Monday, June 7, 2010

Watching expansion go by

The ACC finds itself in a far different position today than seven years ago when the league was at the forefront of the latest expansion wave.

This year, the Pac-10, Big 10 and Big 12 are in major play with a number of scenarios possible. The Pac-10 is poised to add between two and six teams, poaching from the Big 12. Nebraska and Missouri seem destined to join the Big 10, maybe by the end of the week.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe must feel like his league is so much sand running through his fingers. It's disintegrating before our eyes.

Meanwhile, John Swofford is forced to be a bit player in this latest high-stakes game. The ACC simply can't match the massive TV revenues of the current SEC or expanded Pac-10 and Big 10. While the Big Ten Network has a high ceiling for growth depending upon which markets it adds, the ACC's TV contract with ESPN/ABC doesn't allow it to immediately profit from new markets.

One possibility for the ACC would be to head north and pick up a couple of Big East leftovers if that league is raided by the Big 10. Given the revenue disparity, there's no chance any SEC teams would consider joining the ACC.


  1. The ACC's stab at expansion was disappointing. Boston College is in a great market, but people there aren't enamored with the ACC. Boston College has no ACC rivals and the whole addition feels contrived.

    Miami isn't much better. It helps Florida State, but the Noles will never be a contender in basketball and, again, the ACC acquired a market with only a marginal passion for college sports.

    The irony is Va. Tech was the best addition, and they are the school the ACC didn't want. I wish the ACC would get South Carolina back and let BC return to the Big East.

    A better school for the ACC, by the way, would have been UConn. People in Connecticut care about that school and that's what really matters, more so than TV markets.

  2. South Carolina fits geographically and would help, marginally, with football. But it doesn't measure up academically with the ACC. Plus there's all that lingering ugliness from its departure from the league 40 years ago over, wait for it...wait for it, academics.

  3. But isn't USC over that now? I'd hope the ACC is. Every time South Carolina plays UNC or N.C. State in football, the stadium is packed and you find yourself wishing it was an ACC game. What's the sense down in Columbia of whether the Gamecocks would ever leave the SEC? No chance?

  4. There's plenty of SEC pride on two fronts.

    First, a stubborn clinging to the belief that leaving the ACC was the right move. The reality is USC wandered through the wilderness for 20 years before landing the SEC. It has not been a major player in that league in football or basketball. Medicore at best. But hard-core Cocks take pride in being in the tough SEC for football while thumbing their noses at Clemson for being in the weaker ACC. Never mind the fact that USC will never finish in the top two or three of its DIVISION (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee) let alone the league as a whole.

    But the real issue is revenue. The SEC is a cash cow and USC athletics would take a financial hit by leaving that league. It will never happen now.