The ACC, after fumbling and bumbling expansion scenes, settled on the lucky number 11. After weeks of wrangling, political arm twisting, deceit, mandates, law suits, threats, and accusations, the ACC voted (tuesday evening) to offer the University of Miami and Virginia Tech into the fold.
In a strange way, these two universities seem to offer just what the ACC was looking for: dominant football programs. The ACC, strong on the hardwood but historically weak on the gridiron, actually made offers to the top two football schools in the mix (Syracuse and Boston College being the other two players).
Syracuse, and to a lesser degree Boston College, seemed like sure bets just a couple of days ago to receive invites. Syracuse is a traditional basketball power and has enjoyed a moderate amount of success on the football field. At the same time, Syracuse offered the ACC a chance to expand to the northeastern market. Boston College offered a quality football program, a better basketball program than Virginia Tech, and the Boston television market.
To top it all off, Miami really wanted both of these schools to join them in a move to the ACC from the Big East.
7 votes were needed to expand. Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Clemson, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest were voting for expansion from the get-go.
Political arm twisting prohibited UVA from voting for any expansion that excluded Virginia Tech. Duke and North Carolina, oblivious to the obvious fact that expansion was going to occur, voted only for Miami to be accepted.
A fold by either North Carolina or Syracuse would have permitted the original three (Syracuse, Boston College, and Miami) to gain invites. Their holding firm sealed the fate of the Orangemen and the Eagles.
NC State, after voting in Miami and Virginia Tech, suddenly lost what little credibility it had by voting against a 12th team.
So, what does the ACC have now? Sure, they have upgraded their football conference. They have moved their television audience into south Florida and the D.C. area. They may or may not have made the conference more attractive for television rights.
But, they have added a school (Virginia Tech) that has gone only 7-7 in the Big East the last two years. This same school puts on the court a club that bears absolutely no resemblance to ACC basketball.
The move to 11 puzzles me. An end of season conference championship game (that could conceivably add 10-12 million dollars to league coffers) is not in the making. 12 is the magic number. I do understand that taking Virginia Tech moves the recent Big East lawsuit to federal court, but at what cost?
The ACC splits the pie eleven ways now, instead of nine. That is LESS revenue to each member school (rocket scientists need not apply).
The Big East, as a BCS conference, is sure to fade away with the departures of the top 2 football schools in the conference.