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A Brave New ACC? and the Big Finish

Brian: The latest and greatest conference realignment rumor is that the Pac 10 is set to invite six Big 12 schools to the conference. If this happens, it may very well push the other BCS conferences to scramble to expand to 16 teams. The problem is that if the SEC looks to expand, with Texas and Texas A&M off the table, they may very well look east and poach up to 4 ACC programs. The Big Ten would likely pick up whatever pieces of the old Big 12 they find most attractive (say Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas) as well as a combination of Big East programs and/or Notre Dame. If the dominoes begin to fall, the ACC could also look very different than how it does today.

Are you more worried now about the implications of a conference reshuffling for BC and the ACC in light of this latest rumor? If the ACC has to replace up to four ACC programs and expand by adding the remaining Big East leftovers, are you OK with that? How do you see this playing out?

Jeff: I really can't say that I see any implications for Boston College at all with this latest story because I just don't see it playing out. The Big Ten and SEC have big TV contracts to dangle in front of schools to get them to leave their current conferences. The Pac-10 has nothing special. The Pac-10 is being proactive because they probably fear being left behind in the big power struggle to conference supremacy. The Pac-10 will only have the opportunity to lure Big 12 teams into their conference if Texas and other schools are taken from the Big 12. Then the Pac-10 will be an attractive option for the leftovers. If none of that plays out, then the Pac-10 should consider adding two teams like TCU and Boise State to get to 12 teams where they can have a conference championship game.

Brian: I think you are right about a move by every BCS conference to 16 teams not playing out. But I do think that conference expansion is a foregone conclusion at this point, at least for some conferences. The Pac-10 will expand in some shape or form. So will the Big Ten. Whether these expansions ultimately affect BC and the ACC, though, remains unclear. Even in the doomsday scenario where the SEC poaches one-third of the current ACC members, however unlikely, I think the ACC can scoop up four Big East replacements to get back to a 12 team conference. Add a few northern dancing partners to the conference and BC is probably no worse off than it is today.

I really don't think that the four ACC schools frequently mentioned as the most poach-able of the lot - Florida State, Miami, Clemson and Georgia Tech - are even on Mike Slive's short list of candidates. As you said, the SEC has the luxury of sitting back and handpicking the best available expansion candidates (given their ESPN TV deal) or doing nothing at all. As such, I think the list of expansion candidates looks something like this:

  • Add Texas and Texas A&M to get to 14
  • Add Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to get to 14
  • Add Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor to get to 16 (solving the "Tech" problem)
  • Add Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M to get to 16 

Under none of those plans is the current 12-team makeup of the ACC affected. If I had to wager a guess at this point, I'd say all 12 current members of the ACC will still be together in an athletic conference in five years. And we'll all share a good laugh and a beer with our Florida State and Clemson friends, reminiscing about how, five years ago, they thought their athletic programs were god's gift to Mike Slive.

Big Finish

Jeff: Boston College won the co-ed sailing National Championship on Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin. Pretty cool, right? 

Brian: I know next to nothing about sailing, but it's great to see a second National Championship trophy come home to the Heights this year. 


Jeff: The Orlando Sentinel countdown continues with Maryland coming in at number 93. What are you setting the over/under for number of wins for Maryland next year?

Brian: I'll set the over/under right at bowl eligibility - 6 wins. Not great but a respectable bump up from a 2-10 season a year ago. The Terps will also serve up an upset special at some point during the year.


Brian: BC ranked 56th among the Collegiate Licensing Company’s top selling-institutions for FY 2009-2010. Your thoughts?

Jeff: Not bad. I'm sure there have been plenty of years where we didn't beat Georgetown and were miles behind Duke and Connecticut.


Jeff: Are you going to watch any of the Boston College-less NCAA baseball tournament?

Brian: There's college baseball on this weekend?


Brian: UConn’s mens hockey program will play Sacred Heart in an outdoor game at Rentschler Field next season. Do the Huskies have Frozen Fenway envy?

Jeff: For real? That seems like a big production all for nothing.


Jeff: On Saturday, September 18, Wake Forest plays Stanford at 11:15pm on ESPN2. That'll be a long day of watching football and scouting on a BC bye week, right?

Brian: Indeed. Let's hold off on telling our wives.


Brian: Last one, BC ranked 92nd in percentage of last year’s tackles returning this season (65.60%), according to Phil Steele. Your thoughts?

Jeff: Really thought that would've been higher with Kuechly alone.