Evaluating ACC Expansion Part II: Measuring Success

To most of us, the ACC is inherent to our culture, and we’ve seen it go through exceptional changes over the past twenty years. Following is the second of a two-part discussion (Part I: Evolution) focusing on how college football, and the ACC in particular, has changed and how this recent evolution of college football and the current trend towards a few, elite super conferences has affected the ACC.

The ACC of today is no longer the cozy environ it was during the era from 1953-1991, when it covered five seaboard states and stretched a mere 650 miles from Atlanta to College Park. Even by 1992, it had only increased to a total of 886 miles over six states south to Tallahassee; only Florida State was outside a 325-mile radius of its geographical center in Greensboro. Like the SWC in Oil Country, the Big Eight in the Plains, the Big Ten in the Midwest, and the SEC in the Deep South, the ACC had its own distinctly-southern cultural aura (with the exception of Maryland, of course). And as the history of ACC politics indicated, it also retained its conspicuous reliance on its heart in North Carolina (the ACC’s home office is in Greensboro).

Now, the ACC is no longer a swath along the southeastern coast, but instead it spans 1,500 miles along the entire Atlantic coastline. Its exposure is now far-reaching, while financially the ACC continues to prosper; if nothing else, expansion, as proposed, has proven at least fiscally viable.

TV revenues have doubled. According to an ESPN.com report on the most recent contract, the TV deal with ESPN/ABC was valued at $258 million, or about $37.6 million per year, which was almost double the previous contract. Furthermore, the ACC reported on its website in May 2007 additional revenues of $16.9 million from TV rights, $5.7 million from the championship game, and $3 million in bowl revenues. Total distribution to member schools was reported at nearly $11 million, up slightly from the $10.9 million ESPN.com reported the ACC had distributed to each school in 2003-04, its final year as a nine-team league. This at least supports the argument that the existing teams would not see their revenue share decrease with three additional teams.

Debatably, finances would emphatically overwhelm any qualitative argument to the contrary, but in any instance, finances are only part of the equation. There remains a strong subjective argument against the merits of expansion.

To many within its traditional base, the ACC forfeited its charming personality when it expanded in 2004. Like the SEC with its steep football traditions, the ACC has always enjoyed an entitled basketball tradition. On the whole, expansion precluded many of those nuances that had so delicately characterized the conference for 50 years. Namely, the loss of the regular season round robin format in basketball, which for decades had so exactingly determined the seeding for the nation’s premier conference tournament, which itself had lost its pure format.

The traditional format in football had also been sacrificed. Some traditional rivalries had been protected while others – for instance, State versus Duke in football – would suffer long stretches without being renewed. The very nature of the new conference alignment in football was arranged to allow for – provide for, even – Miami and Florida State to regularly play for the conference title. And by all indications in 2003, that is precisely how it would, in fact, turn out.

There has also been a seeming impetus to de-emphasize the grip the state of North Carolina has on the ACC, which has no doubt left many hard feelings along Tobacco Road. The ACC leadership has shown an increasing infatuation with Florida, particularly Jacksonville and Tampa, which has naturally led to many perplexed emotions among its traditional fan bases, as neither city seems a fitting host outside traditional ACC locales.

Jacksonville certainly has a long history with the ACC; according to the Gator Bowl Association website, the ACC leads all conferences in Gator Bowl appearances with 38 (the SEC is second, with 35). However, the city has never had the penchant for the culture of the ACC in the same manner as it does for that of the SEC; the Cocktail Party each year is one of the SEC’s premier events and is distinct in its nature as part of Jacksonville’s SEC fiber. Moreover, Jacksonville has hosted all three of the ACC championship games, which in hindsight has proved largely a disappointment. The Raleigh News & Observer reported that attendance declined each year, from 72,749 in 2005 (Florida State vs. Virginia Tech) to 62,850 in 2006 (Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech) to 53,212 in 2007 (Boston College vs. Virginia Tech). Albeit, this can’t entirely be blamed on the city of Jacksonville but rather the conference officials that overestimated the ACC’s marketability there as well as the fan bases that were either unable – Wake Forest – or too apathetic and unwilling – Boston College, Georgia Tech – to travel to the game in droves.

