On Thursday, the Daily Press' David Teel took a look at Florida State president Eric Barron's suggestion of a more regional divisional alignment for the conference. Barron believes shifting Georgia Tech to the Atlantic, Florida State's closest geographic conference neighbor, would help FSU fans who want to travel to games.
If Georgia Tech moves to the Atlantic Division, a current Atlantic Division team (or Syracuse) would have to move over to the Coastal Division. Teel believes the most logical choice would be Maryland, creating an ACC divisional alignment that looks like this:
Atlantic Division: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Syracuse and Wake Forest
Coastal Division: Duke, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech
In this scenario, BC would either keep its existing crossover game with Virginia Tech or drop the Hokies for a crossover rivalry with Maryland.
A permanent cross-over rivalry with Maryland really does nothing for me as a BC fan. In addition, a Georgia Tech for Maryland swap is hardly an even trade when it comes to historical football success. Over time I think you would see the competitive balance in football shift dramatically over to the Atlantic with Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech at the top.
A much better proposal would be to package Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh (because how attached can the Panthers be to a division they have yet to join? for Boston College and Syracuse, sending the Eagles and Orange to the Coastal Division and the Jackets and Panthers to the Atlantic. BC and Georgia Tech are a lot closer when it comes to historical football success than Maryland and Georgia Tech, while Syracuse-Pittsburgh seems like a wash.
This alignment re-unites the Eagles with the Hokies, Hurricanes and Orange, while aligning the school with other like-institutions Duke, North Carolina and Virginia. Five of the seven cross-over rivalries would remain unchanged -- Florida State-Miami, Duke-Wake Forest, North Carolina-N.C. State, Maryland-Virginia and Syracuse-Pittsburgh. Both BC-Virginia Tech and Clemson-Georgia Tech becomes divisional games with the conference pairing the Techs and BC-Clemson as the new protected crossovers.
Admittedly, until programs like BC and Miami rebound, the balance of football power shifts heavily towards the Atlantic, but that is likely a more temporary situation than it would be if you went for a straight Georgia Tech-for-Maryland swap.
Divisional realignment is likely off the table, especially when we have yet to play a down of football under the new, 14-team format and when conference athletic directors try to rationalize keeping the existing divisions in the name of "brand equity."