While we're all talking about the lunacy that is Big East expansion, I have to admit I totally forgot to mention a development in our move to the ACC...whenever that might happen.
Last week, ACC commissioner John Swofford dropped some knowledge about how things might shake out and they're not what we were expecting:
"I think nine (conference) games are probable in football. I think it’s more likely to be maintaining the divisions and plugging Pitt and Syracuse into the existing divisions. Recognizing the equity that’s been built in the two divisions as you have them now. The competition, it’s amazing how close it is. It’s almost 50-50 (the Atlantic leads 68-64, including title games). We’re not there yet. That could change, but the tenor of the conversations has been in that direction.
"Basketball, I think 18 games are probable as opposed to 16, and I think no divisions are more likely than having divisions."
Well that seems odd, doesn't it? It comes back to the fact that at least one North Carolina school would have to be separated out from the other three in order to make a "North Division."They were here first, so...
The current ACC Divisions are a hodgepodge split by weird lines. Duke and North Carolina are in one, NC State and Wake Forest is in the other. The Florida schools are split up. So I suppose in that case it makes sense that we'd get split.
I don't quite know what that would mean for Syracuse and Pitt playing one another every year. On paper, it's a shame give our deep history with one another. On the other hand, we don't really seem to have a strong emotional tie to them, at least not in football. I think it's more important that we end up in the same division with Boston College, whom we hate a lot more. FYI, they're in the Atlantic Division.
That said, the Coastal Division might be a better overall fit. That's Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Duke and North Carolina. We have strong history with two of them and it would be nice to have Duke on the schedule every year. Who doesn't like beating Duke in anything?
I guess it doesn't really matter all that much, there are pros and cons to both divisions.
Swofford also said that they're in wait-and-see mode in terms of when Syracuse and Pitt will join the conference.
"We continue to have ongoing discussions with Pitt and Syracuse. They’re in our meetings, they’re part of our discussions moving forward in terms of divisions and number of games and so forth. Ultimately, that’s between the two schools and the Big East Conference."
On whether they could join next year: "I don’t think that’s likely. I think there’s some chance. It appears, from what I’ve read, that West Virginia very much intends on going to the Big 12 next year, and if that happens, how that affects Pitt and Syracuse I don’t know. We’re not there yet, but at some point you reach a point where it would be a fire drill you don’t want to undertake. …
So there you go.