Sunday, December 20, 2009

Should the ACC Be Proactive in Realignment?

With all the talk about the Big Ten looking to add a 12th team and the ripple effect it could cause, it makes me think about the ACC. Could the ACC be affected by this ripple?

Maybe. Some think that if Missouri leaves for the Big Ten, the Big XII will go after Arkansas. Then the SEC may go after one of the ACC schools ... namely Clemson or Florida State. A move like that would really wound the ACC and will put them in a scramble to find a new partner.

That's where things get dicey. The ACC would have to look at raiding the Big East for a replacement ... which will open up new wounds. The ACC could look at adding Syracuse, Rutgers or UConn (imagine a hoops conference with North Carolina, Duke and either UConn or Syracuse!) to bunk up with Boston College. They could look closer to the geographic center of the league and seek out West Virginia, East Carolina, Navy or Marshall.

I'm not liking that.

I think the ACC may be wise to get a little proactive in this process. There is no way that the ACC can compete with the SEC football-wise. The SEC is the best football conference that has a tremendous reach nationally. I doubt that Clemson (an original ACC school) or Florida State is clamoring to leave the ACC, but it would be enticing.

One thing the ACC should look at beforehand is tightening up the conference. It wouldn't hurt me for the ACC to make a trade of sorts with the Big East. Boston College sticks out like a sore thumb in a lot of ways. They are no where close to the rest of the conference geographically and adding the northeastern school hasn't helped the ACC's presence in the region. BC has done just fine as both a football program and a basketball program, but no one in the ACC likes having that long trip up to Boston.

Give Boston College back to the Big East where they really belong. Back with UConn, Providence, Syracuse and the like. Let the ACC take West Virginia in return. West Virginia has both the basketball pedigree and tradition to stick with the rest of the league and the football program to enhance the league. Plus, West Virginia travels well and is attractive to bowl sites. Those are good things.

Again, I doubt if any of this occurs. I don't think Arkansas is dumb enough to leave the SEC for the Big XII (I think TCU is a better choice for the Big XII). The SEC wouldn't poach the ACC for sport, just out of necessity.

Let's make sure we have a plan in place.

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