Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How The ACC Makes Expansion With Pitt, Syracuse Work

With the Pac-12 deciding to stay put at 12 schools, it appears the super conference idea is dead for the time being.

The ACC has already expanded to 14 wanting to protect itselft from any defections anticipating a move to super conferences. I don't know if the league can de invite Pitt and Syracuse (doubt they could and not sure they would want to anyways) so we have to assume in 27 months the two schools will be joining the ACC.

As the only BCS conference at 14 teams, this is how the ACC can make it work and strengthen the conference.

1. Go To a 9 Game Conference Schedule
I don't think the ACC deserves all the bad press it gets about its teams being terrible and not able to compete with the "big boys" of college football. The league suffers from being the neighbor of the SEC (which noone can compete with) and also the league has a much greater porportion of small, private schools than other BCS leagues. Miami, Wake Forest, Duke, and Boston College are all private. Georgia Tech is a public school, but is highly specialized in Engineering and Technology degrees. When you have smaller, highly academic schools your proportion of rabid football fans drops dramatically.

So what does this have to do with playing one more conference game? The overwhelming majority of ACC teams need help filling their stadiums, especially when playing non-conference, non-rivalry games. Only FSU, Clemson, and Virginia Tech can fill their stadiums with regularity and even the Seminoles and Tigers have had trouble in recent years. The ACC could go out and schedule more big time, non conference opponents to generate fan interest but that would likely lead to even more non-conference losses and lower the league's standing amongst the national scene even more.

Let a 9th conference game be that "big time" opponent. An extra conference game would also help...

2. Generate More Rivalries
Going to a 9 game league schedule would certainly help this. As it stands, teams go up to four years without playing each other. With the move to 14, it will be five years. Some teams in different leagues play more often than that. You cannot feel any sense of a rivalry when you play a school twice a decade The ACC doesn't need the Clemson vs Wofford games played gaining on Clemson vs Virginia games played all time.

3. Keep The Championship Game in Charlotte
You would think the league would have already figured this out when they saw the attendance last year and buzz in the city, but this is the league that put their first championship game in a city with zero ties to the conference.

Charlotte was originally left out due to climate, but this is football and the chance of snow or ice in early December is pretty small. The city is so much closer to the majority of ACC teams and the city wants the game to work unlike Jacksonville or Tampa. If the league wants to have warmer temperatures for the game then they should move it to a Noon or 1PM start.

4. Play More Conference Games in Basketball and Start Them in December
Basketball revenue pales in comparison to football at most every school expect UNC, Duke, and Syracuse but that two additions to the league clearly help basketball more than football.

To maximize this addition the league needs to have all of these great basketball schools play each other instead of scheduling creampuffs in December to pad their win totals.

Basketball is the one sport where playing tough competition is rewarded, In football you just get sent down the polls when you lose regardless.

Attendance is dropping in college basketball at the non-elite schools because the masses cannot figure who is on the team anymore with so many defections to the NBA. Throw in 10 cupcakes a year and why pay to see a product where you know the outcome and don't know the cast playing?

The college sports scene is dead after the first week in December. Why not take advantage of this down time by grabbing the spotlight with some marquee matchups in the league?

I layed out four proposals for the ACC to make the move to 14 work. What other proposals do you have?

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