ACC Expansion: Conference In Talks With UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati And South Florida

Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

According to a report, the ACC is leaning heavily towards adding a 14th all-sports member to replace Maryland. Connecticut and Louisville are rumored to be the favorites, but the league is also in talks with South Florida and Cincinnati, according to the source. The factors in the decision include geography, television markets, on-field and academic success.

Your move, John Swofford.

According to a report, the ACC is leaning heavily towards adding a 14th all-sports member to replace Maryland. Connecticut and Louisville are rumored to be the favorites, but the league is also in talks with South Florida and Cincinnati, according to the source. The factors in the decision include geography, television markets, on-field and academic success.

I've got to think Connecticut, which has all but thrown itself at the conference ever since Syracuse and Pittsburgh left the Big East, would be the slight favorite over Louisville. But Louisville also represents some semblance of geographic continuity (with Virginia and Kentucky sharing a border) and is the better football/basketball combo at this point.

The question here is whether the ACC is merely performing its due diligence in vetting any possible 14th program or whether they are actually serious about becoming a 16-team superconferences. Superconferences FTW!

If there isn't any further defections from the ACC, I'd say a Maryland for Louisville/Connecticut trade seems like a wash for Boston College. Maybe even a slight improvement given Maryland's football suckitude over the years.

Where I think BC will suffer is if Louisville or Connecticut slots into Maryland's spot in the ACC Atlantic Division and they decide to rejigger the conference's permanent rivals. Right now, Syracuse and Notre Dame are BC's primary partners in hoops, while Virginia Tech remains the Eagles' cross-over partner in football. If the league decides to keep the existing Atlantic / Coastal divisional alignment but replaces either Syracuse or Notre Dame for UConn as BC's primary hoops partner, I think that's a loss. No offense to the UConn folk, but Syracuse and Notre Dame seem like better permanent rivals than Connecticut.

Even better, the addition of Connecticut or Louisville sparks the conference to redraw the divisional lines. Say,

ACC North: Boston College, Connecticut / Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech
ACC South: Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest

Permanent cross-over rivals would be: Florida State-Miami, Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech, North Carolina-Virginia, N.C. State-Pittsburgh, Duke-Syracuse, Wake Forest-UConn/Louisville and Clemson-Boston College

This gives the Carolina schools a round robin NC schedule by not having to break apart the North Carolina schools, preserves the South's Oldest Rivalry and Florida State-Miami. This also gives Florida State a divisional alignment that the school has been asking for since they starting publicly flirting with the Big 12 (including adding Georgia Tech back to the yearly schedule). And before you scoff at the notion of Miami in the ACC North, the school is still a Northeast-centric school that would be reunited with its former Big East members. Not to mention the Canes would get to play Florida State annually for that ever-hyped ACC Championship Game matchup that we're all still waiting to happen.

Sorry, getting ahead of myself. So UConn or Louisville? Or three of UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida? Who ya got?

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