Maryland’s Board of Regents voted Monday morning that the charter ACC member will move to the Big Ten beginning in 2014-15. Rutgers will likely make the same decision Tuesday to give the Big Ten Conference 14 members. The ACC added Syracuse and Pittsburgh in all sports and Notre Dame in all sports except for football within the last 14 months. With the Terrapins leaving, the ACC will be left with 14 member schools and only 13 member schools for football. Although the ACC vowed that it was done with adding schools in September, it is highly unlikely for the ACC to sit tight with 13 football schools. These are the most likely candidates to replace Maryland in the ACC:
As of Sunday night, no talks have occurred between UConn and the ACC, but Connecticut emerges as the favorite to join the ACC. UConn has seen rivals Boston College, Syracuse and now Rutgers all be plucked away. Boston College has been the clog that prevented UConn from moving to the ACC in the past, but those rough relations have seemed to heal over the last year.
UConn offers top-tier men’s and women’s basketball programs, a baseball program on the rise as well as a men’s soccer program that is a perennial powerhouse. But above all, Connecticut boasts a respectable football program that can immediately compete in the ACC. A UConn move to the ACC would have the only FBS football programs in New England (Boston College) in the same conference once again. It could also mean that the ACC men’s basketball tournament would move a step closer to having the annual event held at Madison Square Garden.
Louisville is similar to UConn in terms of level of competition as well as confusion as to why the ACC has not called the Cardinals yet for an invitation. Rick Pitino and the men’s basketball program are currently No. 2 in the country and Louisville football program consistently recruits the top talent among Big East schools.
But geographically, it is unlikely for the ACC to extend its boarders to the Kentucky market. Regardless of the fate of UConn, the Big 12 seems to be the more appropriate fit for Louisville.
If the ACC makes its decision based off market alone then St. John’s might as well pack its bags for the ACC as we speak. St. John’s plays most home men’s basketball games at MSG. St. John’s is in the New York City market.
As popular as college basketball is, all conference realignment changes have been made with football in mind. St. John’s does not have an FBS football program nor are they close to. In fact, St. John’s’ chances to join the ACC have diminished since news broke of Maryland bolting for the Big Ten. Before Maryland announced its departure, the ACC had 15 members and 14 football-only members. The ACC could have added another school in all sports except for football to give the conference an even 16 but elected not to. If the ACC were to add St. John’s, that would mean 13 football members and 15 members in all other sports. Do not expect the Red Storm to be landing in the ACC anytime soon.
The ACC lost its only member form the state of Maryland. What better way to replace Maryland than to add Georgetown. Similar to St. John’s in NYC, the Hoyas are the premier college basketball team in Washington D.C. Many in the capital-area were devastated when Syracuse announced that it will move to the ACC. If G-Town followed suit, the conference rivalry would continue. Along with basketball, Georgetown is a premier academic institution that would fit in nicely with the likes of Duke, Virginia and North Carolina.
But the elephant in the room is the football program, Georgetown football is nowhere near ready to move to FBS let alone the ACC. Georgetown’s best chance to join the ACC was before the announcement of Maryland to the Big Ten.
Notre Dame Full-Members
In September, the Irish announced a move to the ACC for 2014 in every sports but football. Notre Dame will remain an independent, as it agreed to play five games a season against ACC opponents. A quick-fix would be to make Notre Dame an all-sports member. But the quick-fix is possibly the hardest. Notre Dame would need to relinquish its lucrative football contract with NBC. With Notre Dame No. 1 in the latest BCS Standings, do not expect them to let go of the national prominence.