Meanwhile, the ACC Tournament, which has been set in North Carolina in all but nine of its 54 years, was peculiarly hosted by Tampa in 2007. If Jacksonville is perplexing for football, then Tampa for the ACC Tournament is completely incomprehensible; at best it was a meager, contrived push to expand into an unsecured market. ACC officials were apparently so impressed by Tampa’s management of its premier event that it has awarded Tampa the conference championship game in 2008 and 2009; curiously, there are no evident plans of returning to Tampa for the Tournament, however. While the gulf coast of Florida provides the opportunity for fans to travel to a more hospital locale, and perhaps expand into uncharted territory that even the SEC does not yet have a firm grip on, what it does not do is take into consideration the fact that it alienates a large majority of its traditional base that lives within driving distance of both Charlotte and Greensboro, and have for decades eagerly flocked en masse to these towns in March, and would likely do so in December, as well.

And while it may be a super conference by definition, by no means can it be considered any such thing in terms of football prominence. Today, the ACC lags far behind the very conferences after which it modeled its expansion.

In its fourth season of expansion, an ACC team has only finished once in the Top 10 and only three times in the Top 15 of either the AP or USA Today Coaches’ poll: 2004, Miami (11 AP & Coaches) and Florida State (15 AP/14 Coaches); and 2005, Virginia Tech (7 AP & Coaches) — with a 2007 Orange Bowl victory over Kansas, it is likely that Virginia Tech would record the conference’s first Top 5 finish in this same period.

In addition to never sending a second team to the BCS, the ACC has a 1-8 record in BCS games, its lone win Florida State’s 2000 Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech for the 1999 National Title. The other BCS appearances have all been losses: 1999 Fiesta (Florida State, to 1998 National Champion Tennessee); 2001 Orange (Florida State, to 2000 National Champion Oklahoma); 2002 Orange (Maryland, to Florida); 2003 Sugar (Florida State, to Georgia); 2004 Orange (Florida State, to Miami); 2005 Sugar (Virginia Tech, to Auburn); 2006 Orange (Florida State, to Penn State); and 2007 Orange (Wake Forest, to Louisville).

The root causes for this decline are varied and not yet wholly understood, but they are arguably central upon the depletion and instability of quality coaching staffs in conjunction with the complete and inexcusable inability to identify and develop talent at the quarterback position. The lack of quarterback development since 2003 has become epidemic; the last time the ACC had even two highly-effective quarterbacks was prior to expansion in 2003, when Philip Rivers and Matt Schaub were seniors.

Coaching is obviously a factor in this decline, as the ACC has had problems with instability on its staffs while in some cases, quality assistants – usually the Xs and Os guys – are rightfully rewarded head coaching positions elsewhere. Most notably, the decline of Florida State coincided with the departure of Mark Richt to Georgia and Chuck Amato to NC State, while Larry Coker was never able to sustain what Butch Davis had built at Miami. Chuck Amato, Chan Gailey, and John Bunting were never able to advance their programs at NC State, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina, respectively, while Ralph Friedgen, Al Groh, and Tommy Bowden have all felt the hot seat but done just enough to stay on at Maryland, Virginia, and Clemson, respectively. Incongruously enough, the one traditional team that in fact improved over the past decade has been Wake Forest; Jim Grobe led his team to the ACC championship and the Orange Bowl in 2006.

While Miami was supposed to bring football prominence to the league by balancing out the top alongside Florida State, instead it brought balance to the middle. Virginia Tech, after not being in the original plan, has actually brought the most prominence, with two BCS appearances in just four years of membership. While Boston College has proven somewhat prominent on the field, its fans’ relative disinterest and proclivity for neither attending home games nor traveling to championship or bowl games has proven an obvious embarrassment for the ACC.

