The ACC struck gold on Wednesday when Notre Dame decided to accept the invitation to become the league's 15th member. The Irish will not sacrifice their football independence, but they will now play five ACC opponents each year on the gridiron.
15 teams, however, creates an imbalance on the hardwood, and the nation's best basketball conference can't have any of that. ACC commissioner John Swofford indicated that he is content with 15 teams right now, but don't let him fool you -- he will absolutely leap at the chance to add the right 16th school. So who are the candidates?
Let me be clear: the Big East will not enjoy this.
UConn - The UConn Huskies were in almost every expansion rumor after the departure of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC. The Huskies aren't a football powerhouse like the ACC would prefer, but their presence in basketball -- both men's and women's -- would be highly coveted. Also, it just seems like the timing is right considering the Jim Calhoun era is now over.
Louisville - A major player in all college sports, adding the Cardinals makes complete sense. They are a complete athletic program, and in the major sports of football and basketball, they have established themselves in the upper echelon of the Big East. As with any Big East team that could make the switch, the Cardinals already have some well-establish rivalries within the new ACC.
Georgetown - Many would say that Rutgers is the next most logical option, but I think Georgetown has to be more desperate to make the move. Most of the traditional powers in the Big East are departing, and Georgetown doesn't want to be left standing at the top of a pile of ruins. Okay, so that may be a bit harsh with teams like Marquette, Louisville and UConn in the league still, but joining the ACC would certainly provide for a much better future. When you add in the academic and geographic fits, which are both perfect, you see why Georgetown should be begging Swofford to let it in.
Rutgers - Now it's the Scarlet Knights' turn - another geographic fit for the ACC. Also, the fact that the ACC has so many AAU-affiliated public schools makes this an ideal landing spot for Rutgers. It has an adequate athletic program that would at least have a chance at being competitive.
Texas - That's right, the Texas Longhorns. Texas had been courting Notre Dame to the Big 12 for years and years, and obviously that is now off the table. The Big 12 is stable at the moment, but the ACC and Texas should be mutually interested in each other. Texas would bring another huge media market to the conference, as well as competitive teams in every sport. The ACC could offer the Longhorns long-term stability in what could very well be the strongest conference overall in college athletics. DeLoss Dodds should be working the phones as we speak.