The ACC has been quiet throughout this round of conference realignment, with most assuming Tobacco Road would either pick off a few Big East schools, lose the Virginia Tech Hokies or Florida St. Seminoles to the SEC or some combination of both. The ACC clearly sits in the middle of the east coast conference food chain.
According to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, John Swofford is fixin' to take a couple of big bites. "Bites" because I said "food chain," you see. (Update: The interest is reportedly mutual.)
Earlier this week, Boston College blog BC Interruption called the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers to the ACC, so let's check in with the wise BCI prophets on how this could rearrange the ACC's currently useless division structure. Here are two scenarios for the potential 14-team ACC:
ACC North: Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Virginia, N.C. State
ACC South: Florida State, Miami (Florida), Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest
Or the conference could swap Miami for Wake Forest, making an ACC North Division comprised of five former Big East programs along with Maryland and Virginia and the South Division comprised of the five Carolina schools, Georgia Tech and Florida State.
ACC Old Big East: Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Miami (Florida)
ACC Old ACC: Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest
That's assuming the ACC isn't also able to pick up the Texas Longhorns, as has been rumored by rumors, and one of Texas' satellites (the Kansas Jayhawks would be the best fit).
For a football-first school like Georgia Tech, adding Pitt and Cuse wouldn't be all that thrilling from a competitive perspective. The conference itself would shore up its northern segment, which is a really great thing to do when everybody up north keeps moving south. But neither the Urnj or the Panthers have had much sustained football success at all -- the last major bowl victory between the two came in 1992, when Syracuse won the Fiesta.
Theoretically, adding these also adds two big media markets, but how much sway do these programs really have over Pittsburgh and New York City? Unless you can add Penn State those aren't good college sports towns, and Wake Forest coming through isn't going to change that.
One thought: the more the ACC's borders expand beyond North Carolina, the better. The Duke-UNC basketball game will always be the conference's biggest annual to-do, which is sad and hilarious, but adding more football-friendly schools outside of Carolina may help ensure football continues to become
a bigger the biggest priority.
Picking up two established programs would be good for Tech in a roundabout way, as it would stabilize the ACC against potential losses. If the SEC takes Virginia Tech and the Big Ten takes Maryland, the ACC would still sit at a tidy 12 football teams. Not the ideal 12 schools, but 12 schools. Maryland blog Testudo Times thinks the move could actually help keep FSU and the Hokies.
Someone should mention what this means for basketball. It's probably really great for basketball. And baseball. Syracuse is probably really bad at baseball. Oh, and this opens up those talent-packed northern recruiting grounds for Georgia Tech.
The bottom line: as long as the ACC can remain at 12 football teams without having to pick up anybody embarrassing, Georgia Tech will have survived realignment.