After a late night of game 6 and my normal 4am wake up for work (and don't forget my 3 month old late night feedings), I might be a little "lack of sleep induced" crazy, but hear me out. What if the ACC was the first conference to go to 16 teams? Now I know what you are all thinking. The ACC leaders are too old to think forwardly and care too much about basketball to make a football powerhouse. What if that didn't matter? I think they can have their cake and eat it too; just follow what I am thinking.
SEC and Big Ten expansion was thought to raid the Big East and the ACC leaving whatever leftovers to have to merge into one conference in order to survive. If the ACC just moved on 4 schools from the Big East now, and created a mega conference that would be the premier basketball league, along with a great football conference, it could not only survive any future expansion talk but dominate in those respective sports. Why would the ACC do this and split the money between more schools? Mainly because it would make us fans happy, but also because it could rule all of college basketball and contend in football. Imagine if ACC could acquire UCONN, Pitt, WVU, and USF and go to 16 teams. Here is my breakdown of what the divisions would look like first:
1 2 3 4
Miami Clemson VT WVU
FSU Duke UVA BC
GT NC State Maryland Pitt
USF UNC Wake UCONN
Each of these divisions would try to keep rivalries together as much as possible, as well as considering locations to cut down on travel time. With 16 teams and four divisions the ACC could have its own playoff system to create an ACC champion. Divisions 1/2 play each other and so do 3/4 with each division having their own champions. So say Miami goes 7-0, Clemson goes 5-2, VT 6-1, and WVU 4-3. Then the winner of division one plays the winner of 3 or 4(change it every year to keep it fresh) and the winner of 2 plays the other. In this case Miami plays VT and Clemson plays WVU. Well we all know VT would kill Miami and WVU beats Clemson by a field goal. Well the winners of these two games then play for the ACC championship. Guess what, we have our rivalry game back with renewed purpose. This still falls under 8 in conference games every year (in addition to the championship game) and puts forth the best team the ACC has in any given year. Each team that doesn't make the playoff system can be broken up into playing between each other based on placement or they could just have backup teams from the opposing divisions if they don't make the playoff bid. If you are counting, that leaves room for 4 non conference games for each school.
What would this do for rivalries? It would bring new meaning to them. Not only do you bring back classic rivalries like WVU-VT, but you can also create great new ones. The "Battle for south Florida", with USF and Miami. Or the "We used to worship Bobby Bowden" rivalry with WVU and FSU. This even gives lonely BC a rivalry game with UCONN for being the most unimportant football school in the ACC (well other than Wake Forest).
Basketball is what would sell this to the old men though. There would be no argument with the addition of WVU, UCONN, and Pitt that we are the best basketball conference out there. 10 teams could easily go to the big dance from the ACC and would probably bring home the final just about every year. Imagine being in Chapel Hill when UCONN comes to town every year, pure insanity.
How about TV money? Would it hurt us to split the money four more ways? Probably for a little while, but not for very long since we gave the fans what they want; a playoff system that will define an undisputed ACC champion. The changes will set the standard when the next TV contract is awarded, because basketball is no longer a side note.
Other important facts that I will bullet because I am already rambling on:
*We will lock down more of the recruiting market in Florida and the tri-state area along with bringing in West Virginia and Penn.
*The 16 team model is coming. It is not “If”, but “When”. The ACC will be the trend setter and instead of cleaning up with teams no one wants we will get the ones that help us. We won’t have to replace anyone since fear of being poached of good schools will most likely be out the window
* A stronger strength of schedule for in conference games, which will lead to two BCS bids, national championship invites, and better Heisman voting.
*The ACC becomes the preeminent conference in all three major college sports. If you want to include Women’s Basketball, the ACC also becomes the best conference for that as well. All other conferences will use the ACC as their guideline to become a major conference.
*Playing in more regional division’s cuts down travel costs for all sports thereby increasing student’s time in classrooms and less on the road.
I apologize for the original post it looked right before I posted it in preview then it just got all ugly on me. Please let me know your opinion on my rambling.