While Boston College and Virginia Tech have even added somewhat to the ACC’s prominence in basketball as well, by no means was any of the rationale for expansion basketball-centric.

Thus far, expansion has not improved the product of ACC football, but rather guided it further into parity. The ACC still sends its conference champion to the Orange Bowl the same as it did in 1992, and then the Peach and Gator Bowls still make their selections based on which team will bring the most fans rather than which team is more deserving (within the loosely-written rules). As was the case before expansion and before the Coalition, Alliance, or BCS, the conference’s second-best team is not guaranteed one of its prestigious bowls and subsequent highest payouts.

Moreover, expansion has ostensibly stripped the ACC of its traditional, intrinsic personality as its leaders strive, almost in mercenary fashion, to expand its product into something generic, something readily-marketable, at the expense of the loyal. In these regards, from a strictly qualitative, subjective standpoint, expansion has fallen well short of its lofty aspirations to equate its football product to that of the SEC and Big XII.

Unfortunately, the success of these conferences, particularly the SEC, is an inherent regional cultural issue that perhaps can never be entirely appreciated, and thus never entirely modeled by a charismatic yet quaint basketball conference situated along the southernmost Atlantic coast.

ACC expansion has not exactly been pulled off without a hitch, but there is ample reason for optimism.

Jacksonville proved disappointing as host of the conference championship game, but the ACC has acknowledged this shortcoming and has already made changes to the initial policy of awarding host sites championship rights in three-year terms. Tampa will host the game in 2008 and 2009, and then Charlotte – ACC country – will play host in 2010 and 2011; it is likely that Charlotte would have hosted in 2008 and 2009 if there had not been a prior scheduling conflict with the city. The Raleigh News & Observer has reported that the economic impact on Charlotte could reach $20 million, which is entirely plausible, based on its comparison to the Meineke Car Care Bowl and ACC Tournament.

Additionally, the ACC Tournament will return to Charlotte in 2008, Atlanta in 2009 and 2012, and Greensboro in 2010-11 & 2013-15. Dave Glenn reported on ACCSports.com that the ACC Tournament, surprisingly enough, is only the fifth-largest shared-revenue generator, behind the regular-season basketball and football contracts, respectively, bowl payouts, and the NCAA Tournament. Quite simply, more tickets equates to increased revenues. This is a strong indicator that ACC leaders have not only a keen understanding of the importance of protecting its already-thriving basketball culture, but it also for revenue generation.

Greensboro especially, Charlotte, and even Atlanta are each entirely plausible host locations with sustainability.

Greensboro, the geographical and cultural heart of the traditional ACC, has successfully hosted the Tournament a leading 21 times; the Greensboro Coliseum has a seating capacity of 23,745, which is second only to the Georgia Dome of venues in ACC territory. The Georgia Dome held a record 40,000 fans and generated the highest revenues in the Tournament’s history in 2001. This was the only time the Georgia Dome hosted the Tournament, but Atlanta has hosted it four times and it certainly makes sense to continue regularly awarding it the Tournament long into the future – its opportunities are limited, however, as it also regularly hosts the SEC Tournament that same weekend. Charlotte has played host to the Tournament 11 times; the 2008 Tournament will be at Bobcats Arena, which has a capacity of 20,200 for college basketball. This happens to be the one arguable drawback and the one that might preclude Charlotte from regularly hosting the Tournament: the new arena is much smaller than both the Greensboro Coliseum and the Georgia Dome, and even slightly smaller than the St. Pete Times Forum.

The ACC Tournament has remained unparalleled in both its heritage and its prosperity, and the ACC leadership has exhibited incredible, continued success maximizing its potential marketability. This sustained affluence relies on occasional, systemic experimentation with new host locations, such as Tampa in 2007. Fittingly, the ACC fully comprehends that Greensboro and Tobacco Road must remain an integral aspect of the ACC culture, and over the next decade, the Tournament will be mostly in North Carolina.

