If Offered, We Should AcSECpt, Part II

If Offered, We Should AcSECpt, I wrote that column last summer and still believe it's in Tech's best interest to be part of any SEC expansion plans. This SEC is home to the last six national champions, prestigious bowl tie-ins, is building a national digital network and has an insanely lucrative television contract. From the outside looking in, it seems as if Texas A&M's bags are packed and the Aggies are walking out the Big 12's front door. Common sense would dictate they'll need a running mate, or posse of three, to even out the SEC's numbers. Virginia Tech is rumored to be among a handful of schools (Florida State, Missouri, Oklahoma,) the SEC is interested in joining A&M.

Obviously the cart has been put in front of the horse. Texas A&M hasn't publicly stated any intentions, and last year it seemed likely they'd leave the Big 12 for the SEC, until they didn't.

Hokies are decisively split on whether or not to accept an SEC offer. I've already wrote we should jump at an SEC offer, today I'll argue against why we should stay in the ACC.

Virginia Tech survived being independent and wandered around the Big East like like a vagabond all while knowing their true home was the ACC. David Teel notes the following.

The Hokies had long pined for the ACC. Publicly. Weaver and university administrators had flown to Greensboro to lobby ACC officials for inclusion and were working to secure the Big East only out of self-preservation.

When the unexpected invite from the ACC came, not even then-Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese blamed Tech for accepting. The fit was ideal and apparent.

As it stands, the ACC is is the best fit for Virginia Tech. I cannot disagree with that. However, it's naive to believe there's not at least a chance the ACC will be different in the near future after the SEC, Big Ten or even the Big East expand. The Big Ten was rumoured to be interested in Maryland, the Big East would welcome Boston College back with open arms, and Georgia Tech, Clemson and Florida State could all join their instate rivals in the SEC. There's a good chance the ACC becomes as weak and irrelevant as the Big East, the conference we fought to move up from.

I disagree with those that would say we'd be leaving our rivalries behind. We played Virginia before the ACC and we'll continue to play them well after. The Miami rivalry intensified when we joined the Big East, just like Georgia Tech heated up when we started trading blows in the ACC. We'll make new rivalries in the SEC and play a longstanding foe, Tennessee, located only 230+ miles away.

Yes, SEC schools are indeed that close to Blacksburg. South Carolina is less than a 5-hour drive away, Kentucky 5.5 and Georgia is about six hours. That's not much farther than 3.5-hour trips to Chapel Hill and Durham, or the 7-hours to Atlanta. The point being, those schools aren't as far away as you think and the extra money from the SEC television contract would easily offset any additional travel costs for non-revenue sports.

At the end of the day though, it might not even be up to Tech.

Florida State officials have been flirting with the SEC for several months and the discussion now are getting more serious, according to sources.
Rumors have been spreading that the SEC is poised to expand, first to 14 teams and then to 16, and the Seminoles and Texas A&M of the Big 12 could be the first two to jump.
"This is real," said a source close to FSU.

Other schools being mentioned as possible SEC candidates: Clemson, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

And as of today it doesn't look a move to the SEC is anything Jim Weaver is interested in. Kyle Tucker, all the way from Kentucky, caught up with the AD.

"I think we would politely decline," Weaver said. "That's my knowing how excited we were and pleased we were when we got in the ACC. And when you realize the travel involved and so on, we're virtually in a ‘bus league' right now. The SEC would cause other travel issues. Certainly there is (increased) revenue involved (with joining the SEC). But I just feel like, and this is me talking – I haven't talked to the president or any of that – Virginia Tech would politely decline, because we're very happy to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Weaver is a smart man, and such a move is as much a political decision, as it is a financial one. Right now no one can see the fire through all the smoke blowing. So who knows what, if anything, is going on behind the scenes.

I do know this. I would be disappointed if we weren't asked, but infuriated if we said, "no thank you," because I believe that would be the wrong decision for Virginia Tech.

Contact the editor about this post anytime by phone: (703) 646-1931 or mail: 3057 Nutley St Suite 633, Fairfax, Virginia 22031.

Comments

if we're asked

We are absolutely crazy for declining. Craziness escalates to psychosis if FSU subsequently departs.

I don't want to be part of a watered down league with us and Miami, once with the Big Least was enough. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating- the big OOC games of recent memory were a conscious reaction to the flack we used to get for playing such a slack schedule back in the day, not because the coaches enjoyed getting are @$$ handed to us in late summer.

SEC is King, like it or not. I think we would all regret being on the outside looking in.

