This is a blog about the recent conflicts between the ACC and the Big East in regards to the ACC expansion.
Monday, December 08, 2003
Big 12 Good?
So is a conference of twelve teams the way to go? Judging by the way the big 12 has done i'd say so. In football, there has been one national champion(soon to be two); along with two Heisman trophy winners. There have been a good number of final four basketball teams in the past few years. There have overall been teams worthy of recognition from the conference. So, should all conferences be twelve teams large? No, just because the system has worked well here, is not to say that every team out there should go out and join a conference with eleven other teams, but it is certainly feasible to say that the success that the Big 12 has had can be reproduced.
So, if you are a team who doesn't have a good football program, are you a worthwile part of the conference, considering that most of the revenue is gained through the gridiron? No. Just kidding. There are of course other things involved with a conference than football. There is basketball. There is baseball. There are other minor sports. While these other sports don't necessarily bring in the revenue that football does, they are still imprtant, and may possibly bring in more notoriety than does foootball. Football occurs one day of the week, while everything else occurs much more often and therefore gains more to talk about. Furthermore, football is the most expensive sport in terms of cost. Due to this, there are many schools who are able to build a strong basketball or baseball program with less. Now, the key to the conference system is specialization. There are schools who excell at different things. Academics, is one aspect, and then there are also numerous athletic prospects that can be followed in order for each school to do well individually, and ultimately, for the conference to do well as a whole.
I mentioned in my past blog that if you were to have a conference of twelve teams that could absolutely dominate every other team in the nation, that it would hurt the conference as a whole. You may laugh at me for this, but there is actually reason behind my madness. It is impossible for twelve teams to all go twelve and O for a football season. To be ranked you have to have wins, and when you play nine conference games, that just cant really happen against certifiably good teams. So, the answer is to have a few doormats of the conference, a few mediocre teams, a couple of 500 teams, some decently good teams, and then some absolute studs. What this does is maintain a strong conference by letting the teams who should win go ahead and amass those in-conference wins. This is ultimately the best thing for the conference.
We have easily demonstrated that teams with strong programs benefit from the exposure granted by a larger conference, but what about the little guys? Do these "unworthy" teams contribute to the conference overall, and does the conference setting add anything to the college as a whole? For the Big 12 conference, there are actually teams that are quite week. In fact, if these teams were stronger, then they would certainly weaken the conference as a whole(just take my word on that). So, why would Baylor agree to join a conference where they lose all but one random football game, along with many of the other sports games also? The simple answer, as with so many other things in life lies in the dollar. With every game against a high ranking team, there is the possibility of a televised game being played. Also, every bowl game that is played by a conference team brings in equal money to every school in the conference. So, the fact that Baylor doesn't have the strongest program in the world doesn't really hurt them. It would hurt them if it was any stronger.
After watching the conference championship games from this past weekend, I am beginning to wonder if they are any good. From a financial standpoint, each school from the conferences make a bit more money from having a conference championship game. But other than that, what does it prove? If there are more than 10 teams I guess it is feasible to hold this game. Last year, the Big 10 had 2 teams tied for 1st, Iowa and Ohio State. These teams, however, did not play each other during the regular season because there are 11 teams in the conference and only 8 conference games are allowed. No clear cut conference champion is known if two teams tie record-wise while not even playing head to head earlier in the season. However, the Big 12 proved how having a championship game can hurt. Oklahoma was undefeated and ranked number 1 going into the Big 12 championship game and were well on their way to playing in the BCS title game. They lost to Kansas State causing a huge controversy about who should have the right to play in the national title game. Had they not had to play this game then there would have been little controversy in this matter. Unless every conference plays a conference championship game, then unfair advantages will be held by some schools as opposed to others.
Well, with all this talk over the Big East / ACC conflict, I’ve been hypothesizing, guessing, and talking about what will probably happen. The thing is, nobody know for sure what will happen. I think we’ve gathered a pretty good idea of the scene: football, basketball, academics, and of course, money. Money being the end all factor, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the next couple of years. I’m sure other conferences will adapt, possibly shifting around more teams in order to compensate for imbalances elsewhere. The point is that we will all have to wait and see if the ACC becomes a super powerhouse conference, and whether the Big East will fade away. The ever-changing dynamics of college sports will surely keep us all on our toes.
This is my last post on this blog. So naturally I am going to talk about post-season implications of this major change in college football. One major change is going to come in the form of recruiting. With the addition of two very powerful football teams to the ACC, other schools in the ACC will gain a certain intangible advantage over non-conference teams. In the SEC, Vanderbilt (the worst team in the league) is still not a pushover team because they compete in the most difficult conference in the nation. Consistent recruiting is the key to successful programs, and the ability to go against great schools every year during the season helps greatly increase a school in the off season.
