THE SILVER LINING: WINNING THE SUPERCONFERENCE ACC

Editor's Note: Moved to the front, the other side of the coin. --Joe

Call me a traitor, I can take it.

For the past month or so, I've been one of the many yelling (via twitter) at David Teel about why Virginia Tech's future does not reside in the ACC. I've believed, since all this realignment junk started about 14-months ago, that the future home of the Hokies in the SEC would not only give us the best chance to compete, but also the best opportunity to gain national recognition for the football program we've created and allow us multiple chances a year (on national television, mind you), to prove it. I figured a Frank Beamer led squad would be good for at least 7-8 wins in an inaugural SEC campaign, with it only going up from there once we blanketed mid-Atlantic recruiting and pulled in every 5-star within a three state radius.

These thoughts, I believe, were misguided.

With the acquisition of Pitt and Syracuse this past weekend, the ACC has solidified itself a seat at the proverbial SuperConference table. Whether it will be a throne or a high chair has yet to be determined, but this much is certain: the ACC will not be left behind.

Looking back at it now, I believe that was always my greatest concern. As it seemed to me, all these big-wig ACC presidents and chancellors were sitting on their conference calls lecturing us on why the ACC, with its sound academic and mediocre athletic traditions, could weather any storm the landscape presented and would come out still on top of its coveted east coast market. They seemed arrogant to the notion of schools defecting, and gave us little assurance they were going to do anything to stop a raid by either the SEC or B1G. That is, until, they made the first move.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Swofford & Co hit a walk off grand slam with the additions of Pitt and 'Cuse. I didn't love having to play either team in the Big East, as they regularly proved spoilers to decent Hokie football teams. Also, they will prove the end of the modest success we've seen in basketball, and while I know that's not the main factor in this latest round of realignment, we need to make sure we're prepared to be back in the cellar of a conference.

BUT, what this move does do is give the SuperConference shift some real motion, as well as assure Hokies in Blacksburg and beyond that we will continue to play football in an Autobid, and we will continue to do well.

Here's how I see it:

While there have been multiple models of the SuperConference BCS thrown around, the one I think works best is four SuperConferences, with four championship games, and four defined winners who get a chance for the BCSNC (two winners, one game, one National Champion). In this +1 model, a Hokie team that drops an early game to a national contender isn't mathematically eliminated, nor is one who beats a top-5 team early in the season then stumbles somewhere stupid, say on the road on Thursday night. Assuming we move toward this, or some semblance of it, the Hokies could continue scheduling elite early tests (on national television, mind you) with little national title implications and large exposure ones.

To me, that's really a win-win for Frank and the boys, who want to A) win games B) win games and C) play for conference and national championships. While the ACC isn't going to be the sexy conference, and surely won't produce seven top-25 teams each season, they will still produce a winner, and for the first time I'm ACCepting that it might as well be us. (please don't ban me for that)

In the words of someone, from somewhere, "It's better to be the king of a small domain, than no king at all."

Man, that's a terrible quote, but I'm beginning to warm to it.

Comments

I actually came on here today

to eat some crow and say I might have been wrong myself...then saw this post. And equally surprisingly HD had some decent writing on it today too. Strange things afoot...

Great write up 0-16 Hokie. Much like yourself I was convinced that, though the ACC represents the best fit for Virginia Tech academically and athletically, we would jump ship to the SEC in order to try and compete for National Championship Games in football on an annual basis (I also wholeheartedly agreed that the process wouldn't be quick- 7 to 8 wins in the first year would have been a GREAT season in the SEC). The more I reflect on what has occurred in the past 72 hours the more excited I get over the moves: Pitt and Syracuse will be potential spoilers in football (I think Pitt will be a solid team in the Conference and will compete for ACC Titles), the moves open up the recruiting bed of Pennsylvania even more so to ACC teams, and will once again establish the ACC as a, if not the, premier basketball Conference and it allows Tech to rekindle great rivalries. Though I obviously want Football to go undefeated each year and convince myself mentally that it will happen Pittsburgh adds even more competition and thrilling games. Syracuse, though rebuilding in a sense, will return to its former state at some point and being in the ACC will allow that to happen more so than being in the Big East in terms of access to talented players. Its a win-win for all parties though I would like to see more done on the Football front- this is where UConn and Rutgers, though great schools and (in the case of UConn) an INCREDIBLE basketball program, Swofford and company- if they so choose- NEED to focus on getting two schools who not only fit the ACC-mold academically but will add even more prestige in football. If this is done then I would hope Virginia Tech continues its affiliation with the ACC for many years to come and ignore some of the immediate benefits of going to the SEC.

