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The Big Ten Expansion Survey As Applied To The ACC

With Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville all joining the conference over the next few years and Maryland leaving, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to view this survey from the perspective of the ACC.


Seth over at mgoblog found this Big Ten expansion survey, which is the conference's first attempt at gauging public opinions on Big Ten expansion, ridiculous division names and the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. The feedback will, of course, be promptly ignored, but it's a start. I guess.

With Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville all joining the conference over the next few years and Maryland leaving, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to view this survey from the perspective of the ACC.

The questions, and answers as applied to the ACC:

1. What is your favorite B1G ACC school?

Not hard.

2. My favorite school is in which division?

Boston is on the Atlantic Ocean, so the correct response is "Atlantic Division." But Boston is also situated along the Atlantic Coast, so perhaps "Coastal Division" is an equally appropriate response. Maybe if one inputs "North," "Big East" or "Buyers Remorse Division" here the conference brass would take the hint? The point: no one can figure out these ridiculous division names. Louisville and Pittsburgh are neither Atlantic nor Coastal. Let's start over. Correct response: Not Sure.

3. As the conference expands beyond 12 teams (13 ... 14 ... 15), should the new teams be added to an existing division or should new divisions be drawn from scratch?

Start from scratch. There's no reason why Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, for instance, shouldn't all be in the same division. Plus the cross-division permanent rivalries get all sort of awkward now if Louisville assumes Maryland's spot as Virginia's partner.

4. What do you think of the "Legends Atlantic" and "Leaders Coastal" names? (Strongly Like to Strongly Dislike.)

Strongly Dislike. These won't change in the name of "brand equity" but I would like to speak to the conference official who thought putting both words in the conference's name as the divisional names. Imagine if other conferences followed the ACC's lead? We'd have the "Big Division" and "East Division," "Big Division" and "Ten Division" and the "Conference Division" And "USA Division."

5. Should the B1G ACC change or keep the current division names?

Change the names. The ACC's division names aren't as big of a joke as the Big Ten's, but it's close.

6. If you think the division names should be changed, what should they be changed to?

On the Big Ten survey, this is an input box so you can enter what you'd like. For the ACC, the appropriate responses here are North-South, East-West, Atlantic-Not Atlantic, NFL-NASCAR or Wegman's-Publix.

7. If divisions were to be changed, what criteria should be used to determine them? (Rank by importance Competitive balance, geography, protect traditional rivalries.)

I would rank "Protect Traditional Rivalries" as #1 and "Geography" as #2. If Boston College's rivalries were the only inputs here and protecting traditional rivalries was the most important factor, the Eagles would play in a division with Syracuse (46 games), Pittsburgh (29), Miami (29), Clemson (22), believe it or not, Virginia Tech (21) and Wake Forest (20).

8. How important is it for IN-STATE rivals to be in the same division? (Very important to not important.)

Very important.

9. How important is it for TRADITIONAL rivals to be in the same division? (Very important to not important.)

Very, very important. Like Seth said, rivalries need something at stake. Florida State-Miami has been pretty 'meh' since the Canes joined the league -- partly because both programs have been down at various points over the past eight seasons and partly because there wasn't all that much on the line. For FSU, a win over Miami is as important as a win over Duke in terms of winning the Atlantic Division and playing for a conference championship. This is where the B1G screwed up Michigan-Ohio State and where the ACC bungled Florida State-Miami before them.

10. Currently, the number of conference games the B1G ACC plays is 8. Should this increase?

It should, but it won't. Not with Notre Dame. In a perfect world, the ACC would have stuck with a nine game conference schedule and told Notre Dame to enjoy Olympic Sports life in the Big East / Conference USA Frankenstein conference. Or go see if Delany or Bowlsby would accept your half-in, half-out conference membership thing. But since the ACC is stuck with Notre Dame's 5 games a year deal, eight is the right model for now. The shame of it is it hardly feels like Boston College is in the same football conference as Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh or Virginia. BC will probably see a non-conference opponent on the gridiron more frequently than they will any of those programs over a 12 year span.

By the way, "Yes, increase to 10 games (2 non-conference games; 5 conf home games; 5 conf road games)" is the correct response here. But this will never happen given everyone trying to maximize the number of home games and the conference kowtowing to Notre Dame's scheduling needs demands.

11. What is your preference on a B1G ACC Basketball Tourney? (Every team qualifies, or 12 of 14 teams qualify.)

"Not every ACC team qualifies (12 of 14); 4-day tournament." Not everyone deserves a trophy. Hockey East take note of the correct response here.

12. Currently, the B1G ACC has no divisions for basketball. Should this be changed?


13. If yes, why should there be divisions for basketball?

Again, no.

14. If no, why shouldn't there be divisions for basketball?

Scheduling imbalance for one, resulting in wildly different strengths of schedule across the conference. The SEC tried this and the SEC West, unlike football, sucked. Like, real bad. I can't remember a truly good SEC West program since, like, LSU's Final Four run in the mid 2000s.

This also makes seeding the ACC Tournament nearly impossible. Seeding based on division finish -- #1 A1, #2 C1, #3 A2, #4 C2, etc. -- probably gives you some whacky results. E.g. if Duke finishes 1st in the Coastal, N.C. State 1st in the Atlantic and Carolina 2nd in the Coastal, you've just created a bracket that prevents Duke and Carolina from meeting in the title game. Which is what all Duke, Carolina and ACC league brass want, right?

Third thing I can think of is one size doesn't fit all when it comes to divisional alignment. Divisions for football don't always make the most sense for basketball (and baseball). Example: given the choice, N.C. State would want to play North Carolina x2 over Wake Forest x2 in hoops.

15. When people reference "B1G ACC", do you recognize that to be the Big Ten Atlantic Coast Conference?

Uhh, yes. And yes, I recognize B1G as Big Ten, too. But the B1G logo is awful.

16. With 14 15 teams currently (spanning from Boston to Miami, Charlottesville to South Bend), should the B1G ACC remain the "Big Ten Atlantic Coast Conference", or should its name be changed?

No. The ACC isn't going to change its name. Too much "brand equity" has been built up over the years -- terrible football, great basketball, strong academics (excepting Louisville, N.C. State and Florida State) and the best Olympic Sports conference in the country.

17. Do you have any further thoughts on B1G ACC expansion?

Hold onto Virginia and North Carolina. Don't expand to 16 just because you can. Fourteen programs is fine. Try it out for a while before you needlessly add two more mouths to feed (Cincinnati and Connecticut) Tell Notre Dame to either go all-in or put your Olympic sports in the Big 12 / Big East.

For the B1G survey which I filled out in the context of a Northwestern fan, I wrote "Give Rutgers back to the Big East" here.