It is utterly premature to write off the latest expansion as a misguided, abject failure. Quite simply, the ACC thrived for fifty years before expansion, and that has not changed at all four years into the new structure. And while it currently lacks gridiron prowess, it remains a premier league. In fact, it is still universally recognized as the premier conference in college basketball. The proof exists in its TV contract, the nation’s richest, and as was the case prior to expansion, the ACC remains the only conference with its TV contract for football less lucrative than its one for basketball. Indeed, ACC basketball, particularly the Tournament, is a model that the other premier conferences have strived to replicate for their own success.

The ACC is to college basketball what the SEC is to college football: unrivaled. But as college football continues to evolve, the ACC must remain dynamic as well, demonstrating a continued effort to evaluate and improve upon its mistakes. So long as the ACC remains true to those intrinsic roots that have taken hold over the past five decades, the conference will survive and will certainly continue to prosper. And there’s ample evidence that its leadership is entirely capable of adjusting along with the shifting dynamics of college athletics and molding the new ACC super conference into all it was intended to become.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

General NCS Football

23 Responses to Evaluating ACC Expansion Part II: Measuring Success

  1. waxhaw 12/20/2007 at 7:01 AM #

    If the revenue is equal or higher, then financial it has to be considered a success.

    IMO, the ACC’s championship game will grow in excitement and revenue as the conference gets better. Also, the possibility of an em extra BCS game still looms.

    I know they have tweaked the BCS rules and can’t remember if they still have the rule about maintaining an average finish to keep your BCS slot but without VT, our football product would have been awful the last few years.

    Assuming FSU and Miami’s slumps are an aberration, then you’d have to conclude that expansion’s profits haven’t even begun to payoff.

  2. grouchomarx 12/20/2007 at 7:52 AM #

    Is equal revenue, per school, plus mediocre football, worth the loss of the basketball round robin? I don’t think so. Need to find a way to get it back. Keep the big OOC matchups and eliminate some of the SC State, Nichols State, etc. games from everyones schedule.

    LRM Note: The round robin was the one nuance I especially miss that truly seperated the ACC from the Big East, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-10, and Big XII, especially after these conferences followed the ACC’s lead in using a tournament to establish their automatic bids. I miss it but it’s flat impossible in a 12-team league, because you increase the number of conference games from 16 to 22. Basically, conference play would have to already be in full swing by early December for this to work, and you can forget about November tournaments like the NIT, Maui Invitational, and Alaskan Shootout; “classics” like the Jimmy V and Wooden; and even the ACC/Big Ten challenge. the way the ACC teams beat up on each other for two months already, you could also forget about more than four teams playing in March.

  3. BoKnowsNCS71 12/20/2007 at 7:56 AM #

    /\ as well as UNO and and ECU.

  4. waxhaw 12/20/2007 at 8:54 AM #

    I miss the round robin also but we had mediocre football before expansion.

  5. Noah 12/20/2007 at 9:39 AM #

    Forgive me if this should have been in the other topic, but I’m guessing that all the discussions have been moved here?

    There was talk in the previous topic about Kevin Smith’s decision to come back to school next year. It was actually a pretty easy decision for him. He was running 4.6s in his preseason workouts and was projected as a late second, possibly even a third-round pick for this draft.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how another season of 450 carries will impact his draft stock. I prefer to get QBs with plenty of snaps and experience. I want running backs young and fresh since they have a tendency to wear down so quick.

  6. VaWolf82 12/20/2007 at 9:44 AM #

    Maintaining a constant revenue flow to the schools even though the quality of FB has dropped is pretty amazing.

    Some years, the loss of a second BB game between two top teams is disappointing for fans. However for every interesting game that is lost, there are probably another 4-5 “second” games that hold no interest at all. On balance, I don’t see the loss of round-robin to be that critical..especially with another chance for top teams to meet in the ACC tournament.

    LRM Note: The loss of the round robin seems to affect people on a personal level; for instance, I’d rather play Duke and Maryland twice each year in basketball than BC, VT, or Miami. Although I just assume never play WF again in football!

