Will it be UConn or Louisville for the ACC, now that the Big Ten has swiped Maryland? UConn's reportedly in line, but is that the right call?
In response to Maryland's exit for the Big Ten, the ACC is likely about to do what the ACC does: pluck a school from the Big East. It's the default ACC response to pretty much every source of external stress. When John Swofford has stomach disquiet, he takes a school from the Big East. They do not dissolve quickly.
Its choices, if it wants to remain somewhat geographically congruent, are UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati, and then all the new guys and non-football members. UConn and Louisville are the clear front-runners.
I think the ACC would be foolish to pick the Huskies, as it reportedly will.
The conference's northern expansion has impressed nobody, and the Big Ten's now also cut off its uppermost reaches from its geographic heart. Abandon the frontier and refortify. Give Notre Dame a nearby potential rival, since you're courting them anyway -- Kentucky borders both Virginia and Indiana.
Louisville is the far superior football program with better recruiting grounds, and for the immediate future UConn's basketball peer as well. Adding the Cards would mean the ACC has an unquestionably better football program in at least one SEC state, something it can very rarely claim. And Louisville as an athletic department is far more profitable than UConn is.
The ACC needs urgent football help more than it needs anything else -- the Cardinals would be the only ACC team besides Florida State and Clemson in the BCS rankings right now. The only way the ACC can show FSU and Clemson, which could also leave, that it's committed to football is to bring on a school that's proved it can supplement their bowl winnings -- that school is not UConn. Louisville has a legitimate BCS bowl win in the past decade, and could add another this year -- UConn's best team ever also might have been the worst BCS bowl team ever.
UConn has better academics and is closer to a metropolis. Banking on these things will not keep Florida State and Clemson around.
I really don't see how there's any debate here, unless if viewed through the ACC's basketball-colored (you know, that color basketballs have) glasses and swayed by Swofford's quest to plant the flag of Clemson and FSU football in New York City.
Here's where the news on the matter stands right now:
As of Sun. night, UConn hadn't heard from the ACC. Doesn't mean it won't. Question: If you're ACC would you stay put, UConn or Louisville?— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) November 19, 2012
DG: ACC now will accelerate debate over UConn/Louisville (among others) & revisit idea of considering basketball schools (e.g. G'town) too.— David Glenn Show(@DavidGlennShow) November 19, 2012
Strong on conference realignment: We have enough of a successful athletic program that some point somebody is gonna turn around & look @ us— Chris Hatfield (@_ChrisHatfield) November 19, 2012
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