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.