Virginia Tech '08
Fordham University (NY) '11, '12

Twitter: @duffmanhokie
PSN Handle: duffmanhokie1568 (NCAAF '12, NHL '11, Battlefield)

Hokies, NY Rangers, NY Jets, NY Mets (sigh), USA Hockey, Richmond Renegades (R.I.P)

Great Article

Pretty much my thoughts as well. In this case, I think its better to be a big fish in a small pond than a little fish in a big pond. Never thought of Swofford as an expansionist, but I think he really wanted to keep the ACC together and not lose the two best football (read: revenue producing) teams.

Basketball will be more interesting. If the Big Least does fall apart, then the ACC should get another spot or two at the Big Dance table. Seth better have a great season this year as it may be awhile before VT will have this great of an opportunity to get to the big dance again.

shocked

I was in trepidation about how this would unfold. IF the ACC started to get picked apart like we just did with the Big East I thought it would be OK to get in with SEC. However, I wasnt sold on leaving the ACC as its a good fit for us. People are clamoring over a revitalized ACC basketball wise but these two Football teams are no cupcakes. Pitt's defensive mindset fits well and is accompanied by their rival in 'Cuse. Ill keep the football talk alive as we all know the basketball and LAX (lol) implications.

Most impressive about all of this is how tight-lipped and flawlessly done their entrance became. The AD's and Commissioner knew a behind the scenes approach would allow these teams to enter without the media gnat mass that accumulates with even a whisper of realignment. This was the first push towards a super conference and since we were first to do so we can let the chips fall where they may. Ive heard wind of Rutgers, Uconn, texas, and even ND in the fold. Speculation therein is silly as the SEC hasnt finalized aTm or WVU as most are saying.

So we'll see about progression into 16 but grabbing good teams in two bigger TV markets is key. Cuse actually has a huge football following into the state and city. They arent extremely hard to travel to either as Pitt is about the same distance as clemson and Miami used to play Syracuse in the Big East.

No we wont be an automatic powerhouse but more teams means more OOC match ups for the conference with potential to upset. My only caveat would be the doom of making a N v S split. I think simple geographic restructuring would be asinine. Let the teams play others up and down the seaboard.

WVU

I was accidentally talking to a student at WVU this past weekend (he is a senior, called him self a huge DubV football fan, but didn't know what the Black Diamond Trophy was...)

He is scared shitless over going to the SEC. He understood that even though everyone in the entire state of West by Golly Gee Wiz is naturally born an fan of the Mountaineers..they will never have the funds, recruiting advantages or facilities needed to compete at that level.

Point will be proven this weekend when LSU comes to Morgantown... heck, the LSU fans are probably pulling into campus right now as I sit in my cube.

The odds of WVU becoming irrelevant on the national level is very likely. Glad that's not us to be honest.

Bring on that big Orange-headed Mascot!

I love how many WVU fans bring up the 2006 Sugar Bowl and beating their SEC opponent as an indication of success. However, I tend to agree with you dwalt88 concerning the possible consequence of this move. Another factor, as we saw today, is that the SEC doesn't even want WVU in their conference. They're literally the sixth team on their list behind FSU, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. I actually kind of feel bad for them and their probable role in all of this- left overs. It really is a shame because I think they would fit perfectly in the SEC as a middle of the road program (though the claim by some that they would dominate Virginia in recruiting is insane- Beamer & Co., London & Co., Sweeney & Co., and Muschamp & Co. would NEVER allow that to happen- all these programs have first dibbs on the top talent in the state) with a real good year once a decade where they could reach the SEC Championship Game and an At-Large BCS bid.

