Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Analysis of Conference Realignment, Part 1 - Super-ACC Plus Revised Big East

So now multiple reports are surfacing that UConn will join a Super-ACC Power Conference. There are many ways this could move forward and I will outline a few of the ones I think are possible. As a disclaimer, I may have gotten many of these ideas at least in part from some other people. If I don't give you credit, I apologize. It's hard to recognize where a single idea or theory begins and where it stops being your idea and mine and you may have planted the idea in my head, or not. If something you said triggered something in my mind, feel free to take credit in the comments, but since all thoughts tend to build on other thoughts, it would be impossible to account for all of them.

Scenario 1 - Two Division, 16-team Super-ACC plus Big East revolution

The most likely, scenario, in my opinion, is a 16-team Super-ACC for all sports, plus a completely new look Big East, which will be very watered down and not involve UConn.

First, let's look how the ACC will look. Some entries may be marked with a [*] which means I will discuss them further down the page.

In any case, here would be essentially the layout.

North Division:

  • Connecticut

  • Syracuse

  • Boston College

  • Pittsburgh

  • Maryland

  • Rutgers/St. John's/Navy [*]

  • Virginia

  • Virginia Tech

South Division

  • Duke

  • North Carolina

  • NC State

  • Georgia Tech

  • Florida State

  • Miami (FL)

  • Clemson

  • Wake Forest

Fairly organized by geography, plain and simple. Now, let's look at who that leaves in the Big East. Non football schools are indicated by an (NF)

  • Cincinnati

  • Louisville

  • Notre Dame (FBS Independent)

  • TCU

  • South Florida

  • DePaul (NF)

  • West Virginia

  • Georgetown (NF)

  • Marquette (NF)

  • Providence (NF)

  • Seton Hall (NF)

  • Villanova (NF)

  • TCU

This leaves 12 schools, but only five football schools. Baylor and Iowa State have expressed interested in joining if the Big 12 collapses, which it looks like it will ultimately. Kansas and Missouri could also join. At the very least, with so many teams in the Midwest, the conference would probably change its name. It could be interesting to see how things play out. But since this is a UConn blog, let us focus more on the ACC end of the scenario.

First, to address the [*] next to Rutgers/St. John's/Navy. The next question is how seriously the ACC wants to take football as opposed to basketball. Rutgers is at the bottom of the league in hoops and football. St. John's has a great basketball program but no football team. So do you add Rutgers or St. John's? Rutgers could fill the league out. Another scenario is add St. John's, plus add Navy (or Army) as a football associate member to balance the numbers. I'd like to see the last one play out, but I doubt it. I'd definitely like St. John's though. They are a more major sports school than Rutgers. Also, it would allow the sixth best college soccer rivalry in America to stay in tact as the Huskies can continue to face the Red Storm every year. That being said, I am not so naive as to think the ACC actually cares about a sport that doesn't generate revenue. But there are other reasons to support the Red Storm too, as I said. And adding Navy for football would give us one of the most historic programs in the country. They're probably not at the level of other schools, but they're an up-coming program. I think they'd welcome an opportunity to join a conference. Both service academies compete in the Patriot League for other sports, but are FBS Independents for football. At various points, they have been associate members of various conferences, so it's hardly a novel concept.

This is just one of many ways it could play out ion the coming days. I will continue to outline a few other possible scenarios, so stay tuned.

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