The SEC is more than the ACC

it's also human nature to want more. Hotter girlfriend, faster car, bigger salary. JW is right in saying that we really wanted the ACC. But...The SEC is more than the ACC.

Decisions, Decisions

I don't understand the argument that we would turn down the SEC because we worked so hard to get into the ACC. If you are at a bar and you find a girl you like, spend the evening hoping to bring her back to your place. You are about to take her home, and then Marisa Miller walks in and inexplicably gives you the sex eyes. You know right then you are gonna ditch your girl. Marisa Miller = SEC, in case you weren't paying attention.

Anyone stop go think

What if we went and underperformed? Look at our track record so far. Suckling the teet of other teams wins in bowl games and simply wearing an SEC badge doesn't excite me. I may be naive but creating some super conference only to dismantle another while making it even more top heavy will detract from the whole. Your a fan. This isn't your money. You're not recruiting these players in SEC territory. Really why mess with a good thing going?

The reason we should jump the wagon if offered is because it's inevitable that there will eventually be 4 super conferences in the future (very near if A&M makes the move).

Tech was fortunate to slide into the ACC after it was almost a foregone conclusion in most of our minds that we were being left behind for a Syracuse or Boston College..if we would have been stuck in the Big East it would have hurt our recruiting and I honestly feel that we wouldn't have had the success that we have had over the past almost decade now...if we miss the train when it first passes, we will eventually have to catch another. Why wouldn't we want to be on the train that PRODUCES the NC almost every year? What will be our options if we declined if offered?

We obviously wouldn't want to go west coast, so we would hope and pray we could be in the super conference that included Penn State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, and etc which to me seems like the commute to these wouldn't be any better than the SEC. Also, I feel as if on the recruiting side we would have the edge in the SEC because we would then dominate Maryland, Virginia, DC, and could dip into TN and flex our muscles more in Georgia and North/South Carolina where we have already started to be a real player. If we went with a more northern super conference it would be the opposite and Penn, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and etc would start dabbling around in what have been our strongholds.

If I'm wrong someone tell me?

We SECede!!!

This should be the official acceptance slogan, bar none. It's topical and spelled correctly.

SECede...

all those in favor... aye! opposed... none? slogan granted.

"...sticks and stones may break my bones but I'm gonna kick you repeatedly in the balls Gardoki!"

It is apparent that Weaver and Steger have...

taken great big drinks of the ACC KOOL AID. We're in the ACC, like it or not. The people that run the university have no desire to go through another conference move. The legendary head football coach has no desire to move. Right now, we need to be hoping that FSU says no, and that every other ACC team says no. If the ACC schools stand firm, then the SEC will have to look west to Mizzou to get to 14 and then, two from the BE to get to 16. One option would be to pluck TCU away from the BE before they complete their membership, given the SEC a greater presence across the state of Texas

Giving Weaver and Steger some credit

Now maybe I am giving Weaver and Steger too much credit, but I strongly feel as if Weaver was trying to play the politics game more than announcing an official decision. He stated that we are happy where we are, but he also commented about how the SEC already has schools in South Carolina and Florida. I think it would be the wrong move for either Steger or Weaver to come out and publicly claim that we are ready to jump to the SEC at the word go. If they are as smart as I hope they are, both of them will be waiting to see what happens with Texas A&M before they start causing undue duress with our fellow ACC teams. Maybe this is the wrong way to play it, but I at least hope that is what they are trying to do.

Chances for Success?

I think one thing we are overlooking is how successful we may or may not be in the SEC. Going to the SEC and potentially going .500 or worse in conference for a few years to start off could hurt our program in the long-term more than staying in a weakened ACC might. I am as confident in our program and coaches as the next Hokie but I think adjusting to the stronger SEC opponents and schedule could be very difficult at first and I think our decade of consistent, successful football that we all have grown so accustomed to may be in jeopardy if we make the jump. It would be interesting to see what would resonate more with recruits....Us playing in a BCS bowl basically every year in the ACC or going to the SEC and being a mid-level team for awhile as we adjust to the stronger opponents and strengthen our recruiting?

Decision Adverted-For Now

"The SEC Presidents & Chancellors met today & reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment"

I think...

As cool and as tempting as a super conference sounds, I don't believe that the conferences honestly want that. That would limit their control in football, and would hurt themselves in basketball. Getting 7 of 12 in the big dance means more than getting 8 of 16. Splitting the country into 4 conferences hurts them in the overall scheme, and would effectively even the playing field with the smaller conferences.

