Expansion is being talked up again, and what a dumb idea it is. The ACC is not the Big10, nor is it The Big East, thank God, where we just go out and draft a team foR viewer
demographics.Â Georgia Tech was a nice fit, and getting back up to eight schools was
a good idea.Â And you could make an argument that FSU has been good from a football
point of view, certainly, though they screwed up the tourney format and don't fit very
well culturally with the ACC, which has traditionally stressed academics and integrity to
at least some meaningful extent. Ok, Clemson, State, and Maryland have played on the
edges, but it's not like we have an LSU floating around.Â But they're here and we all
more or less accept them now as ACC brethren.
Now comes rumors that Miami is
being courted for the 10th team, and that if the Big 10 goes after Syracuse, we might
go after the 'Canes.
Aside from a football program which has been notorious for having, uh, problems, what
does Miami bring? A tv audience in South Florida, true, and more marketability for
football with two pretty competitive programs (and UNC and Clemson won't be far behind now
that a Bowden is there).Â But otherwise what they bring is 20 league games for
basketball, meaning that conference play will start even sooner, and an absolute
disinterest in the sport.Â Worse, they are competing for market share in a pro town.
Â Why do we need more of that?Â And also worse, the Florida schools will have
20% of the votes. That might not sound like much, but it's a base, and it will change the
balance of power in the ACC and likely screw things up but good down the road.Â It's
like new neighbors who put up yard jockeys and have three cars up on blocks: it's never
the same again.
Excuse us for being reactionary.Â But this isn't what we grew up with.Â What
we knew then was a conference which was based largely on basketball, which was marketed
smartly, and which added members cautiously, keeping in mind what's best for the
conference overall, rather than a fearful overreaction.Â There's even mention of 12
teams, which would surely mean divisions, like the SEC, which would ruin the historical
rivalries which make it so special in the first place.
If expansion has to happen, and we court a team from another conference, might we
humbly suggest Kentucky?Â We have made a lot of fun of the Wildcats, and we have
certainly ripped the periodic lapses in honor, but they're no worse than Miami has been.
Â Furthermore,Â a basketball conference with Duke, UNC, Kentucky, and a
resurgent Maryland and NC State would be huge.Â The rivalries between UK and UNC
would be insane and might even liven up the Dean Dome, and home and home between Durham
and Rupp would be truly awesome.Â Then there would be the periodic upsets in Joel and
College Park, and Clemson would love to have them over at Littlejohn.Â The tournament
would even regain some passion as the old schools try to keep UK out of the winner's
circle.Kentucky in the ACC would be incredible. On the other hand, it's not like anyone
has asked them, and who knows if they would? C.M. Newton is an SEC guy from way way back
and would probably not go for it.Â But what an addition that would be.
And while we're at it, why must the ACC be so stupid and unimaginative?Â There are
a lot of ways to skin a cat.Â Adding a school like Miami is just one. We can think of
a few others.Â If the idea behind adding a football school is to improve football,
then ipso facto it's improved in that sense. But that does nothing to improve Wake
football, or Duke or Maryland - it probably hurts it. So 10% addition, 30% subtraction.
Â The ACC needs to think out of the box.Â Here are some things which we think
- Go after UK if you must go after anyone.
- Consider marketing the ACC as a whole to shoe companies or other endorsers.Â We
know this will upset people, but coaches could still be compensated handsomely out of the
total package.Â Take the revenues from this, work out an equitable formula, and give
it to the schools to upgrade their facilities and improve their football facilities.
- Use some of the money to hire marketing consultants. We're not saying the schools are
incapable, but who couldn't use some help? Certainly Wake and Duke need to sell more
- Develop a two-level talent identification program.Â On the one hand, hire ACC
equivalents of Marty Blake to fan across the recruiting circuits and issue reports back to
member schools on potential prospects. Simultaneously track promising young coaches.
Â Distribute all information to member schools, who, of course, will continue their
own research (they already get these reports from services anyway; why not streamline and
professionalize it - and give them a tool the other conferences lack?)
- Follow up on Quin Snyder's efforts at Duke to bring every school into the computer age.
Â Quin applied technology and business principles to the basketball office and made
the greatest strides in recruiting since probably Vic Bubas (and we mean nationally.
People forget Bubas developed a revolutionary approach).
We realize that all of these present various problems.Â Â But you can't keep
drafting new members whenever someone else does. That's insane.