|In or Out?|
|by Mickey Plyler - Radio Host - Tuesday, February 11, 2014 9:47 AM||
In or Out?
The Atlantic Coast Conference made a big splash this past spring when it secured Notre Dame as its 15th member. The conference adds another new member this fall when Louisville joins the league.
Expansion is always a hot topic and it has been this way for most of my life. South Carolina left the ACC in the mid-1970s and it was a controversial subject. The conference added Georgia Tech a few years later and Tech seemed like a natural fit because of geography.
The league went to nine schools when it added Florida State in the early 90s. Again this felt like Georgia Tech because it was located within the geographic thumbprint of the ACC.
The next expansion came with Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech. In my opinion, Miami felt natural and felt like an ACC school. I think Virginia Tech has been as good or better in terms of a fit in the conference. However, Boston College has not. I have always felt the original ACC schools had little in common with Boston College. It just hasn't fit in my opinion.
The next wave of expansion came this past year when Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the conference. I have not gone to an event with Clemson and Pittsburgh yet but it just doesn't feel right to me. Pittsburgh feels like a big northern city that features a basketball powerhouse. It doesn't feel like the Atlantic Coast Conference to me.
I did go to Syracuse this past October for Clemson's first trip to the Carrier Dome. The trip was nice, mainly because the Tigers ripped up the home team. The people were friendly and it was an interesting trip, but at no time did I feel like I was on an ACC campus.
I have not been to Louisville yet, so I am interested to see how they fit and how it will feel to have them as a part of the league. But at least the other 15 schools have joined the league as a full-time member. That is not the case for Notre Dame.
It has been made clear to me that if the ACC wanted to get Notre Dame it was going to have to do what others, including the Big 12, weren’t willing to do. The ACC had to offer Notre Dame on Notre Dame's terms. That means no football. Sure, four ACC schools will get to play Notre Dame in football, but they won't be conference games. Each year 11 ACC schools won't play Notre Dame in football. That doesn't sound like a conference member to me.
I know Notre Dame is a great name. I know they have the Subway Alumni and I know they are a powerful force in college athletics. However, I want Notre Dame to go all in. To me, I say get in or get out. I’m not sure the benefits of its membership are worth the special membership.
If you put the ACC logo on the soccer field, basketball court and baseball field then you ought to have to put it on the football field today.
Notre Dame's famous sign its players touch from the locker room on the way to the field reads, "Play Like A Champion Today." My question is, "Champion of what?" Unless Notre Dame wins the national title, what championship can they win as an independent? Certainly they can't claim a division title or a conference title. What banners do you hang? What rings do you win?
So tonight the Tigers take on conference foe in South Bend, IN in men's basketball. The game counts in the conference standings but personally I would feel so much better about its membership if Notre Dame committed and jumped into the boat full time.
Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Louisville's membership to the ACC feels natural. I can't say the same about Boston College, Syracuse or Pittsburgh. I like Notre Dame in the ACC but wish they REALLY were in the ACC.
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