SFN Community Discussion: Expansion

It was weird seeing ACC games on a Monday Night — as far back as I can remember Big Monday showcased the Big East. But this is the world we now occupy.

It’s odd that so many of us are struggling so mightily to reconcile Swofford’s new and improved ACC with the once great conference we grew up following, because our DNA as Americans is inherently expansionist. We’ve never allowed ourselves to be bound by the Appalachians, Mississippi, Rockies, Pacific or space. Yet when Swofford, Slive and Delany began negotiating mega-millions in TV deals that divided up the college sports world like the Allies at Yalta did Europe, we’ve offered, at best, pragmatic acceptance of a new world we can’t control and to which we can no longer fully relate.

25 years ago, conferences were defined by a shared geography and, by nature, a common culture. The Southeastern in the Deep South, Big Ten in the Midwest, Big East in the Northeast, Big Eight on the Plains, Southwest in Texas (and Arkansas), Pac-10 on the West Coast, and the Atlantic Coast that cut a cozy, southeastern (and Maryland) swath that stretched not beyond 350 miles in any direction from its epicenter in Greensboro.

That common culture and geography fueled organic rivalries and a provincial prejudice that exhibited itself as conference pride. Now, conference names are nothing more than monikers for marketing a coalition of mutual financial interests. The acronyms are meaningless: the SEC stretches into Texas and the Midwest; the Big XII has 10 teams, the B1G will soon have 14. The original Big East was a basketball-only conference while the new Big East is, once again, a basketball-only conference that now stretches west past Chicago and Milwaukee into Omaha. Meanwhile, the ACC has expanded northwest through Kentucky to the shores of Lake Michigan (but only partially).

The paradox of it all is that for everywhere expansion and realignment has failed us — longtime rivalries forsaken, arbitrary divisions, imbalanced scheduling, watered-down matchups and marquee-less conference championships — it seems so far to have proven a colossal success financially. Our teams are more accessible than ever with the proliferation of the TV and internet options the mega-million dollar contracts provide us, and we’re watching games in record numbers.

And it certainly doesn’t seem to have diminished the popularity of college basketball in the heart of the old ACC.

So, we pose this question to the SFN Community: will the pros of expansion/realignment eventually prove to outweigh the cons?

Note: This was originally posted on SFN on January 14, at 2:48pm. Due to heavy news flow in the next 24 hours we have moved this back to the top on Friday morning, January 17th.

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Home Forums SFN Community Discussion: Expansion

This topic contains 19 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  85Designo 6 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
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  • #36841

    StateFans
    Keymaster

    It was weird seeing ACC games on a Monday Night — as far back as I can remember Big Monday showcased the Big East. But this is the world we now occup
    [See the full post at: SFN Community Discussion: Expansion]

    #36847

    VaWolf82
    Keymaster

    Will the pros of expansion/realignment eventually prove to outweigh the cons?

    It sounds like the cons are emotional and the pros are financial. Maybe the question should be…How long will it take to adjust to the new world order?

    #36850

    NCSU88
    Participant

    As the old breed passes on, it won’t matter any more.

    #36851

    Wufpacker
    Keymaster

    I’ve gotten used to having BC and Miami in the conference, just like I did when GT was added. I was actually thrilled with the addition of VT, and feel the same way about the ‘Ville coming in.

    I’ll get used to Pitt, ‘Cuse and ND too I’d suspect.

    When the ACCN broadcasts are carried by a local station here in AZ, one can’t argue that the league’s appeal hasn’t been upped.

    Having been ‘out of area’ recently, being able to see every single NCSU football and basketball game for the past few years has been well worth the rest.

    Just saying.

    #36853

    Wulfpack
    Participant

    It is all good with me. And it wasn’t like there was a choice, either. More a matter of survival.

    #36857

    tmb81
    Participant

    I actually prefer them to a Sunday night game, especially during football season. Now let’s see if my opinion changes after attending one next Monday. And at 9PM to boot.

    #36859

    WV Wolf
    Keymaster

    NC State vs Pitt is now a conference game.

    West Virginia and Pitt no longer play each other.

