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Syracuse Moving to the ACC Q&A: Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 22: Fans of the Miami Hurricanes tailgate before the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sun Life Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 22: Fans of the Miami Hurricanes tailgate before the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sun Life Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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We got our chance to talk about our future ACC rivals in the "Meet Your New Neighbors" series. Now those same folks that we lightly poked fun at get to offer up their own opinions of us! Each week, I'll be posting Q&A responses from one of the 12 current ACC schools, and I'll also be submitting to some questioning on their respective sites, too. It should be fun, and if we're lucky, people might get as angry as they did in the Virginia Tech profile comment thread.

This week, we're getting a double-dose of Miami-related responses, courtesy of the Seventh Floor's Lt. Philip Nolan and Avenditelli. When they're not busy paying their school's football players in hookers and illegal gifts (no, neither is actually Nevin Shapiro, to my knowledge), both are mostly hospitable ambassadors to the ACC. Except for the knock on Jim Boeheim at the end here. As Avenditelli encourages himself, feel free to fire away.

Also, see our conversation with Testudo Times last week.

Was Syracuse your first choice for ACC expansion?

Lt. Philip Nolan: Honestly, I don't much care for expansion overall. I think that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. However,
if you are going to add teams, you might as well do it right, and I think the ACC did that by adding 'Cuse and Pitt.
Not only do they bring their football to the table, and provide more competition that way, the additions to ACC
basketball are HUGE. Bringing in another legendary coach to the ACC to compete with Ole Roy and K cannot be

Avenditelli: Definitely. Great private school, perfect for basketball, addition of NYC market. Good combination of football tradition + name brand + inability to get it together = great "quality" wins, even when they are 3-7 in November. Hopefully we'll get plenty of 57-0 highlights every year.

Do you believe the Miami administration when they say there's no interest in the Big 12?

LPN: The rule of thumb in college athletics seems to be "never believe a word anyone says, ever." Recruits say one thing and then do another, coaches are never interested in another job until they are, and this expansion mess seems to be just one big game of spin the bottle. While it does feel like the Miami administration is being sincere, they should be fired if the Big 12 offers and they do not at least fully consider it. That type of move would be huge for any big name football program, and while the on-field product is down, the Miami brand is still valuable.

AV: If they're smart, they'd believe themselves. There is zero benefit to leaving for the Big 12 just to be the Longhorns' leavings. An ACC losing FSU and Clemson or Virginia Tech, but adding Syracuse and Pitt is still better than what FSU ran roughshod over for a decade. Last I checked they played in plenty of title games. In a few years all these presidents will realize their current gold rush ways were in error. We're already seeing it with bowl game attendance, ratings, etc.

Are there any regrets on leaving the Big East for the ACC? Since Miami's departure in 2004, the team just hasn't performed at the same level.

LPN: I would have to say no to this one. While it's true that both FSU and Miami have failed to live up to the heavy
expectations that they were brought in with, in Miami's case it has been more about circumstances outside of
conference affiliation. The coaching decisions were horrid, which in turn caused recruiting to suffer, which of course
led to the football being non-competitive. None of that is due to being in the ACC as compared to the Big East.

AV: Obviously in hindsight, I'd agree. There definitely would have been some residual victory momentum in Miami's favor if say only VT and FSU left. In actuality, with Coker and then Shannon at the helm, West Virginia and most likely Louisville both overtake Miami. We all forget WVU tied UM for the title in 2003. Canes fans will deny it, but I'd venture even Cincinnati with Brian Kelly sneaks in a better conference finish some years.

Can Miami basketball ever realistically contend for an ACC title?

LPN: Absolutely. I won't cover anything up here, but I am a DIE HARD Duke basketball fan, and Miami has been a thorn in our side for the last few years. I am not happy whenever they show up on the schedule. Coach Jim Larranaga will do great things for that program, although it may take a bit to get recruiting to where it needs to be. They have a great core right now with (Reggie) Johnson, (Kenny) Kadji, and (Shane) Larkin, and will only get better as time goes on. Obviously, the path to the ACC title game now not only has to go through Duke and UNC, but also 'Cuse, Pitt and a surprisingly upstart FSU team.

AV: Absolutely. There's no reason they shouldn't finish in the regular season top-six, with NCAA tourney appearances every two out of three years. Adding SU and Pitt will default Miami down two notches, but Bunny Colvin showed it's possible this year at FSU. Larranaga is a very good coach. Frank Haith is not a good coach, had zero experience, and was a terrible hire. Once Mizzou's current holdovers leave they will be in the same boat Miami was in for 7 years.

Any tips for getting by in the ACC (dos, don'ts for fans)?

LPN: There really aren't any don'ts for fans, because the only way that ACC fandom can go is up. The one major, MAJOR "do" is to SHOW UP FOR GAMES. Miami has been pretty bad about this the last few years (not having your own stadium sure as hell doesn't help), but other schools are just as guilty. I mean, BC had what, like 500 people show up for their spring game? That's awful. Sure it's not real football, and BC is down a bit, but it is still your school, your team. I have always been a huge proponent of the adage "It is not your team unless you suffer with them."

AV: Take comfort in the fact you're the only other school that allows drinking at their football games.

Thoughts on Syracuse overall? (both as an institution and an athletic program)?

LPN: I'm stoked to have them in the conference. Academically they are a great school (cough...Fab Melo....cough...take notes...cough), the basketball team is just, well, Syracuse, and the football is getting better. Being in the ACC will be a great thing for 'Cuse and their fans, and it should be a fun ride.

AV: Great school, great basketball, great historical football tradition, not-so-good program. There wasn't another choice I wanted to join the conference, and I hope they keep UConn out. And I'll undoubtedly be killed for this, but Boeheim is (mildly) overrated. He's a great coach, Hall of Famer obviously, but only three Final Fours in 30 years? The tourney is what you're judged on, and his teams consistently are beaten by lesser ones. Let the flogging begin.

Thanks again to both Lt. Philip Nolan and Avenditelli for taking the time out to answer these questions!

John Cassillo authors Atlantic Coast Convos, which chronicles ACC (Plus Syracuse & Pittsburgh) football. Check out the blog, and follow him on Twitter: @JohnCassillo