I guess I will attempt to wrapup this blog project, although I may keep writing in it just for fun. It appears that we all have come to the conclusion that ACC expansion is the way to go. It seems as if the Big East should just shut up and move on. Schools must do what is in the best interest of themselves, both athletically, financially, and academically. As I have read numerous articles about this issue, I have come to the conclusion that academics is not an issue. Yes, they say "we are improving the conference both athletically and academically," but I don't really see the purpose in expanding for academics. Conferences are not for academics. They are divisions for athletics. Each school controls their own academic destiny. The only thing I can think of is that they are thinking about the overall perception about the conference. But really, do they think adding the University of Miami was done to help academics? Heck naw....it's all about the dinero. So it seems that we have all agreed that expansion is great for athletics. We have given arguments for football and basketball as well as the smaller sports. We even have the points of view from an SEC follower as well as a Big 12 follower, both conferences who have 12 teams and have football championship games. So i believe that we have had a good mixture of arguments while working on this assignment. It's been fun.
Another issue involving the ACC expansion is in regards to bowl bids. As of now, the ACC has 6 guaranteed bowl slots for bowl eligible teams. There is the BCS spot, the Gator Bowl, Peach Bowl, Tangerine Bowl, Continental Tire Bowl and the dreaded Humanitarian Bowl (aka Smurf Bowl). With the addition of 3 teams, 2 of which are perennial powerhouses Miami and Virginia Tech, there could be as many as 9 ACC bowl eligible teams, which means 3 are out of luck, unless the conference finds a way to obtain more bowl tie-ins. This is the most rediculous part about the expansion. Some bowls have contracts with certain conferences beyond next year, so what is there to do? The Big East will still hold an automatic BCS berth for the conference champion. Who will that be?? Pittsburgh? West Virginia? Rutgers?????? I can picture it now. A glorious afternoon in Miami Florida for an Orange Bowl matchup between Oklahoma and West Virginia. Say it with me...BLOWOUT...say it again...BLOWOUT. This is a huge problem. The BCS contract does not end until 2006, therefore, there is no solution to this problem. Something must be done.
The ACC is set to expand with its new teams, but what will this expansion mean geographical for the conference. Now the ACC is mainly focused in the Southeast – Georgia, Northern Florida, South & North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. The addition of the new teams will each add something to geographically strengthen the conference. Boston College probably will have the biggest impact. Being so far north and such a big school, The ACC should gain popularity around Boston and spread with alumni all around the northeast. Miami has a large alumni pool up north and the addition of Boston College to the ACC will bring ACC games to those fans. Miami will further the ACC’s reach to the far south of Florida, hopefully pulling more great students and athletes into the ACC instead of the SEC. Virginia Tech will strengthen the Mid-Atlantic’s attachment with the ACC as well. With these new teams, I think that the ACC will become a more “national” conference.
How about the though loss Virginia Tech suffered to Boston College, two of the Big East schools moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference. In Boston College’s final regular season game, the Eagles revealed a new star running back in Derrick Knight, along with an emerging quarterback and an upcoming defense. Knight ran for 197 yards on 38 carries and scored twice Saturday against Virginia Tech. Boston College’s quarterback, Paul Peterson, threw a 64 yard touchdown to Grant Adams with 4:40 left to play to seal the victory, ruining the number twelve Hokies’ hopes of a bid at the Gator bowl.
A little off topic, but congratulations to Southern Mississippi University on taking down the number nine ranked Texas Christian University.
I have to say, with the way Miami has been playing lately, I am not as concerned about them joining the Atlantic Coast Conference next year. Miami’s offense has not shown up in two weeks now. It almost gives smaller schools, like us Georgia Tech, an ounce of hope next year. I think most of Miami’s recent offensive problems have been originating from the abnormal performance of the teams quarterback, Brock Berlin. Berlin started the first nine games for the Hurricanes, throwing 14 interceptions, fumbling three times and losing consecutive games to Virginia Tech and Tennessee. Tennessee alone, Berlin was directly responsible for three interceptions and a fumble recovered by the Volunteers. Berlin is now expected to sit the bench against Syracuse, leaving, back up quarter back, Derrick Crudup, with a starting position.
The irony of this whole conflict centers around the Big East’s anger at the ACC for “taking their teams.” I would like to say, the ACC can’t steal teams, the teams have to leave themselves. The Big East’s anger would be better directed at Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. But still, no anger is necessary. It’s the dynamics of money in a world of money, with football on the side. Where there’s more money, the teams will go. Really, I think, the Big East should be mad at themselves, because they could not keep those teams in their conference. They could not provide an environment attractive enough for those teams to stay. On top of that, where the irony comes in, the Big East is looking to pillage other conferences – most likely, Conference USA. Now the Big East is going to “steal” Cincinnati and Louisville for C-USA. I hope C-USA throws a hissy-fit like the Big East did when they lost teams. I say give ‘em a taste of their own medicine.
