Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Should The ACC Do If Maryland Leaves For The Big 10?

Maryland and their crazy uniforms may be on their way to the B1G

When conference pangea began with addition of Nebraska to the B1G, I started wondering how the ACC might counteract the move. The two teams the ACC added were #3 and #4 on my list.

Multiple sources are reporting the University of Maryland is in serious discussions with the B1G about becoming the 13th member of the conference. If the Terps join, Rutgers would become number 14.

The price for the Terps to leave would be hefty as $50 Million based on the recent exit fee change after Notre Dame joined the league in all sports except football a few months. Maryland, along with FSU, voted against the increase from $25 Million.

Adding fuel to the fire is Under Armour CEO and Maryland alum Kevin Plank selling $64.5M worth of stock this week.  Would he use his wealth to pay the buyout?

The B1G has its reasons for wanting Maryland, mainly the DC television market, more recruiting territory, and a AAU member school. The same apply for Rutgers.

The Terrapins wanting to leave is a little more curious considering the school has had to drop sports in recent years due to budget constraints.

Would the B1G members be willing to pay part of the buyout when it is not certain the two additions would actually increase each team's payout?

But if the original ACC member does leave what should the ACC do?

1) Convince Notre Dame to join as a full member

This is by far the best option, if the ACC can pull it off.

The Irish have their big toe in the league already competing in every sport except football at the very latest in 2014-2015 if not sooner.

Getting the Irish to agree to full membership was probably easier when they were struggling on the football field and in the TV ratings. A season like this one will add fuel to the idea ND can still make it is as an Independent.

The ACC could use an unequal revenue sharing platform like the Big 12 did with Texas, but I don't think John Swofford is that desperate nor stupid. Agreements like this are a recipe for disaster.

The announcement of the ACC going back to an 8 game conference schedule definitely helps since Notre Dame will want to continue playing Navy, USC, and Stanford every season.

Convincing the Irish to play just three more ACC games would Swofford's biggest coup yet.

2) Cincinnati

UPDATED 11/27: Source Cincinnati making push to join ACC

The Bearcats have a solid basketball program and have one of the best futures in football of the remaining Big Eat due to recruiting in the state of Ohio.

Of the next three likely schools in the Big East, the Bearcats rank the highest in the US News and World Report. Louisville and South Florida rank 160th and 163rd respectively taking them out of consideration.

But at only at 139th that would put U of C 33 spots behind the lowest ranked school. Also, Cincy would be in a non-contiguous state a first for the league.

3) Navy

The Midshipmen recently accepted a bid to join the Big East, but they are certainly aren't beholden to it.

Navy has been a respectable football program the last 10 years beating Wake Forest and Duke. All time the Middies are a 36-39-4 against ACC teams.

The Annapolis school would add nothing in basketball though and likely finish at the bottom of the league every year.

Maybe the ACC gets creative making a football only deal with the Midshipmen?

4) Vanderbilt

The Commodores would not leave the SEC for money where they can make a lot. They would only leave for a chance to compete for a BCS bowl bid.  The Commodores have won 55 percent of their games vs ACC compared to just 25% in the SEC.

Academically, Vandy is a great fit for the ACC where they would rank second behind only Duke at 17th nationally.   The ACC has seven other schools in the top 50 whereas Vanderbilt is the only SEC school with that honor. 

James Franklin can talk all he wants about competing in the best conference in the country but an 8-4 season like this one is about as best he can ever hope for. Barring disasters for Florida and UGA, Vanderbilt will never play in an SEC Championship Game and a BCS bowl. 

They could have that chance in the ACC.

5) Penn State

Hear me out on this one.

Before the Nittany Lions joined the Big 10 they were Independent and when it looked like they were going to join a conference Joe Paterno wanted to create an East Coast league with the ACC and others.

The money in the B1G is greater, but geographically and rivalry wise Penn State aligns more with the ACC.  Plus they would get into much more fertile and more importantly growing recruiting grounds.  Pennsylvania used to put out a ton of BCS prospects but population shift has caused Penn State to look elsewhere.

It would be the classic buy low, sell high scenario for the ACC with Penn State in serious trouble for the next 5-7 years but one I think could benefit the league more than a UConn addition.  

6) UConn

The ACC is not going to grab a program that will suddenly change its football fortunes. The league needs to focus on a school that can compete academically and athletically. The Big East has been the poaching ground as of late and UConn would seem like the next school in line if Rutgers does in fact go to the B1G.

The Huskies rank 63rd nationally which would put them 10th of 14 full members in a future ACC without Maryland.

UConn allows for a contiguous state to be added and a top notch basketball program, but the Huskies have been very, very mediocre in football and would probably hurt the leagues reputation.

An addition of UConn to the ACC would be very meh, but may be out of necessity.

Honestly, if Maryland leaves this is where I see the ACC ultimately settling for a 14th football team.  Sigh. 

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