Virginia Tech '08
Fordham University (NY) '11, '12

Twitter: @duffmanhokie
PSN Handle: duffmanhokie1568 (NCAAF '12, NHL '11, Battlefield)

Hokies, NY Rangers, NY Jets, NY Mets (sigh), USA Hockey, Richmond Renegades (R.I.P)

More bad teams in the burg

I agree with most sentiment above that adding PITT and the CUSE gives us stability and the opportunity to keep winning ACC titles. However, I am disappointed with the Big ACC for a few reasons.

First with 14 or 16 teams in the league there will be two divisions and each team will play 7 or 8 divisional games with only 1 or no cross-over games. That means more mediocre football in Lane. Sorry, but I just don't get as pumped up to see VT give teams like Duke and Wake Forest a beat down as I do to have FSU or Clemson come strolling in to town. (See 6PM kickoff vs. Clemson in 2 weeks). I already feel like we don't get to play FSU, Clemson, NC State enough.

Also, I'm concerned that we will get stuck in the ACC north with BC, Cuse, Pitt, Terps, VT, UVA, (UCONN, Rutgers, or other crappy Big East Team). The reason I was so excited to get out of the Big Least is because most people in the North East don't care as much about college football. College Football is life in the south and I was super excited to get more of it in the ACC. With the addition of Pitt and Cuse, I feel like we are going to get pulled back out of it. Hopefully they just add Pitt to our division and Cuse to the other. (I would use Atlantic and Coastal divisional names, but who knows which one we are in.)

@TheTurkeyTavern

4x4x4x4

I have heard multiple rumors/ideas/solutions that will make conference play as exciting as it could be given the circumstances if a 16 team conference evolves from all this madness.

Four groups of four teams. Similar the the NFL... go figure. Each year you play your group of teams (determined by geographics i suppose) then you rotate playing the other groups of teams each year. Theoretically, a student that comes in as a freshman will see their team play all other ACC schools at least once by the time they are a senior.

Possible insight

From @DarrylSlater he indicates Jim Weaver has given this some thought:

"Jim Weaver's early scheduling model: 6 division games, 1 permanent crossover, 3 other interdivision, 1 BCS non-league, 1 lesser non-league."

Darryl Slater also tweeted, "Weaver is for 10 ACC games because he thinks non-conference guarantee games (i.e. Appalachian/Arkansas State) are getting too expensive."

I like increasing the number of league games from 8 to 10. That would certainly help to make the ACC not feel like two separate conferences. I also like throwing out some of these non-AQ and AA teams. A big non-league BCS opener followed by an ECU then right into league play would certainly be better than this year's 4 week long training camp.

@TheTurkeyTavern

Rambling on 4x4x4x4...

If it's 4-team "pods" I'd rather see playing all the teams from your pod and one team from each other pod each year (though that would only be 6 conference games as opposed to 7 and a 4-year rotation as opposed to 3). Then again, it would make finding 2 teams to play in the ACCCG easier (whoever is best out of the 2 pods that play each other). If it were geographic pods though, then you could have a real state of NC championship... but then we couldn't win it every year.

The one thing I really don't like about 16 is that it seriously ruins some of the rivalries that have popped up/been around since the Big East... us vs Miami? probably down the drain. GT-Clemson would probably survive, but us vs GT would go down the drain (not necessarily a bad thing standings-wise, but a total bummer). Tobacco Road pod? Nice rivalries there, but Duke and Wake rolling over and exposing their throats makes it a bit easier for UNC and NCSU. At least BC won't be lonely anymore...

Do you think realignment is going to happen at 14 or will Cuse and Pitt be added one to a side, playing each other as their annual crossover (assuming we don't hit 16 before they get to play)? Will there still be an annual crossover? Some people are saying they join as early as next season.. is the Big East actually going to let them go that fast?

Achievement unlocked: All of the Fullers

god i hate pitt

i hate that awful city and that awful school and its awful wv"u"-lite fanbase. ugh.

acc was a move in all the right directions, so far as fanbases with somewhat of a sense of class and respect. not liking this move. be sure to bring your tarps to away games folks, the bottles of urine will come a-flyin

I don't mind the pods that much

But, how do you determine the conference championship teams? One is undefeated and 3 have one loss, who plays?
The good thing is that it could work out to 11 conf games, 3 "in" pod plus 2 whole other pods. But, you could get to 7, and only see certain teams every 3 years. We already don't play in Byrd stadium enough to my liking, but waiting once every 6 years to visit is too long.

