Monday, June 23, 2003

A different take on expansion

A poster over at the Tigernet's message board has an interesting take on the potential for a 16-team ACC I described below. Where I offered a plan for two eight-team divisions, Gopaws4 suggests four four-team divisions:

North: Syracuse, BC, UConn, Pittsburgh (I would have chosen Rutgers over UConn, but no biggie)

Mid Atlantic: Maryland, West Virginia, Va Tech, Virginia

Tobacco Road: North Carolina, Duke, Wake, NC State

South: Clemson, Ga Tech, Miami, FSU

This plan makes a lot of sense regionally, but I don't know if the NCAA will allow a four-team tournament to determine the ACC football champion. I'm still keen on my two-division plan. It preserves the majority of the matchups that already exist and throws in some interesting games each year (i.e. Clemson vs. Syracuse). Of course, there are some dog games, too (Duke-Rutgers immediately jumps to mind).

If that doesn't make everyone happy, you could even diagram out an SEC-like scenario where each team in each division has a permanent opponent in the other division (for example, I'm sure Virginia would want to continue its 100-year-old series with North Carolina, and Maryland might like to play N.C. State every year). And a permanent Syracuse-Florida State game every year would be a hell of a draw -- as would a permanent Clemson-Virginia Tech series.

I don't buy the argument advanced by some sports pundits that a 16-team ACC would face the same fate as the WAC when it grew to 16 teams. The 16-team WAC was absolutely unmanageable. It was spread across 4,000 miles and five time zones, from Houston to Honolulu. A 16-team ACC is much more compact. With divisions that are geographically logical, most schools would continue squaring off against opponents they've been playing for years.

Not only that, but imagine the TV contract that could be fetched by a league that includes the markets of Miami, Atlanta, the Charlotte-Greensboro-Raleigh corridor, Washington-Baltimore, New York and Boston. In other words, virtually the entire East Coast.

To paraphrase Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein: IT....COULD....WORK!!!!!!!!

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