The ACC has altered course, adding Louisville and its solid sports programs to replace Maryland instead of continuing to try and secure the Northeast's big TV markets, according to Brett McMurphy. The choice came down to Louisville or UConn. That was a crucial choice, and this is a rare realignment win for sports and for sports fans.
This also likely puts a brief (maybe very brief!) halt to realignment happenings, with Dan Wetzel reporting the ACC won't jump to 16 yet. Thus, please scroll through the following spreadsheet for a refresher on who's going where once the dust settles (the dust will never settle). This will be updated and dropped into new posts whenever a FBS move is made:
That "win for sports" stuff isn't to slam UConn at all. It's just that the school with the better major sports programs has been rewarded instead of the school that's near New York City televisions, and that's something.
Louisville's teams make more profit for their school than UConn's do. Louisville's football fans are more widely passionate than UConn's are. These are the things that would matter in a better conference realignment world, and for once they've mattered. That they happen to align with what ACC football powers Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech likely want is a friendly coincidence for, well, everybody but UConn fans, whom we certainly feel bad for.
That the Big 12 has also been interested in Louisville helped, Pete Thamel reports, meaning this is two times the ACC has picked a school in part to keep the Big 12 away from its turf (along with Pitt).
UConn also has academics superior to Louisville's. That sounds like a very noble reason why UConn should be considered ahead of Louisville, I guess. But this is a sports league, and there's nothing stopping Georgia Tech and Duke from being academic friends with UConn if they want.
Louisville thus concludes a rise from Lee Corso's Missouri Valley Conference winners in the 1970s to Howard Schnellenberger's Fiesta-winning charge toward Conference USA in the 1990s and Big East Orange Bowl win in 2006. Oh, and Louisville also gets to play for a BCS bid Thursday night, and its No. 5 basketball team is set for many, many rematches with Duke. Pretty good week in Louisville.
Moves still to be made likely include the Big East continuing to globalize, as it was still planning more realignment even before losing two of its better current football programs.
The SEC could look to take Virginia Tech and company, or the Big 12 could try and grab Florida State and friends, but the ACC making a football-first move Wednesday appears to lessen the likelihood of football schools leaving.
One risk to be aware of: UNC and Duke were believed to be among the schools unhappy with bringing in Louisville. The Big Ten is rumored to want more, and both of those excellent universities with large fan bases are now not so far from the Big Ten's turf. Just saying.
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