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ACC Expansion: UConn Keeps Fighting The Good Fight

It's no secret that UConn wants out of the Big East and into the ACC, as University officials have made repeatedly clear that they won't be wearing a John Marinatto promise ring any time soon. Doesn't matter if Rutgers or West Virginia come along, the Huskies want out.

The New York Times Pete Thamel says what I've been saying all week ... don't expect the conference to expand straight away.

"Don't expect the Atlantic Coast Conference to make any sudden moves. It was out of character for the league to grow to 14 colleges to become the largest major conference in football in the country. Unless a university of tangible financial value surfaces (Notre Dame or Texas), the A.C.C. will stay at 14 for the near future. There is little chance it will add UConn or Rutgers anytime soon, unless it is to complement a college of significant football value."

But what if the ACC is successful in luring said college of signficant value -- for our purposes, let's say Notre Dame -- into the fold? One Connecticut station is claiming that the Huskies may get that coveted ACC invite ... only if they bring Notre Dame along with them.

"What happens with the Huskies hinges on what the Fighting Irish do.

A source close to the ACC told Kevin Nathan that the ACC wants UConn and Notre Dame and likely won't make a move on the Huskies until the Irish commit either way."

Read into this local report what you will, though I would say you should probably take this with a grain of salt. With this latest round of conference musical chairs dying down a bit, there's no reason to think that Notre Dame will get trigger-happy and join one of the six BCS AQ conferences any time soon.

Meanwhile, UConn officials continue to pound the pavement in an attempt to find any member of the media sympathetic enough to listen to the Huskies plight. In fact, according to a report from Ed Diagneault, UConn president Susan Herbst has reached out to Boston College president Fr. William Leahy S.J. about any possible BC block of UConn to the ACC. I can only imagine how that conversation will go.

It's worth noting that if any block is in place, it has very little to do with the 2003-4 lawsuit and everything to do with territorial exclusivity. Any block by Boston College is no different than USF's block of UCF to the Big East, Kentucky's block of Louisville or Florida, Georgia and South Carolina's supposed "Gentlemen's Agreement" that would prevent Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson, respectively, from joining the SEC.

Storrs is located less than 80 miles from Chestnut Hill, while it's over 150 miles to New York City. BC has no incentive to see a local school join the conference and steal a share of the media and viewership. It's simply not in the long-term interests of the athletics department, just as it's in USF, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia or South Carolina's best interests to keep UCF, Louisville, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson out of each's conference. Clearly, the UConn brass know a little something about "looking out for their own best interests."

UConn will continue to play the victim here, relying on the pro-UConn media to spin this as:

"BC won't get over the lawsuit" ...
"The actors on the UConn side have all changed" ...
"Pittsburgh was also involved in the lawsuit and they got in!" ...

But again, any block in place has little to do with the lawsuit and is no different than any of the above examples of school's blocking the entrance of other members. Do keep this in mind as you continue to read UConn's best attempts at leaking stories about their discontent with the Big East and with Boston College, the heartless villain. 

Finally, enjoyed Pete Thamel taking UConn to task in his latest realignment piece.

"University presidents do not mind leaving leagues so bludgeoned that they need tourniquets, but killing one would be frowned upon. The only people who do not realize this are UConn officials, who are tripping over themselves to leak stories about their unhappiness with the Big East, which hurts that league's efforts to look stable and expand. But UConn, which has no athletic director and a new president, may have nowhere to go. Because most realignment decisions are driven by football, joining Massachusetts in the Mid-American Conference could be UConn's best available option at this point."

Acceptance is the first step in the road to recovery, or the MAC.