|ACC needs to add to the good news and realign the divisions|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:55 AM||
Atlantic Coast Commissioner John Swofford took a huge step in making his conference stable and viable for years to come with last week’s announcement of the media grant of rights, and now the conference needs to take the next logical step and realign the divisions.
The grant of rights means each ACC school has pledged that money for its TV rights through the conclusion of the conference's contract with ESPN, which runs through 2027, will remain with the ACC no matter where that school happens to reside. That makes the teams within the conference less attractive to poachers, and with a $50 million exit fee in place, the chances of teams leaving the conference are slim and none, and slim is headed out the door.
However, with the addition of Pittsburgh, Louisville and Syracuse for the upcoming athletic year and with the addition of Notre Dame looming on the football horizon, the conference needs to take a long hard look at the divisions and think about realignment within the conference.
Louisville will take the place of Maryland in the ACC Atlantic – the same division as Clemson and Florida St. – and for the foreseeable future it appears the three strongest programs in the conference will reside in the Atlantic. What the ACC doesn’t need is a repeat of the joke of a championship game that was played last year when North Carolina and Miami were ineligible for the ACC Championship and a .500 Georgia Tech team had to step in and play.
However, neither North Carolina nor Miami set the world on fire last season, and it was obvious the conference’s two best teams were Clemson and Florida St. I get it – that happens, and it changes from year to year. In the SEC. the East has been the whipping boy for the West and the SEC won’t dare move an LSU, Alabama, Arkansas or Texas A&M to the East.
Two years from now, the best teams from the ACC might indeed be from the current Coastal Division. But it does look like Clemson, Florida St. and Louisville are all built to make sustained runs, while former Coastal heavyweight Virginia Tech deals with talent issues. Georgia Tech has been barely a .500 team for the past few seasons. North Carolina and Miami have battled the NCAA and scandals. Duke will always be…well…Duke. Virginia doesn’t seem suited to make any kind of a run.
Many people would like to see Clemson and Florida St. split up, with Seminoles and Hurricanes in the same division. However, my source at the ACC says the two schools need to remain in separate divisions so that each ACC school will visit the state of Florida at least once every two years for recruiting purposes.
With that in mind, it would make it easy to keep Clemson and Florida St. in the same division and let Louisville move to the Coastal. Former N.C. State head coach Tom O’Brien said last season that he would like to see the two divisions made up of original ACC members and new ACC members, but that would mess up several of the natural rivalries.
However, you could realign to where the divisions would actually resemble the old Big East and the original ACC.
It would look like this, and you could name them North and South:
ACC North Division
Boston College Eagles
Virginia Tech Hokies
ACC South Division
Duke Blue Devils
Florida St. Seminoles
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
N.C. State Wolfpack
North Carolina Tar Heels
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Clemson would need to find a new cross-division rival, but how much fun would it be to play Virginia Tech each season? The two schools are a lot alike, and a yearly series between the programs would always be a big ticket.
It would also make sense from a travel standpoint – Clemson wouldn’t need to travel to Syracuse or Syracuse to Clemson, while adding short trips to North Carolina or Duke. And, having the four North Carolina teams – UNC, N.C. State, Duke and Wake – in the same division would create some excitement.
A team like Boston College would also benefit by having teams like Pitt and Syracuse and Virginia closer than FSU, Clemson and N.C. State.
The bad news is that I’ve been told – rather pointedly I might add – that realignment won’t happen and isn’t even being discussed. Which is too bad, because if you want to prove that you are a big-time football conference, it’s time to make some big boy moves to make the product better across the board.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a realignment you think would make sense? We would love to hear them all.
|Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment||