After all the angst, all the discussions and rancor, much of it aimed, we
might add, squarely at Duke for resisting football-driven expansion, the ACC
will officially become a 11-team conference on Thursday (B.C. comes aboard next
year). So no matter what you thought about expansion, let's welcome Miami,
and particularly, Virginia
Tech, to the conference.
We don't usually have a lot of research material at our fingertips, so we
rely on memory and a long knowledge of Duke and the ACC. So when we tell
you that this is the culmination of a 50+year desire on Tech's part, well, look
it up. They wanted in at the beginning, and were denied (so, incidentally, did
Florida State and Miami, who were also interested in being charter
Virginia Tech has watched from the outside, in one sense, but in a geographic
sense, has watched from the inside. Unlike Miami, where baseball and
football have been the main events, even though Tech basketball has never been
at an ACC level, at least not at a sustained level anyway, Tech is very much in
ACC country, and the conference has always been a part of sports discussion in
Blacksburg. And not just "we wish we were part of it," but in a
deeper sense. Twenty years ago, if you didn't have cable yet, and there
was no Web, you could follow the ACC reasonably well in the Roanoke paper, which
is more or less the home-team paper for Tech. As a matter of fact, you
could count on Bill Brill (among others) to give you some of the best insights
into the ACC you would find anywhere.
For any ACC fan in the mountains, you didn't have everything, but Brill gave
you enough to make you feel part of it.
But mostly Tech has been on the outside looking in, and while from a media
point of view, it's a meaningless expansion since Tech adds very little directly
to the TV contracts, emotionally, it's enormous for Tech people, who have wanted
this for decades.
So to all you Hokies out there, the day draws near. We hope it is all you
dreamed of, and we hope that you are happy with the ACC. You're going to take
some serious whippings in the real sport, but when it comes to football, you,
Florida Tech, Miami, and a few others will be largely running things unless and
until the rest of the conference gets it together.
So a couple of days early: welcome, at long last, to the ACC. Take your shoes
off! Make yourselves at home, because it is your natural home, and we'd much
rather see you here than Syracuse.