In an article by collegesports.com discussing the second lawsuit filled by Big East colleges,
"Connecticut, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Rutgers allege in the lawsuit that the ACC and Boston College conspired to weaken the Big East and ultimately reap a larger share of television broadcast revenue. Boston College announced Sunday that it would follow football powers Miami and Virginia Tech, which accepted the ACC's invitation in June to join the conference."
DUH! Of coarse these colleges are trying to get larger TV ratings and larger audiences. This is what this is all about. The main reason for any move in collegiate sports is done for money. The motivation to make a twelve team conference is huge. Millions of dollars at stake for the conference championship game, even the losing college walks away several million dollars richer. Why wouldn’t every conference strive for this, oh wait they do. How did the SEC make their conference the top of the nation? With the twelve team format, rivalries take a different form, often coming to a head in a “championship” game. Is it any coincidence that the SEC is the oldest twelve team league and they consistently have more teams in the top twenty-five than any other conference? The ACC is only trying to keep up. With the addition of these teams to the league, the ACC looks to become a decent match for these other conferences. The Big East is just mad because they didn’t think of it first. If they had added enough teams to make it a twelve team conference two years ago, Miami and VT and BC would not have even listened to ACC proposals. Simple, they are whining because they know they lost.
Besides football, there are other sports that the Big East/ACC conflict will impact. Probably the next closely watched sport to football is men’s basketball. This is another income generator for schools besides football as well. Miami and Virginia Tech do not have strong basketball programs and Boston College has an average one. The Big East will not be losing any of there powerhouse teams for basketball like the University of Connecticut. The ACC already possesses a reasonably strong basketball force with teams such as Maryland, Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and NC State all making the latest top 25 poll. The ACC does not gain any tremendous teams from this deal, and the Big East loses some of their worst. By my estimations, the Big East basketball program has improved itself by letting these teams go. The ACC will now have more conference games with bad teams. For a fan of Big East basketball, this deal should be a welcome change. On the negative side, more teams, no matter how bad they are, do mean more money. Once again money emerges to play a primary roll in the making this deal.
While ACC expansion is going to have huge longlasting benefits for the conference's football status, many feel as if it will dilute it's basketball stance as the premier conference in the country. With the addition of the weak basketball teams of the University of Miami and Virginia Tech, some of the bigtime ACC programs are frightened that the nation's view that the ACC is the best basketball conference in the country will be turned. In 2002, Miami had an overall record of 11-17, and Virginia Tech had an overall record of 11-18. Boston College on the otherhand finished with a winning record. Originally, Syracuase was courted as one of the schools to move to the ACC, and many felt that they would help make the conference stronger in basketball, while Miami would help in football. Now the conference has 2 outstanding football programs and 1 decent basketball team. Somewhat alleviating the fears shared by many involved with basketball in the conference is the fact that recruiting will be expanded to the north. With the ability to play back home, recruits from the northeast will now be more willing to attend ACC schools. As of now, the ACC only extends as far as Maryland and as south as Tallahassee. With the new expansion, the league will expand to as far north as Boston and as south as Miami, therefore extending the recruiting market for teams. So although there are negative effects for basketball, one must look at the good points as well. Another point....While Miami does have a weak record, if you look more closely at the score of each loss, you can see that many of their losses against very good teams have been by a close margin. They also came up with wins over big time programs such as North Carolina as well as the University of Connecticut, which is this year's preseason number one team. They seem to be a very competitive opponent who can beat any given team on any given night.
This is a fairly interesting topic as far as I am concerned. It has incredible implications for the conference, as well as every school involved. I have actually encountered a situation like this before, which had the same ramifications as the current addition of the three teams to the ACC. I grew up in Austin and am an avid UT fan. I watched as the hapless Southwest Conference crumbled, and the involved teams to scatter. Now, Texas is a huge part of the Big 12 conference, and I think that move has been nothing bult good for the team. I remember seasons when it was a surprise if we made it to a bowl game in football. Now, there are people ready to riot whenever the team drops out of the top ten in the nation. The Big 12 conferene is one of the strongest conferences out there. Football isn't the only strong suit of the conference: Baseball is strong, Basketball sent two teams to the final four, and then the conference also excells in other more minor yet still important sports. If the ACC follows the path of the Big 12, then there will be good times in front of the conference.