ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10: Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels walks the ball down the court against Alex Johnson #3 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Over on SBNation.com, Jason Kirk took a look at best and worst case scenarios for each of the conference in the murky conference realignment waters. I felt like doing the same, only focusing on what happens if the axe falls...
Alright, so, let's say...
The Florida St. Seminoles, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Clemson Tigers leave the ACC for the Big 12 where the Notre Dame Fighting Irish dip their toe in with non-football sports before finally going whole hog in 2016.
The Miami Hurricanes join somebody, somewhere.
What's left behind are the schools that value basketball, and may or may not have a football team that qualifies for bowl games every couple years.
The remaining ACC schools at that point are the Boston College Golden Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina Tar Heels, Pittsburgh Panthers, Syracuse Orange, Virginia Cavaliers and Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
So what does the ACC do? Well, what it started with Syracuse and Pitt. It finishes off the Big East, or at least the Big East as anyone knows it.
With all of those other football-rich programs jumping to the Big 12, the window will have closed on the Louisville Cardinals' chances, so they'd be a great candidate. Quality basketball and good-enough football.
You think about the South Florida Bulls in order to get back into Florida and the Cincinnati Bearcats as well. You probably also consider the East Carolina Pirates given their geography and continued insistence they're ready to play on the next level.
Let's say you take South Florida because they give you a presence in Florida again, that gives you...
|ACC North||ACC South|
Obviously, that's not going to scare the pants off of anyone on the football field, but, we're past worrying about that at this stage in the game. On the flip side, you've got arguably five of the top eight basketball programs in the nation over the last decade in one conference and a few others that can hold their own quite well to boot.
(And hey, ACC lacrosse doesn't suffer at all!)
For Syracuse, so long as the ACC isn't shuffled off into the FCS, it's still pretty good. We keep many of our current rivals, get some Northeastern balance back, see a football league that looks manageable and put together arguably the best basketball conference in the country while we're at it.
OBVIOUSLY, this is conjecture and 87 steps down a road we haven't even walked down yet. But...whatcha think?