards to Tulane.

There was a sense of inevitability that the ACC was going to take another team after Maryland decided to depart. In theory, the ACC could have stayed at 13 for football and 14 everywhere else with ND. But, that just isn’t how expansiopocolypse works.

It seemed that UConn would be the obvious choice. Actually on the East Coast. With BC’s obstinate AD Gene DiFillipo retired, that barrier was done. Including Hartford, Connecticut actually gives UConn a bigger TV market than Louisville. Better academic ranking. All the things that go into present-day conference realignment.

Plus, when you put UConn in there with Syracuse and BC, there’s a strong argument that the ACC would have some real market penetration in both NYC and Boston — at least insofar as there is interest in college sports in those markets. Cable outlets like SNY might be much more inclined to align with ACC interests with both Cuse and UConn part of the package — especially since they will have to worry about YES becoming aligned with Rutgers and the Big Ten.

But…

Louisville is simply the stronger athletic program. The grumblings from Clemson and FSU (and VT as well) have been quite loud about the need to improve the football in the conference. Louisville offers that along with a great basketball tradition. Additionally, there is a clear and very firm commitment to the athletics.

Plus, and this is important, Louisville may not have been there when the ACC would have needed them if they waited.

A source with knowledge of the ACC’s discussions said a big reason that the ACC moved so quickly to add Louisville was that the Big 12 was interested as well.

“This is a unique reset moment,” said a person with direct knowledge of the move. “Schools that weren’t in the mix may come into the mix. Some schools on the sidelines now seem more relevant, especially if we going to start about 16.”

The ACC has also been also contacted by UConn, USF, Cincinnati and Navy. None of those schools are being sought after by other leagues, meaning that if the ACC moves to 16 schools there’s no rush to add one of them now.

That wasn’t the case with Louisville.

Last year when the ACC invited Pitt and Cuse, the Big 12 (or at least the Texas mouthpiece) was making a bit of noise about being interested in Pitt. If the ACC had grabbed Cuse and UConn (or even Rutgers as an example), there is no doubt that Pitt would have had no choice but to go to the Big 12. That played a role. The ACC couldn’t count on Pitt being there in the next round of expansiopocolypse the same way they could with UConn. Maybe not the deciding factor, but another check on the Pitt side of things over UConn.

That was a definite factor once more. And once more UConn got left behind.

UConn is relatively isolated geographically in terms of other conferences. Given the shifts it is conceivable that they could still end up in the Big 12, but unlikely. The ACC or Big East are their only destinations. UConn could wait last year. And when the ACC decided it wanted to replace Maryland, it quickly realized it could still wait on UConn.

Now this should be one more chance for the ACC to fix the divisions alignment. Virginia Tech will object but the chance to geographically fix the divisions.

North: Pitt, Syracuse, BC, VT, UVa, Louisville, Wake Forest

South: FSU, Clemson, GT, Miami, Duke, UNC, NC St.

Assuming the “protected rivalries” are kept for a 6-1-1 schedule, VT could still get Miami which could placate them a bit.

Of course there was greater urgency from UConn, Louisville and Cinci to somehow get out of the Big East. After yesterday’s news of adding Tulane in all sports and East Carolina in football only.

A move that not only smacked of desperation all around, but further drove home the point that the Big East simply lacks other options to bring to their conference.

Villanova fans are bemoaning all the “what ifs” dating back to when the Big East tried to get them to move to 1-A football at the same time UConn did so.

USF fans are wondering what the hell their AD and president are doing.

Cinci fans are out there somewhere.

The basketball schools are doing the math and grimly reaching the same conclusion that was there last year. That they still need even the crappy football-side if they want to make any money. That going off on their own is still not financially viable





I meant to write “Pitt than UConn.” Fail.

Comment by Brian 11.28.12 @ 6:14 pm

I guess I was one the last to hear about the ACC decieding on Louisville. THIS MUST REALLY PISS OFF THE WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS! Particularily after that stupid WVU blog rant detailing the colapse of the ACC. I thought the ACC moved rather decisively. They got the best football-basketball combination available, that still worked geographically. They added a school that is an up-grade over Maryland in both of the major sports.

Comment by Justinian 11.28.12 @ 6:20 pm

Chas,I don’t think I can pronounce EXPANIOPOCOLYPSE!

Comment by Justinian 11.28.12 @ 6:27 pm

As I posted yesterday, all the ACC Presidents signed on to the lawsuit against Maryland in obtaining the $50 Million exit fee, even Florida State.

FWIW

Comment by Emel 11.28.12 @ 6:50 pm

I was surprised to see the ACC with better football viewership than the PAC 12 and even the Big 12. Really, other than the Big 10, the ACC has the most attractive combo of football and basketball (yes I know BB doesn’t matter for TV $). I don’t what this all means, but it seems that there is no reason for the ACC to a) have the smallest per school TV revenue and b) be in a position to lose teams to other conferences other than maybe the SEC.