  7. MatSci94 12/20/2007 at 10:08 AM #

    Great analysis, especially of the non-financial aspects. The only thing I would add is that it is difficult to judge the expansion as a success or failure, because the only thing we have to compare it to is what things were like. What they should really be compared to is what would have happened (which there is no way to know). The main fear was that the ACC without a champ game, and the perception (and arguably reality) of mediocre football would only be able to get smaller and smaller TV deals. With TV contracts being such an important component of revenue, that would be a bad situation to be in. I don’t know if this would have lead to a downward spiral of the ACC, but the fear of that happening was (from what I have heard) one of the major factors that lead to the expansion.

    Unfortunately, college sports today is different that before. The exorbitant amounts of money in TV deals, coaches contracts, etc have drastically changed things. They may not all be bad changes, but the genie is not going back in the bottle at this point.

    One of the things I have always liked about college sports was that it was not professional. There seemed to be a greater love of the game, and more heart and effort and passion in the players. Others argued that they liked pro sports because they wanted to see the ‘best athletes’ who were ‘obviously’ in the pros. I wonder if that will change now, and things like D-IAA become like college used to be, while major college turns into Pro sports.

    LRM Note: That Doomsday scenario of FSU and Clemson leaving for the Big East was certainly hinted in all the rhetoric, but I’m not sure how realistic that would have actually become — luckily, we’ll never have to find out.

  8. wolfonthehill 12/20/2007 at 10:44 AM #

    At the end of the day, I’d look at which football programs are better off today than they were before expansion.

    I can think of one – Wake Forest.

    Which ones are not as well off?

    That’s a much longer list.

    And I think the same could be said for basketball, quite honestly.

  9. Octavian 12/20/2007 at 11:24 AM #

    “And while it may be a super conference by definition, by no means can it be considered any such thing in terms of football prominence. Today, the ACC lags far behind the very conferences after which it modeled its expansion.”

    You dispel this statement later and attribute the state of affairs more to the current environment, but not sure if agree with the magnitude the media/critics gauge how “bad” the ACC is. I mean we’ve taken it on the chin the past couple of years but in 2006 we lead the NFL in draft picks and years before, we were #1 in RPI. That said, I can’t argue with the facts like BCS records, etc….the ACC needs to step up. Here’s hoping for a sweep in the bowls and the re-emergence of some teams next year

    LRM Note: By no means does it lag in basketball, which is only where RPI matters, and I don’t believe I ever made an argument towards this (intentionally or mistakenly); and in my opinion the number of NFL draft picks is completely independent of college football success or prominence — just look at the Heisman winners and national champions of the past 20 years to see my point.

  10. RickJ 12/20/2007 at 11:35 AM #

    It is interesting that while Wake Forest football has gone up after the latest expansion, their basketball program has taken a nosedive. Personally, I don’t think expansion had much to do with either.

  11. waxhaw 12/20/2007 at 11:58 AM #

    Wake Forest football is better because of Grobe, not expansion. When he was hired in 2000, he started red-shirting people and the fruits of that took several years to pay dividends.

  12. BJD95 12/20/2007 at 11:58 AM #

    We can look to the past with fond memories, but there’s no going back. Football money drives bigtime college sports, and there was no way for the ACC to stay viable without expansion. Without it, the ACC easily could have lost Clemson and Florida State (maybe even Georgia Tech).

    The 4-day ACC tourney has been plenty exciting, so far. I am one of the precious few Big Four fans who don’t think losing the round robin was that big a deal.

    LRM Note: I agree on the new tournament format because now we get two “Fridays” — outside tradition, we didn’t diminish the excitement with having four byes like, say, the Big East did (until this season) by only putting 12 of its 16 teams into the tournament. The ACC did a great job of keeping its tournament relevant after expansion, and there’s probably a solid argument for the new format being better than either the one with the play-in game or the even more ridiculous one with the 9/1 winner playing Thursday and skipping to Saturday like was experimented with.

