Mike Bianchi of the Orlando paper is not impressed with how the ACC has handled expansion, to say the least, calling the teams added "basketball boneheads."
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Well, maybe. But if you're going to expand, even with football in mind, where do you go? You can't pull anyone from the SEC. Penn State might be tempted, but they'd be taking a big cut. There's not a football school in the East worth considering, unless you consider Rutgers recently, and Rutgers, long term, has no meaningful history.
Heading West, what do you do? TCU?
The truth is that there are limited options football wise.
And Louisville, whatever else you want to say about them, has invested in football and appears to take it seriously. South Florida? Central Florida? Northwest Southeast Central Florida State?
Options are limited.
Speaking of Louisville, here's a misleading factoid: according to ESPN, "Louisville was the top market every year[for the past decade], averaging a 4.1 rating or higher the past five seasons, including a 5.3 in 2009-10."
Wow, people are really into the Cards!
Well, yes and no. No doubt Louisville is the epicenter of the team's following. But it's also the largest city in Kentucky and therefore one can reasonably expect that the majority of fans in Louisville are Kentucky fans.
It's not news to the Cardinal partisans. It's much like Durham actually. Duke is a wonderful school with an amazing basketball program. But if you stop at a gas station, get a cab or talk to a police officer, there's a pretty good chance they'll be UNC fans. This is even true at Duke itself. The faculty generally pulls for Duke; much of the staff pulls for UNC.
It's just the way it is. But suggesting that somehow Louisville is a great market for the ACC, well, they're going to have to earn that.
We will say it's the first time Kentucky and the SEC will have significant media competition in that market, Louisville aside. Having Duke, UNC, Syracuse and the like on consistently will be different. Louisville has come up in the world, from Independent to C-USA to Big East to ACC.
Nonetheless, it's a Kentucky market, not necessarily Louisville's.
We were very surprised that Miami knocked off Michigan State, but maybe we shouldn't have been. After all, up until now they haven't had their entire complement of players. But they do have some real talent and Jim Larranaga is an excellent coach. Moreover, Michigan State always starts slow and is entirely willing to take early defeats to improve.
How big is it for Miami? Well, pretty darn big.
Speaking of big, there's a huge game coming up this weekend for Virginia Tech as Oklahoma State and Marcus Smart come to town. Smart, perhaps the best freshman in the nation thus far, is going to be a huge challenge.
But look at the standings: other than Duke, the Hokies are the last undefeated team. Not UNC, not State, not Maryland.
So far, James Johnson is doing a great job and surpassing expectations to date, including ours.
However, they haven't really played anyone, with Iowa being the toughest opponent. They get West Virginia right after Oklahoma State, so we'll see how they handle the big boys.
If they're 8-0, that'll make people sit up and take notice.