The ACC grew by two teams Sunday. The league announced on a conference call Sunday morning its decision to jump into the conference expansion fray that is sweeping across the country.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse are the two schools bolting the Big East for the ACC. Both schools chancellors spoke about how the ACC is the perfect fit for their school. They mentioned academics first, perhaps thinking some people are naïve enough to believe this move was done for scholastic reasons. We know and they know that this move was made for financial reasons and to keep up with the SEC Jones’. It was about television markets, not medical research collaboration.
This move certainly helps protect the ACC from other conferences, like the SEC, luring away any of its members. It will also move the league back in front of the Big East for basketball supremacy. What Pitt and Syracuse will bring in terms of football credibility is debatable.
Certainly adding the Pittsburgh and New York markets will be huge for the ACC in terms of marketing and television revenue. Again, it also provides stability for the conference in a day where so many teams are defecting to other places.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said they have not determined what the divisions will look like. He said the league will abide by the Big East bylaws in determining how quickly they can add Pitt and Syracuse to the fold. The Big East has a 27 month notice of opt out. Swofford said they will explore ways to lower that timeframe.
There will be plenty of time to debate if these new super conferences being created by the SEC, ACC and others are good for the game or the fans. Will this lead to a playoff in college football? Changes in the NCAA basketball tournament?
Also, how will this impact the casual fan? Let’s face it; a trip from Clemson to Syracuse isn’t going to be easy on a middle class fan. Here is a look at some of the potential road trips for the Solid Orange Nation:
- Clemson to Pittsburgh: 574 miles (estimated driving time 9 ½ hours)
- Clemson to Syracuse: 851 miles (estimated driving time 14 hours)
These long distances don’t concern the powers that be. If you can’t make the trip, chances are you will watch it on television. And as we know TV is the monster that is driving all of these new super conferences.