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

can't get into it

Pitt and Cuse... I don't get it. The ACC has plenty of mediocre football teams already. My ideal situation would have been to leave the conference the way it is, but that isn't a viable solution with the new superconference fad in full effect. From a football standpoint, no other option comes anywhere close to joining the SEC. Every freakin saturday would be awesome--playing Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, USCe, Florida... Think of the road trips. Now we are adding a school that is so snow covered during football season they have to play inside.

I'm sure I'll get excited about whatever season they actually start playing in the ACC, just like I get excited for every other season, but man I wish we could have gone the other way. Now that we're doing this, I hope at least we can get Texas. Maybe they could bring Baylor along if Swofford feels we need more mediocre teams.

The ACC

is NOT driven by football. The only conference that isn't. They are getting sound bites from Coach K, Roy Williams and even Calhoun. Football is second fiddle in Carolina, basketball is king. They are looking basketball more than football, and the Cuse and Pitt (as well as UConn) bring a nice resume with them. They just happen to lay football...

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

What about the FCS schools?

The super conferences will force fewer match-ups with FCS schools. This will hurt their revenue and could have ripple effects on their sports programs.

Heard about Iowa State

Dumping huge amounts of $$$ into upgrading facilities because of the Big 12 agreement after last year, and now they may be left standing when the music stops. This could put them in a huge financial hole, with no tv money, bowl split, extra revenue coming in. Think of how many schools are getting the shaft because of tv contracts and football money, while the normal students may lose out in the long run.

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

Hope the next 2 teams are better...

The only reason i'm ok with the move is that we aren't going to see the ACC getting pillaged by other conferences and possibly left on the outside looking in. I'm not a huge fan of the schools added, but not hating it either. It makes sense to add 2 schools that link BC to the rest of the conference i guess. But i don't like the thought of being banished to the north if it ends up that way. I'm pretty sure everyone here doesn't think of Blacksburg as a northern town, and not a fan of always traveling north in the winter either. I agree with lots here about playing in the southeast where college football is a bigger deal. I have read that Rutgers or UConn would help solidify the northeast for our fan base, but i really don't think there is much of a college FOOTBALL fanbase up there. They are much more into professional sports.

I'm still positive though. If this is just a way to get our foot in the door for some bigger schools than it'll end up being a very smart move. I don't want Rutgers or UConn though. WVU and ND would of course be great if we can get them. Wonder if they are also thinking about USF or ECU?

I know the SEC would be sweet for us, but with all schools voting to increase the exit penalty to $20M do you see anyone leaving at all?

ECU and WVU

Dont have the academic level that the ACC wants. Not sure about USF...
I wouldn't mind seeing ND added. They've been stealth in this whole thing, and may be holding out for the BigTen*, but the ACC could be a fit because of their tie with the big least.

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

i like the prospects of USF and ND

but i agree WVU and ECU have no chance. WVU could maybe make a sports case, but not anywhere near the academic level required by the ACC brass. ECU is barely a football school, with little in the way of academics or other sports to make the move worthwhile. also, not so sure other NC schools would jump at the idea of recruiting against ANOTHER ACC memeber. just seems like too long of a shot.

with that said, i don't know where USF ranks to the higher-ups. if it comes down to it, i think they're my #2 behind notre dame, as all i'm really interested in is another football-minded school. granted, they're going to be done once skip holtz gets stolen, but he's good there for at least another year or so, especially if the ACC reaches out and picks them up. could be a solid addition if all the superconference speculation really does go down, as we'll need SOMEONE else who can play football, considering most of our prospects are basketball-minded institutions (or non-sports, like rutgers. yuck).

...you know...
@j3ffress

Great Points

You guys are making alot of sense here. I forgot how bad academically WVU is. I read this morning that the ACC presidents are being very adamant about the academics of any further additions to the conference. If that's going to be a solid requirement then WVU can just keep making moonshine and stay in the remnants of the Big East. I figured ECU wasn't really going to be considered, but thought i'd throw it out there. Good call on the NC schools not wanting another ACC competitor fighting for in-state recruits. All said and done, ND or PSU would fit the mold though.