    The Backyard Brawl was first played in 1895 and was played every year from 1943 to 2011. Now it’s dead because of conference expansion.

    The ACC really started all the dominoes when they added VT, BC and Miami from the Big East. That started the death of the Big East which is why WVU and Pitt are now in different conferences.

    And why did the ACC expand? To add a conference championship game that nobody cares about. And now they have to start thinking about re-doing the divisions because they put the 2 best football programs (FSU and Clemson) in the same division.

    Travel has been an issue for WVU. I bet Maryland will have similar issues when they have to send their volleyball team to Minnesota on a Tuesday night. Or when the basketball team has to play at Wisconsin and turn around a few days later and go to Nebraska.

    The cash from ESPN up front is nice for all these schools but I’m sure how well this is all going to work out long term.

    #36861

    wufpup76
    Participant

    Agree basically with what’s already been said … It’s just the way it is.

    It’s easier to adjust / get used to things when you’re a kid, for the rest of us we’ll just have to learn to embrace those thrilling Syracuse-BC ACC match-ups haha.

    In essence, this is (possibly) a strengthening of the product but a dilution of the emotional investment that a large percentage of us are used to. That may change, in time. We’ll see.

    #36863

    LRM
    Keymaster

    It precedes the 2003 expansion by a full decade.

    It traces back to the early 90′s when the old Southwest started its death spiral and the independents started looking for a home with old Bowl Coalition ties.

    Arkansas left the SWC for the SEC. Independents like South Carolina, Florida State, Miami, Penn State and Virginia Tech (among others) found conferences.

    The ACC, B1G and SEC each expanded — the SEC tested out a (near-catastrophic inaugural) championship game. The Big Eight absorbed part of a dying SWC to form the Big XII. The Big East (until then a basketball-ony league) added football-playing members.

    Then they all sat down with Notre Dame and negotiated the Bowl Alliance and then the BCS.

    Then they negotiated TV deals and had to streamline to reconsolidste their power, which required once-partners to raid each other.

    It was inevitable the moment the SEC and Big XII showed the financial success of the championship games.

    And I don’t think it’s over.

    #36879

    Wolfanatic
    Participant

    When I went to State, there were seven teams in the conference.. And we liked it! Did we really let Georgia Tech in?

    #36895

    13OT
    Participant

    ACC expansion has led to a need for the following:

    In football:
    1- Division realignment. ACC North will have BC, Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville, UVA, VT and Miami; ACC South will have the Big Four, Clemson, GT and FSU.
    2- A 9-game conference schedule, which allows playing each division opponent every season, plus a maximum of 3 consecutive seasons without facing any out-of-division opponent. We do not need to be playing 4 high school level OOC opponents each season.
    3- Further (and final) expansion of the conference to 16 teams, to be done within 5-10 years. At that time, all 16 teams MUST be fully participating members, including Notre Dame. If they choose otherwise, they will be replaced. The league’s goal of 16 full and permanent members will put them in position for the likely scenario of four 16-team super conferences.
    4- Multiple permanent sites, on a rotating basis, should be chosen for the ACC’s annual title game. Jacksonville, Atlanta, Charlotte and Washington DC would be be my choices- 3 years each and then rotate.

    In basketball:
    1- The establishment of 3 primary playing partners for each team, which would re-unite the Big Four to home-and-away games each season.
    2- The establishment of Greensboro, home of the ACC, as one of two permanent sites for the ACC Tournament. The league would be required to help upgrade the Coliseum in order to keep the tourney here. Put the tourney in Greensboro for 3 straight years, then to another location for 3 years, and back to Greensboro. The second site could rotate among cities like New York, Washington DC and Orlando. But due to its heritage and geographical location, Greensboro would and should be the primary locale.
    3- Revamp the ACCT to a 4-day event, from Wednesday through Saturday, and include only the top 12 teams. Finishing on Saturday, like in the past, would give the ACC teams an extra day of rest before they began the ACCT.

