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What Now?

ACC reps are off to Virginia Tech to
conduct a fact-finding tour,
which is about like going next door to look
over your neighbor's yard: there's not much that's unknown. Tech people
are ecstatic - this is something they have been after for 50 years, since the
founding of the conference, and have
been rejected time and again. Tech board of visitors member John R. Lawson II says that
''[Tech] can help the ACC as much as it can help us. That's the bottom
line.'' If it has to be done, we vastly prefer Tech to Syracuse or B.C., and we welcome the Hokies wholeheartedly. The conference is still
tucked in between Florida and College Park (they only have to add stars to the logo), and that's about right in our
book, plus there's a ready-made rivalry. Two, actually, counting FSU and Miami.

Now that expansion is apparently a done deal, assuming neither school backs
out, what next? Well, without 12 schools, there is no title game, so divisions
may or may not be a necessity. The Big 10/1 does just fine without
them. But if they are to be brought in, here's what we'd suggest: with
this expansion, the ACC is now able to divide with logical geography, so a
North/South split works pretty well:

South North
Miami Maryland
FSU Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech Virginia
Clemson Duke
Wake Forest UNC
TBA NC State

This won't fly for two reasons: first, all the southern schools will be scared
of being in the same division with Miami and FSU, and second, Miami and FSU have
expressed a strong desire to be in different divisions.

The second
reason? Basketball. With limited visits, if any, from Duke, UNC, and
Maryland, the southern schools, who really pushed expansion hard, will get
the secondary fruit: a lousy basketball gate. We would exclude Wake Forest
from that list of advocates, but someone has to go into the Southern
division. To us, if it came down this way, it makes a lot of sense to keep
the Triangle rivals in the same division, and Wake is a bit farther away.
Nonetheless, the expansion advocates will want it both ways, but geography is
suddenly much easier with Miami and Tech, isn't it?

An interesting side
effect, as an ACC authority pointed out to us, is that the tournament, with
divisions, would suddenly be much more significant, since the conference winner
could only be determined there. Look for a lot of "ACC
Divisional Champion" banners in the Dean Dome!

Incidentally, here's
hoping VT football coach Frank Beamer is alright. Apparently he had chest
pains, which, coincidentally or not, arrived at about the same time the
expansion news did.