  13. bTHEredterror 12/20/2007 at 12:38 PM #

    As a football fan, I love all the developing rivalries. Recall it took a while for anyone to beat FSU, and even longer for someone to step up and beat them regularly. I think when we beat them in 1998 the mystique wore off. So at about 6 years in things changed. About 2010 the teams should start to get used to each other and water can find its mark.

    “I want running backs young and fresh since they have a tendency to wear down so quick”

    I agree, and the smart money is on coming out now so he can collect money for as long as his legs will let him. By staying in he throws up a red flag from a competitive standpoint, and will likely limit his overall earning potential. What is the averag RB lifespan in the League, 3.5 years?

    LRM Note: I like the point about FSU…I’m not sure any other team has dominantly reigned over a conference for an entire decade like FSU did the ACC from 1993-2000 — I could be wrong and would love for someone to delve into this further.

    FSU won the ACC every season during that span, with a total of two conference losses: UVA beat them in 1995 and it was three more years until their second conference loss when we did it in 1998. It was ANOTHER three years before it happened again, when both us and UNC beat them in 2001. They played for the national title in 1993, 1996, 1998, and 2000 and won the title in 1993 and 1999. An argument could be made that they were single-handedly responsible for driving the ACC into expansion.

    But I don’t think the FSU mystique even began to wear off until Maryland finally won the ACC in 2001 (they actually lost to FSU that season), which was the when FSU began its decline. I wish we’d gone into a “decline” like they did…since then they’ve won the ACC three times and played in the 2003 Sugar, 2004 & 2006 Orange (all losses, though).

    It just shows how bad off the ACC has been once you look past FSU in the past 15 years.

  14. Noah 12/20/2007 at 1:12 PM #

    “What is the averag RB lifespan in the League, 3.5 years?”

    Yep. He’s taking a gamble that he can improve that 40 time and the bonus money will make up the difference between the lost year’s earnings.

  15. waxhaw 12/20/2007 at 1:22 PM #

    FSU rolled over more than just the ACC during that span. They dominated everyone. I think they finished in the top 5 every year but one during that span. So the FSU and the 8 dwarfs jokes weren’t really accurate. It was FSU and the 111 dwarfs.

    I’ll try to pull the numbers in just a minute.

  16. waxhaw 12/20/2007 at 1:34 PM #

    FSU finished in the AP top 5 every year from 1987-2000. (that is not a misprint and is an NCAA record)

    1993 12-1 loss to ND
    1994 10-1-1 loss to Miami tied Florida
    1995 10-2 loss to Virginia and Florida
    1996 11-1 loss to Florida
    1997 11-1 loss to Florida
    1998 11-2 loss to NC State and Tennessee
    1999 12-0
    2000 11-2 loss to Miami and Oklahoma

    During that span they were 88-10-1.

    They won 11 or more games in all but two years (without the 12 game schedule)

    They only lost 5 games to teams outside of Florida.

    Florida beat them 3 times and tied them once. They are the only school that “hung” with FSU during that span.

    LRM Note: Nice work. That 1996 loss to Florida was for the national title as well…a month AFTER they beat Florida in the final regular season game. I believe the only reason it wasn’t a split national title is that Florida so convincingly shredded them in the Sugar Bowl.

  17. wolfonthehill 12/20/2007 at 2:43 PM #

    FWIW, I by no means meant to imply that Wake’s football program has improved because of expansion… but if we’re going to be completely fair, we should take an across-the-board look at who’s better, and who’s worse than before expansion (and I mean the 12-school version, not the FSU expansion, which I believe was the happy-medium).

    In my opinion, the following schools have regressed: FSU, Miami, Maryland, Ga Tech, Duke, uncch, and NC State… while only Wake has improved. Somewhere in the middle are BC, Va Tech, Virginia, and Clemson.

    Long-term, if the quality of football declines, the dollars everyone’s touting will simply dry up. People (and networks) simply aren’t going to pay to watch bad ACC football instead of good SEC football.

  18. VaWolf82 12/20/2007 at 3:14 PM #

    Long-term, if the quality of football declines, the dollars everyone’s touting will simply dry up.

