Thursday, June 19, 2003

Supersize the ACC!

Hey, here's a crazy idea for ACC expansion. How about no expansion at all?

Instead, how about a merger? Or, more precisely, a mega-merger?

I'm talking about a merger of the ACC and the Big East into a 16-team mega-conference. It's a pretty bold idea, but it could work, and here's how it would look:

ACC North: Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers.

ACC South: Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest.

Now that the NCAA has cleared the way for colleges to play 12 regular-season games, the football schedule would shake out like this:

Each league member would play the other seven teams in its division every year, and either two, three or four teams from the other division each year. (One of those non-division games could be a permanent opponent.) The division winners would meet in a championship game at, say, FedEx Field near Washington, D.C. (roughly a geographical midpoint for the league).

This plan, while ambitious, makes sense geographically and preserves virtually all of the rivalries that are already in place. (Clemson's main ACC rivals would all be in the same division, and the North Carolina teams would stay together, too, which should make them happy.)

It goes without saying that this would be a hell of a basketball league, too.

Mega-conferences are clearly the wave of the future, especially if we want to set up a college football playoff system. Why not do it right and make the ACC a mega mega-conference?

UPDATE: This guy says no league has successfully expanded beyond 12 teams, and cites the WAC (!!) as an example. I'm sorry, but we're not talking about a bunch of podunk schools in the high plains that are 1,000 miles apart. We're talking about major universities in the most densely populated area of the country. A 16-team ACC could work.

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