Comment by Iron Duke 11.28.12 @ 7:05 pm

Don’t be shocked if the ACC goes after one of the Texas schools. And as far as the Big 12 payout, they were able to take the money vacated by Missouri and Colorado and add it to the pie for the remaining 10 – the contract they have keeps the money the same unless they went to less than 10 achools – which is why WVU got in so fast.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 11.28.12 @ 7:36 pm

omg…this basketball confrence is sick!!!

Comment by Keith 11.28.12 @ 8:11 pm

How soon before we see the qualifier “now defunct” as we describe the Big East?

I like the Louisville move to ACC…as an Indianapolis resident, I can make the short drive down I-65 to watch Pitt when they play the Cardinals.

Comment by Lou 11.28.12 @ 8:34 pm

Emel – your point about the presidents is very very important. I don’t think any of them would vote to go after the full $50 million from Maryland if they were looking to get out themselves. That would just be stupid. I am not as worried about losing teams anymore. Anything is possible, but I think the only conference we could lose FSU or Clemson to is the SEC, and since they already have a presence in those states, I think the SEC will look elsewhere. People underestimate the travel costs a move to the Big 12 will cost FSU and Clemson as well.

Comment by Mac 11.28.12 @ 8:45 pm

I agree that the whole Penn State to ACC talk is crazy, but the speculation is fun.

I guess the best argument is this- PSU is going to feel the full brunt of the sanctions over the next 4-8 years. Maybe time for a change of scenery and the opening of a new era. If you can get ND as well, you have a conference that is stronger than the Big 10 and can ultimately be just as profitable in a new TV deal.

Maybe Tennessee would feel the same way and consider a jump to a conference it can better compete in, so long as ND was in. Knoxville is only 3.5 hours from Clemson, 4 hours from VT, and about 5 to 6 hours from all 4 tobacco road schools- Duke, UNC, NC State and Wake.

Comment by Dan35 11.28.12 @ 9:48 pm

@Brian
ND is only going to join either the Big X or the ACC. ND will be forced to join one of these conferences sooner or later in order to have a place for all their other sports. We will see if ND is really committed to the ACC if and when the ACC’s premier football schools start to be courted by the Big X, Big XII or SEC. Maryland was only a loss from a perspective standpoint (casts a shadow of vulnerability but no real damage to the conference). ND will not want to be a part of a watered down ACC just like they wanted no part of a watered down Big East. If ND does not move into the ACC when there is a real threat to losing the Florida and/or Virginia Schools, then we will know that all that talk about the ACC being a better fit then the Big X was a bunch of smoke and mirrors. ND will be resigned to moving into the Big X at that point as the Big X will hold all the cards and only accept full membership as ND will not want to move all their other sports into the Big XII (only other option). It will be interesting to see how this will all play out. And if ND picks the ACC, a big time dance partner will follow. It won’t be Cincy or Uconn.

Comment by Floyd 11.28.12 @ 9:50 pm

Just found this old article speculating about possibility of Tennessee to ACC. The more I think about it the more I think this is the best possible target for the ACC. Though I admittedly don’t know jack about the TV money ins and outs, which coincidentally happens to be everything in this new era…

link to bleacherreport.com

Comment by Dan35 11.28.12 @ 10:38 pm

If you remember Notre Dame’s AD was highly critical of Pitt and Syracuse for leaving the Big East. They were fine with the Big East, because it provided a conference for all the non revenue sports and allowed them to remain an independent in football, while giving them the opportunities to play in the eastern metropolitan areas where they have large followings. They stayed as long as they could. When things with the Big East fell apart, the ACC provided the next best thing.

Comment by Justinian 11.28.12 @ 10:43 pm

Precedent has been made. I agree with Joe D. (sound of trumpets blaring).
The BE Catholic Schools need to move for their own good. Grab X, Dayton, maybe even St. Joes and Duquesne from the A10 and you have a generally cohesive league. Pretty damn good one too.
As for the ACC, I still shoot for the stars and court PSU. But I will take UC and UCONN. I like the way UCONN’s Prez responds to things. She has chutzpah.

Comment by SFPitt 11.28.12 @ 11:14 pm

If academics are less of a priority this round over athletic commitment, makes you wonder what would have happened if WVU had not made the panic move to the Big 12. They might have been asked to the ACC this round after all!

Comment by JCE 11.29.12 @ 8:36 am

I couldn’t see Tenn leaving the ACC. I like the idea of working with ND to get a NBC deal for the ACC if possible… not sure given contracts with ESPN, but clearly they need to show that they can generate more revenue.

Comment by JoeP 11.29.12 @ 9:37 am

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