The ACC is set to vote on the Maryland replacement for #14, which could very well be the University of Louisville.
According to David Glenn, ACC presidents and chancellors will meet early Wednesday morning to vote on the addition of Louisville as the 14th all-sports member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Louisville is poised to replace the Big Ten-bound Maryland and is likely a net gain when it comes to the Cards' combined football / basketball programs.
While there has been speculation that the ACC could add either Louisville, Connecticut or Cincinnati as a replacement for Maryland, Glenn claims that the vote will be exclusively about Louisville.
"Given the way the conversations have gone to this point, either Louisville will be approved for an invitation (Wednesday), or nobody will be approved for an invitation," one ACC source said. "Any other result would be a major surprise."
Adding a new member of the conference requires a three-fourths majority of the 11 university presidents and chancellors. It seems that Louisville is the only expansion candidate with a realistic chance at receiving nine of the 11 votes to gain acceptance in the ACC.
Earlier Tuesday it was reported that Louisville was one vote shy of the 75 percent approval necessary to receive an invite, with Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest all opposing the addition of the Cardinals. Not much of a surprise that this group of four programs opposes the addition of Louisville. This is more or less the same group of programs that initially voted against the addition of Boston College as the league's 12th program.
The sticking point, as always, is academics. Louisville is rated much lower than other expansion candidates -- namely Connecticut and the Naval Academy -- but has a strong support base among the football-first schools including Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami. Given the earlier report that Louisville garnered seven of a possible 11 votes for admission, it appears unlikely that UConn has the votes necessary to gain admission to the ACC as #14.
Sources told ESPN that the league presidents will vote to add only one member as the remaining two Big East schools -- presumably Connecticut and Cincinnati -- have no other options. Should the ACC lose more schools, it could always reload with one or both of UConn and Cincinnati.
Requisite academic hit aside, it's hard not to like the addition of the Cardinals. Louisville adds a competitive football program and a top ranked hoops program to the stable of ... ACC top ranked hoops programs. U of L brings a new TV market and helps bridge the geographic gap between Charlottesville and South Bend.
If the ACC were to take a mulligan on conference expansion and throw academic concerns by the wayside, the league probably would have picked off West Virginia long ago. But as far as reactionary expansion moves go, Louisville is likely as good an add as the ACC can pull off at this point. Adding Louisville looks like a better move than the Big Ten adding Rutgers, and the Cards are currently a better combined football / basketball program than the Terps (with a much more financially sound athletics department to boot). BCI readers approve, with 68 percent of a 2,471 vote favoring the Cardinals over the Huskies.
I'd imagine Louisville would replace Maryland in the ACC's Atlantic Division, joining Florida State, Clemson, N.C. State, Boston College, Syracuse and Wake Forest. Boston College is tied 3-3 with Louisville in the all-time football series. In hoops, the Eagles own a 3-2 edge in the all-time series.
Leave your thoughts on the possible addition of Louisville below.