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.