The ACC is about to shake up the entire structure of Division 1 collegiate athletics forever with the completion of one simple phrase; super-conference. Division 1 college athletics are evolving right in front of our eyes. These aren’t the conferences that our fathers and grandfathers grew up watching and have come to grow and love. No longer are there the days of simplicity and familiarity in the framework of our BCS conferences. Traditional rivalries are beginning to slowly die out like the dinosaurs during the Ice Age or the use and relevance of MySpace. Confusion is the only way to describe the conference alignments being created. The Big 12 now has 10 teams and the Big 10 now has 12 teams and both are looking to expand. The Pac 12 (formerly Pac 10) has added Colorado and Utah to their conference. The dominant SEC has already stolen Texas A&M from the Big 12, while Texas and Oklahoma are looking to make a move out of the conference as well. The Big East conference is disintegrating faster than a Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream cone dropped in a hot tub. The big question is whether Notre Dame will remain independent in football or if they will join another conference. Clearly Notre Dame is the holy grail that every conference seeks to secure; and Texas falls shortly behind. Their distinct appealing qualities stemming from Notre Dame’s TV. contract with NBC and Texas’ new Longhorn Network. To obscurely quote the O’Jays 1974 hit, “For the Love of Money”, it’s all “for that lean, mean, mean green, almighty dollar, money.”
Some say money is the root of all evil; well then John Swofford might as well be the devil himself. This obviously isn’t a knock on Swofford’s character; he just saw an opportunity to claim power and seized it. Not saying that the decision to build this super-conference in the ACC was wrong, but the road behind the idea is paved with dollar signs and dead presidents’ faces. The choice to create this Frankenstein of a conference is considered to be strictly a business decision; and by business they mean monetary. Well then for the ACC at least, business seems to be going pretty good. The ACC’s decision to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh was the first move in a strategic game of chess involving every major division one program in the country. The University of Pittsburgh was the one of the founding fathers of the formation of the Big East. However, it is evident that loyalty can be bought and I guess the Big East is finding that out the hard way. This isn’t the first time the ACC has wooed teams from the Big East to leave and come join their conference. Do the Hurricanes and Hokies ring a bell? So far that move has worked out quite well for the ACC as Virginia Tech has appeared in four of the six ACC championships, winning three of them. The question is whether the creation of this super-conference is a good or bad thing for Wake Forest athletics
I think overall this move by the ACC will benefit Wake Forest and other current ACC teams. The total revenue compiled by the conferences’ athletics will definitely see an increase in its stock. For so long the ACC has been known as “basketball country” and football seemed to be an afterthought. The addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, two arguably decent football programs, will bring more stability and competitiveness to the conference. It also expands the territory of the ACC even further to the north and by doing so broadening the radius of ACC fans and followers. The ACC is still looking to add two more teams to make it a 16 team league. Possible rumored candidates at this point to fill those last two spots are Texas, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and UConn. If the ACC is able to add those last two teams then they will most likely divide the conference up into four different divisions. The potential being that we could see an all North Carolina school division with Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, and Wake. I think this would be incredible not only for the conference itself, but also for the state of North Carolina. It would renew the relevance and prominence of these in state rivalries.
In the current format of the ACC divisions, not all of these teams play one another each year; which is a travesty in my opinion. Wake would definitely benefit from having these in state schools as divisional opponents. First of all it makes more geographical sense for Wake to be in a division with North Carolina; not Boston College. Secondly, the fan base of Wake would have much more accommodating and convenient road travels on their schedule. Not many students at Wake are going to have the economic resources to buy a plane ticket to Massachusetts and back to go watch Boston College on the road this weekend. Let’s be honest, the life of a college student is usually defined by creative budgeting and the constant use of the dollar menu. However in the 16 team scenario, I’m sure Wake fans and students will have a much easier time making the hour and a half drive down to Chapel Hill for a 3:30 kickoff.
The biggest impact that the super-conference alignment will have on the ACC would have to be in basketball. ACC is already considered by some to be a top two or three conference when it comes to basketball; others consider the Big East to be the first. The ACC is adding two consistently top ten basketball programs in the country; not to mention two of the best coaches in the country in Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim and Jamie Dixon. Therefore with the simple mathematic concept of addition and subtraction, it seems as though the basketball conference crown has found itself a new head to rest on. Say if the ACC were to add UConn and Rutgers, the conference would have and unprecedented four Hall of Fame coaches in it with Mike Kryzewski, Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, and Boeheim. Not only that, but the ACC would have the last three National Champions within their conference as well. I know somewhere in heaven John Wooden is crossing his fingers hoping that these phenomenal in-conference coaching matchups become a reality.
This does place Wake at somewhat of a disadvantage because our basketball program right now is going through what you could call, well, to put it nicely, trying times. Initially we might have trouble competing in the basketball aspect of the conference, but the addition of these teams will add allurement to the idea of playing in the best basketball conference in the country. Thus allowing our recruiting staff to proceed to convey this compelling and convincing sales' pitch to young athletes. The majority of great basketball recruits have one ideal in common; and that is playing and performing on a big stage whether it be televised or at a rowdy venue. Well when you’re constantly competing against top 10 schools in your conference on a nightly basis, the curtains to the stage are always open. Our football program will see the benefits of this conference overhaul and so will our basketball program in time. The ACC, Big East, SEC, Pac 12, Big 10, and Big 12 are all currently playing a two-faced game of musical chairs; when the music stops, you better have your seat. Luckily for Wake Forest, our seat is reserved.
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