Saturday, May 14, 2011

Would The ACC Re-Align Divisions To Renew Rivalries, Save On Travel Costs?

A few years ago rumblings began about the ACC possibly looking into switching one team each from the Atlantic to the Coastal and vice versa.

The ACC never gave any indication they were seriously considering the move though on the surface it appeared to have merits related to competition, rivalries, and travel costs.

Last week, BC Blogger BC Interruption reintroduced the subject when discussing the changing of the BC-Miami game date bemoaning the fact the Eagles and Hurricanes do not play every year in the ACC as they did in the Big East.

The blog suggested switching the divisions of Boston College (Atlantic) and Georgia Tech (Coastal).

The ACC's two divisions would then look like this:

Atlantic: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, N.C. State, Wake Forest
Coastal: Boston College, Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech

At first glance, this seems to be a pretty even trade. Both programs have made two ACC Championship Game appearances. Georgia Tech is 32-16 in six seasons while BC is just two games back at 30-18. This would also decrease travel costs for Atlantic Division teams, with a division that now would only span from Maryland to the Florida panhandle instead of Chestnut Hill to Tallahassee as it does today.

An unintended benefit would be evening up the ACC baseball divisions. Over the last few years, the baseball divisions have become pretty skewed towards the Coastal Division, with Miami, Georgia Tech, Virginia and North Carolina ranking among the best programs in the conference.

The 5-2-1 schedule format would likely remain to ensure a Florida State-Miami regular season matchup. With a BC-GT swap, you'd be moving both the Georgia Tech-Clemson and BC-Virginia Tech rivalries within the division. To replace these cross-divisional rivalries, you could easily establish ones between BC-Clemson and Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech.

For the ACC's cash cow of football the made made even more sense prior to this year when it looked like the Coastal was going to dominate the conference again. But disappointing seasons by UNC, Georgia Tech and Miami with a resurgent FSU in the Atlantic have evened the score. The Atlantic was actually 10-8 versus the Coastal last season.

Boston College gets Miami back on the yearly schedule and Georgia Tech has the opportunity to balance their home football schedule which currently features Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia in odd years with only Miami in even years. The Yellow Jackets could possibly add FSU and another Atlantic foe in the even years to balance out.

For baseball, BC Interruption certainly has a good point as Georgia Tech Blog From The Rumble Seat further illustrates...

Tech moving to the Atlantic would even out the conference and not allow for a random .500 Maryland team to make the tournament...oh and we'd have Florida State as a consistent fixture on the baseball schedule as well.

And with $5/gallon gas coming sooner rather than later (and likely sticking around) why not throw in travel costs to the reasons why this move makes sense.

The only "loser" could be Miami, but what they would lose in travel costs (Atlanta vs Boston) they could regain in Northeast footprint where much of their alumni originates/lives.

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