Syracuse Athletics Director Daryl Gross continues to lead the charge for ACC division realignment and schedule reform, hopping on ESPN Radio Tuesday to talk about, among other things, his plan for a Brave New ACC.
Gross: Wants more balanced sked. Uses not playing Ga Tech for 12 years as an issue. Says wants to tell recruits about chance play Miami.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) January 7, 2014
Gross: Says he doesn't want to get rid of all rivalry games. Said Syracuse had no logical one, questions Pitt as annual game.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) January 7, 2014
Gross: Says Boston College is more natural rival but wouldn't want that at expense of game against Miami.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) January 7, 2014
So if I understand Gross correctly, he'd like to see Syracuse play in a three-team division along with Georgia Tech and Miami, basically. Or switch spots with Pittsburgh in the Coastal. Not exactly new news here. I know the Orange are new around these parts, but every Atlantic Division program not named Florida State and Clemson wants to get out of the division as well. Syracuse can take a number.
The other day I hopped on Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician's podcast to briefly talk through this scenario. What this boils down to is that though the current division alignment makes little sense, there's no obvious realignment solution that satisfies all programs. In order to enact meaningful change, the schools that want to see the divisions realigned are going to have to put forth a united front to convince those that don't see the current setup as an issue -- namely, North Carolina-Duke-Virginia-Virginia Tech -- that there is. The conference simply is not going to tweak the current setup to satisfy the capricious whims of a single program.
There's only one division alignment solution that makes sense -- North and South. Without a united front of several schools pushing this proposal forward and Syracuse off trying to go steady with Georgia Tech and Miami, however, nothing is going to change.
In the ACC, if we're going to do it then, we do it big.
Gross's insistence that Boston College is just a little r rival continues to strike me as strange. Though this does seem to reflect the views of a portion of the Orange fan base desperately trying to become the first to discover Syracuse's true football rival when the answer is right in front of them. To me, the rivalry between the ACC's two northernmost private schools is a natural fit for both programs. The series got the perfect kick-start this past year with a high stakes (SU bowl eligibility, BC Heisman hopeful) game decided in the game's final seconds. Next year's meeting on the Heights promises to be just as good.
Strong football programs at both Boston College and Syracuse, as well as a healthy rivalry between the two, is good for both the conference and for Northeast football. I'd rather see both school's athletic departments try to embrace and foster that rivalry instead of brushing it aside. If Gross wants to dangle the BC-SU series as a bargaining chip to play Georgia Tech and Miami every season, that's up to him. But for two programs that have struggled to establish intra-conference rivals in a league filled with some pretty solid ones, it makes both look a bit silly in the eyes of the rest of the conference by playing down any BC-SU rivalry.