    In baseball:
    1- Sensible scheduling of rival teams, with each school allowed 2 primary playing partners, which would give each home-and-away series each season. It makes no sense for State and Carolina, for instance, to play only once next season on a neutral field, yet the Pack plays several OOC teams multiple times. It’s bad business and especially bad for the fans.
    2- A return to the ACCT double-elimination format. I know some will disagree, but I just don’t like seeing a tourney format that has teams playing a 3rd game that has no bearing whatsoever on who advances.

    I probably hate ACC expansion more than anyone on this site, but it’s here and we may as well make the best of it. The schools out there, to me, who’d be the best fit for us would be either West Virginia, Central Florida, South Florida and UConn.

    If none of these changes happens, especially the rival games and football division re-alignment, then I hope to goodness the Pack can get the hell out of the ACC. I’d rather us play as an independent and control our own schedule instead of continuing to be swept away in the directionless tsunami that the ACC has become, under the control of those who couldn’t care less about teams who aren’t wearing blue.

    #36900

    WTNY
    Participant

    And why did the ACC expand? To add a conference championship game that nobody cares about.

    Good point, WVWolf.

    If the NCAA hadn’t instituted the arbitrary (IMO) 12-team championship rule, wonder what the conference landscape would look like today . . .

    #36923

    MP
    Participant

    .
    I vote that the pros outweigh the cons.

    The one previous comment that I (slightly) disagree with is with regard to football divisions. I see no reason why there should be divisions in football. The original divisions were essentially set up so we could watch FSU & Miami play for the ACC Championship every year forever and ever. Since that was obviously not on target – Why create a system where the 2 best teams in a given season may not and more often will not play for the title?

    #37300

    Hawkeye Whitney
    Participant

    The expansion is akin to what has happened in NASCAR. The fan base increased, but the passion has waned.

    #37303

    LRM
    Keymaster

    The NASCAR model is a good comparison.

    NASCAR knew it could expand its audience into new markets because its core fan base wouldn’t stop watching just because they stopped racing at North Wilkesboro. They also realized even back then that TV matters more than race day attendance.

    It’s been the same with Swofford’s new ACC.

    #37304

    ILPackfan
    Participant

    That NASCAR comparison is spot on. It hasn’t been about tradition, rivalries, fans, or even the athletes themselves–it’s been about TV markets and revenue streams. I can understand why the college landscape has gone this way, although I’m not particularly fond of the direction.

    #37314

    budfox88
    Participant

    NASCAR sucks now compared to the product before expansion…look at the ratings. And I don’t guess there would even be a winner if Jimmie Johnson quit driving. Loved that sport before, now it sucks, and even worse with the clone cars they drive now and on-track etiquette requirements. Dilution by expansion, revenue markets, meaningless paper bowl games, elimination of rivalries (bball esp!), the overall blandness of it all = passive and disconnected fan base that can hardly call itself fanatic, which in turn will contribute fewer and fewer dollars to the alumni’s sports superfund! I’m into other things…

    #37327

    john of sparta
    Participant

    as posted above, Live Sports Rules the DVR-proof world.
    ANY live sports will dominate …for example, Curling during the Olympics.
    (Curling can broadcast live, since speed skating is delayed for prime time).
    Networks have paid Big Bucks for ALL live sports since 2004. pro athletes’
    contracts already have eclipsed A list movie stars yearly income (EBITDA).
    When Wake Beats Syracuse in Winston-Salem on January 29th @ 9PMEST….
    won’t that be wonderful? Swofford is untouchable this year.

    #37343

    Alpha Wolf
    Keymaster

    The Backyard Brawl was first played in 1895 and was played every year from 1943 to 2011. Now it’s dead because of conference expansion.

    So one of the soak-the-season-ticket-holder games against a far lesser opponent can’t be replaced by this game?

    That’s one of the many problems with college football — the first 2-3 weeks of the season are little more than practice scrimmages against teams that the major conference teams have little chance of losing. Of course the guy going to the game still gets to pay $50 each for his seats.

    Bottom line: no matter what the AD’s and the schools say, they could make the game happen every year as a non-conference affair if they really wanted to. Hell, GT leaving the SEC didn’t stop Georgia from playing them every season, and this game could happen if they really wanted it to as well.

    #37624

    85Designo
    Participant

    GaTech was an independent and came in after USC left for the SEC

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