We learned a few weeks back that Syracuse Orange AD DOCTOR Daryl Gross was leading the charge (by himself?) to change the divisional setup and scheduling for ACC football. The big issue for DOC…the way that the current setup limits certain team's opportunities to play in major media markets (i.e. Syracuse will not return to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech until 2026). That means less access to big media awareness and less access to their delicious, delicious recruits.
Fair enough, right? Considering Atlanta, Miami and wherever the hell Virginia Tech is are all in the other division, we won't be spending a whole lot of time in any of them. So what's the point of a conference? Considering, as Scott Shafer has said, the ACC will soon be among the preeminent power conferences in America, surely we need to get a full share of all that goodness.
Well…there's a flip side to that, which is that you're talking about taking away regional rivalries to make room for balance.
It's the age-old college athletics conundrum. Tradition vs. More Money. Sometimes, it's better to forsake the tradition (see: Syracuse's move to the ACC). Sometimes, it's better to forsake the money (see: Well…uh…rivalries? Maybe?).
Gross hopped on ESPN Radio Tuesday to talk about, amongst other things, his wild ACC scheduling theories. Chris Carlson grabbed some quotes.
Gross: Wants more balanced sked. Uses not playing Ga Tech for 12 years as an issue. Says wants to tell recruits about chance play Miami.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) January 7, 2014
Gross: Says he doesn't want to get rid of all rivalry games. Said Syracuse had no logical one, questions Pitt as annual game.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) January 7, 2014
Gross: Says Boston College is more natural rival but wouldn't want that at expense of game against Miami.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) January 7, 2014
And, basically, that's it in a nutshell. Gross thinks big picture. He thinks media. He thinks branding. He thinks money.
And I'm not necessarily disagreeing with him.
But what he wants is in direct conflict with tradition and rivalry. And you're either cool with that or you're not.
The Boston College rivalry got a perfect re-boot this season and next year's game promises to have a whole lot of emotional interest behind it. But if DOC Gross' grand plan goes into effect, we might not see BC every season. We might even only play then once every three years.
Would you be okay with that?
What's funny is that for all the guff I give DOC, I'm more on his side than not when it comes to positioning Syracuse Athletics. He's forward-thinking and doesn't get bogged down in letting old timey traditions hold back progress. He's the kind of person who doesn't really care if the Rose Bowl is a Big Ten team versus a Pac-12 team. And I'm 100% on board with that. Because, really, it doesn't matter these days.
But…you know…I'm a college football fan. And as such, traditions and rivalries are inherent. I like my No. 44s. I like my band halftime shows. And I like my on-field rivalries (When I can find them…this IS Syracuse after all). So I feel a certain apprehension to putting the BC rivalry on the back-burner for the chance to play Georgia Tech on the road more often.
I'm not sure how far DOC is going to get with his coup. You're talking about asking schools like FSU and Miami to stop playing each other as often, and that doesn't sound like good business for them. Or the ACC. And truth be told, if DOC is going to fight for anything, I'd much rather see him fight to get the ACC Basketball Tournament in New York (though he probably doesn't have to fight too hard on that one).
I guess I don't have a final conclusion here. I'd like to see Boston College on the schedule every season. But I'd also like to see Syracuse play everyone in the conference more often, like you're supposed to in a conference. In this brave, new world of college football, it all seems to come down to tradition vs. money, and which one you lean more toward. So how do you lean?