    It seems to me that it would take long-term apathy on the part of a number of schools before this doomsday scenario would play out. Other than Duke, I think that you can show that every other school has either had major sucess or made changes in order to pursue success over the last 5-6 years.

  19. waxhaw 12/20/2007 at 3:31 PM #

    It makes sense that the tv money would dry up for a bad product but I’m not sure that’s the case.

    ACC football has always had a demand for NC State/UNC; Duke/Wake; VA/Clemson; and they’ve never been that great.

    We have more games on television and we have a larger footprint to show them in. That won’t change no matter who is playing.

    We do need several decent teams to fill the 3:30 ABC slot and the ESPN2 slots but it’s not like we won’t have a single team in the top 25.

    LRM Note: Locally, there’s a demand for those games…not nationally. That’s the key.

  20. vtpackfan 12/20/2007 at 5:38 PM #

    It absolutely pisses me off to no ends that during expansion we have Lee Fowler at the helm. Years from now people will look back at the build up of facilities at NCSU that took place during this period and thank Lee Fowler for ushering in the new era.

    Everyone’s getting paid in the ACC, and the allowance has fattened up during Fowlers time here because of expansion. Yet practically all our teams suck $hit.

  21. redfred2 12/20/2007 at 6:44 PM #

    “Yep. He’s taking a gamble that he can improve that 40 time and the bonus money will make up the difference between the lost year’s earnings.”

    Maybe he’s gambling, and maybe he isn’t. Just maybe this kid likes where he’s at right now, playing college football for the University of Central Florida and everything that goes with it. Maybe he still wants to play college football.

    I know it’s hard for you, but sometimes, it’s just not all about the money.

  22. choppack1 12/21/2007 at 8:41 AM #

    A couple of points – if you want the ACC to look really bad, think about it the last 4 years w/out expansion! I don’t think that ACC football is struggling BECAUSE of expansion, but rather, a combo of mediocre coaches, a ton of parody in the talent pool (which always seems to be present) and the strange inability of many of the conferences QBs to play smart football. I find it very telling that 2 of the 3 of the teams that haven’t experienced the QB problems are teams w/ basic core offensive systems (Clemson and Wake) and are non-traditional power schools (Wake and BC).

    I am critical of expansion -but not because it happened. It had to happen – the league was in a grow or die a slow football death mode. That death could have impacted basketball as well – especially if the doomsday scenario – FSU and Clemson leaving the conference – came to fruition.

    I don’t really have a problem w/ the teams picked.

    I do think it’s telling that the most productive expansion member – the only one who has brought their weight w/ titles and fan support – is the ONE TEAM THEY DIDN’T WANT TO ADD.

    I also think that lack of courage and foresight is evident when you look at the sparse crowds that have shown up in Jax and will show up in Tampa for the ACC football championship.

    Regarding the attendance – there is no way in hell there were 50K people this year or 60K last year. In the age of the internet where people can find pictures like they found at the beginning of a 4th quarter tie game w/ chamber of commerce weather that showed absolutely no one in the stands – you’d think that they may find a more accurate way to count. I would hate to be the person responsible for communicating those #s w/ a straight face…not much integrity required for that job. Probably fits in well w/ the current ACC administration.

  23. TomCat 12/27/2007 at 9:42 AM #

    Recent round of expansion destroyed the soul of the ACC. I hate what it did to the continuity of competition in this league and ‘land grabbing’ strickly for money to areas that have no connection or geographic association with this league. The championship game scenario hurts leagues ability to ever play in a national title game and hurts the chances of multiple teams getting to top tier bowl status. The leagues who have champ games are now envious of the Big 10 and Pac 10 whose best can sit back and watch the others beat themselves and their players over the head- while they don’t have to…. and waltz into higher tier bowl opportunities. Expansion was a bad move for this league and has hurt the ACC. If we truly wanted to be at the next level this was not the answer. PAC 10 and Big 10 are laughing at us all.

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