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Georgia Tech To The Big XII: Why?

If DeLoss Dodds were Saddam Hussein, then Chip Brown would be Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, aka Baghdad Bob. With that caveat out of the way, Brown is reporting that Georgia Tech has put out feelers to the Big XII. To me, this calls into question how Georgia Tech sees itself in terms of its sports programs. If Florida State and Clemson were to move to the Big XII, then the ACC would return to its roots as a basketball conference. (A move by Virginia Tech to the SEC would complete the dynamic.) As Bobby Big Wheel pointed out this week, being a basketball conference isn't what it used to be, but at least the ACC would be firmly within its niche and could brand itself accordingly, as opposed to being a two-headed monster where the football schools are pulling in one direction and the basketball schools are pulling in another.

So where is Georgia Tech?

I'm probably the wrong person to be speaking for the Jackets because I did not go to school there and do not root for them, but Tech just seems to fit better in the ACC. For one thing, it fits the academic profile. It is a small, academically competitive school with greater-than-average standards for incoming players. It makes more sense to compete against Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, and North Carolina than it does to compete against bigger state schools like Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida State, with the latter two also having fewer recruiting restrictions.

For another, Georgia Tech is more likely to be a national power in basketball than football. I know that the Jackets have a great football tradition, but how much of that tradition is really relevant? How much comes from a time where Army and Minnesota were also national powers? Tech's size, its far-flung alumni base, and its academic restrictions all conspire against it in football. In basketball, these are issues that can be overcome because the need far fewer players. There are plenty of examples of schools that have been national powers in basketball in recent years while being small, urban, and/or academically restrictive. Perhaps Duke rings a bell?

In sum, Georgia Tech's natural home is in the ACC. It left the SEC to get away from big football schools that had a different sense of priorities. It would make no sense to join the Big XII and get back into the environment that it left 48 years ago.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.