As the Big East morphs into Conference USA, the ACC morphs into the Big East. The ACC held an unconscionably early conference call this morning and added Louisville as a replacement for the departing Maryland. The school should negotiate an increased buyout to leave before the 27-month window.
Throwing academics and demographics aside to consider sports, this may be a net win for the ACC. Louisville has a stronger football program than Maryland with growth potential. Adding Rick Pitino’s team also enhances the basketball league. This might spur the conference into a sensible north-south division alignment. It also outflanks the Big 12, at least until the Big 12 decides to pay the ACC’s buyout.
For Louisville, Charlie Strong can already make nearly $3 million per year with bonuses. Would a pay bump, guaranteed access and a sense of loyalty to the school that gave him a shot be enough to keep him longterm?
Fear of further raids provided at least a partial motivation. If the superconference era is upon us, it is hard to see the Big Ten and the SEC remaining at 14. Duke/UNC…
As we mentioned yesterday, things are looking bleak for the Big East. The conference does not have a team that has played football continuously since 2003. If this spurs Boise State and San Diego State to rejoin the Mountain West, it would leave a 10-team, random assemblage of UConn, South Florida, Central Florida, Temple, East Carolina, Houston, SMU, Tulane, Memphis and Cincinnati. One wonders whether it might not have been better off just dropping the sport.
It is UConn that must be the most put out. The school has spent years building programs, investing in facilities, improving its academics and raising its endowment. They should have spent time encouraging Connecticut residents to procreate and subscribe to cable. Incidentally, the Huskies have won four out of their last six meetings with Louisville.
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