As it stands now (and I know it most likely won't stay this way....) but there are 10 open slots for the BCS. With only 2 allowed from each conf, that means they don't fill all 10, and could even miss out on some of the remaining spots. Heck, the ACC and Big East have had tough times filling 1 spot some years.

I'm a man! I'm 40!
Hokie thru and thru.

The SEC

SEC is on top now, winning the last 5 BCS titles, but I don't think it will last forever. Between 1980 and 2005 they won only 5 titles, hardly dominant. Maybe the current BCS format suits them or they have an unfair advantage in the way the system operates.

#Hokies

Living in the past

If the super conference comes -and this really may be just when - I believe it will be 3 not 4 in number. This post may be long, so bear with me.

ISSUE #1

Stability matters, and only 2.75 conferences can claim this mantle. The B1G and SEC are pretty much the same as they were 100 + years ago. The current PAC has at its core the old PCC, and save the massive cheating scandal that brought it down in 1956, still functions with unity for around 100 years or so. Sure they got a new PAC body, but the PCC engine and frame are still underneath. Not only do these 3 conferences have long term stability, they have long term brand names. Sure Miami and Florida State have been hot in the last generation, they pale in comparison to the long term history of SoCal, Michigan, Alabama, and the long term stalwarts who are concentrated in these 3 conferences. You are happy to own Apple or Google now, but Exxon and Procter & Gamble have been paying dividends for at least the past CENTURY ! If we can agree that nobody will raid the B1G, PAC, or SEC, we may just disagree on who can be poached after that. The ACC does not have an Exxon, and the probability of getting one approaches zero.

ISSUE #2

Size matters. Each added school getting to 16 must beat the current conference average. Look at stadium sizes for an indication of who will advance, and who will get left behind. Look at this list and see if you see a trend:

100,000 + seating = ZERO in the ACC
B1G = 3 [Michigan State,Penn State,Ohio State] / SEC = 2 [Alabama,Tennessee] / B12 = 1 [Texas]

90,000 + seating = ZERO in the ACC
SEC = 2 [Georgia,Louisiana] / PAC = 2 [UCLA,USC]

80,000 + seating = TWO in the ACC [Florida State, Clemson]
B1G = 2 [Wisconsin,Nebraska] / SEC = 3 [Florida,Auburn,South Carolina] / B12 = 2 [Oklahoma,Texas A&M] / IND = 1 [Notre Dame]

70,000 + seating = ZERO in the ACC
B1G = 2 [Michigan State,Iowa] / SEC = 1 [Arkansas] / PAC = 3 [California,Arizona State,Washington] / B12 = 1 [Missouri]

Now look at the above list if TAMU joins the SEC, Notre Dame and Missouri join the B1G, and Texas and Oklahoma join the PAC

B1G = NINE 70K+ stadiums
SEC = NINE 70K+ stadiums
PAC = SEVEN 70K+ stadiums
ACC = TWO 70K+ stadiums

How can the ACC become a viable 4th Super Conference with such a disadvantage (especially when both Florida State and Clemson have been mentioned as possible SEC 16 schools).

ISSUE #3

"It's the economy, stupid" via Bill Clinton is revised as "it's the economy of scale, stupid" for conference realignment, so look who is "on the bubble" to get one of the last 12 spots in realignment (5 if you take away the 4 in the PAC, Notre Dame and Missouri in the B1G, and TAMU in the SEC). Lets go down to 60K+ stadiums:

60,000 + seating = THREE in the ACC

ACC = [Virginia Tech,Virginia,North Carolina]
B1G = 2 [Purdue,Illinois] / SEC = 2 [Kentucky,Mississippi] / B12 = 1 [Texas Tech,Oklahoma State] / BE = 2 [Pittsburgh,West Virginia] IND = 1 [BYU]

Granted UVA and UNC are on this list, but they are closer to NC State at the bottom than Virginia Tech at the top. VT is a football school that has no current in state SEC rival + adds TV sets + has a current stadium close to the 70K "entry minimum" of schools in the 3 future Super Conferences. 2 Mid level conferences may form [BE + ACC + ?? scraps east of the Mississippi] + [B12 + WAC + MWC scraps west of the Mississippi]. The rest will reform as bottom feeders like the MAC and Sun Belt.

In short, a few schools will move up in conference realignment, but most will fall behind into second class status. It looks like only 5 slots remain, and the clock is winding down.

"How would you like to spend the next several nights wondering if your crazy, out-of-work, bum uncle will shave your head while you sleep? See you in the car."