Thursday, May 15, 2008

Voices From Beyond

For a topic as important (in the world of college football) as the ACC Raid on the Big East there is value to be found in hearing diverse opinions so columnists and fellow bloggers were invited to join in the discussion. While the BCF is firm in the belief that the ACC raid was merely a greed driven endenvor that has not worked out like planned, other will see the events differnetly and that different points of view have tremendous value.

Matt Zemek of posted the following comment to this blog
Swofford is counting on market penetration and diversity (provided primarily by Boston and Miami) to ultimately make this a plus for the ACC. By getting more cosmopolitan markets to follow what has been a primarily Southern conference, Swofford hoped to create a revenue colossus even more than a sports colossus. (This is consistent with Swofford's view of the BCS as healthy; it's not the championships, but the money coming into conference coffers.)

What Swofford and the ACC ignored in their hubris was the simple reality that the ACC has niche schools, and niche schools are hard to shake from their identity once it's been established. Florida St. is a football school, Duke and UNC basketball schools, with most of the other ACC charter members being hoops schools as well. Trying to "football-ize" the conference with Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech had a certain degree of logic to it, but the move has served to pressure FSU, which gave the ACC regular exposure to and participation in big-time bowl games.

The other thing Swofford overlooked is that increased and lengthened travel--with Boston and Miami now being ACC markets--creates more parity on the playing field.

We'll see where we are in 5 years, but for now, it's nice to see Swofford's BCS arrogance being tempered by internal realities such as the paltry attendance of the ACC Championship Game.

Matt Zemek
College Football News

Drew Howard College Gridiron Boss

My initial thinking of the "raid" was that the ACC would become a football powerhouse and the Big East would become a basketball powerhouse. The ACC has without question improved due to adding Virginia Tech and Boston College, but Miami really has been on a downswing since coming to the league. The interesting thing about Miami was that before coming to the ACC the big knock on their team was they would only have to play 1 or 2 quality teams each year in able to reach the national championship game. The interesting thing about the Big East is there's really not a whole lot of talent in the league, especially with the teams who are on top. The team with the most talent according to is actually Pittsburgh. Pat White, Steve Slaton, and Ray Rice were all 3 star players. To me, when I see that amount of success and that little talent, I turn to the head coaches as the reason behind the team's success.

Being somebody who believes the head coach is the most important factor to the success or failure of a program, I would say the success of the Big East is due to the coaches. That being said, the maintained success of the conference is going to rely heavily on which coaches are running the programs. In the near future I see some fall off in the conference due to these coaching turnaround. Bobby Petrino leaving Louisville is the most recent example of the value of the coach. He was essentially the only piece missing from that 2006 team, and in 2007 they were incredibly mediocre. Brian Kelly at Cincinnati is a great hire, but how long will it be before he gets snatched up by a more high profile team. The loss of Rich Rodriguez is really going to hurt West Virginia. The effect of his loss may not be felt this year, but certainly a few years down the line once Pat White is gone. Greg Schiano is another coach who is likely to leave if the right school (Penn State) comes knocking. Jim Leavitt and Randy Edsall are two coaches who have elevated their programs to unthinkable levels in the time that they've been coaches. Unfortunately due to the conference schools not being as high profile, or willingness to shell out big time cash for their coaches, every school is prone to losing their coach to another school. If these coaches all leave the conference and the next hires aren't up to par, the conference could really nose dive.

The surprising thing to me about the Big East is they haven't brought in any other schools to the conference. I was assuming that they would have expanded or disbanded as a BCS conference at this stage in the game. As long as there's no pressure from the NCAA to add schools, the teams in the Big East have a far easier path than any other BCS conference to reach a BCS game and the BCS National Championship.

The ACC has in a sense underperformed, but there are 2 sleeping giants at Miami and Florida State that are just aching to be awakened. Many of these issues in the conference have been coaching related as well. Miami really hasn't had the swagger that they were used to the past 20 years or so. Florida State is in a bad situation with Bobby Bowden in the sense that he's the legendary coach who's leveled off success wise and isn't ready to step down just yet. Once those two programs get the right coach in there, there's enough talent to propel them right back to the top (assuming they both find a quarterback).

The conference has greatly upgraded their coaching situations as of late. The additions of David Cutcliffe at Duke and Butch Davis at North Carolina are big time hires from programs who could really use the help. The fact that Davis did not pursue the Arkansas job leads me to believe he will be there for some time.

I can go on and on about the quality of coaches in the ACC, but I think from here on out we're going to essentially start to see the fruition of the ACC/Big East shakeup come to it's true form in the next 5 yrs once the coaching situations start to shift in favor of the ACC and away from the Big East.

Brian Harrison--Orange::44

The perspective of Syracuse in the Big East/ACC Conflict is an interesting one. Syracuse was on the inside at the start. Former Athletic Director Jake Crouthamel, one of the founding fathers of the Big East Conference, was in on talks to include Syracuse moving to the ACC with Virginia Tech and Miami. Somewhere along the way the ACC stopped being interested in Syracuse. Syracuse then shifted into damage control mode. Syracuse joined with other Big East schools, including Boston College, to possibly sue Miami and Virginia Tech for leaving the conference. Then, after a pledge by the BC Athletic Director, a week later Boston College jumped with VTech and The U. There was a very strong hatred of all things ACC, southern, anything maroon, powder blue, or from North Carolina by any Big East loyalist. There was talk of the Big East losing its participation in the BCS. There was a big impending feeling that the Big East conference was on borrowed time, and when the BCS contract expired, the Big East members might as well have been 1-AA teams.

Then something happened. There was an idea that there was something else to be done. We simply had to do to another conference what the ACC did to us. Obviously football makes the world go round when it comes to college athletics. So it was important to lock up more teams. Connecticut was going to join the Big East in football anyway, so they just upgraded a year sooner. Then we added Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. So the Big East Farewell Tour began. Syracuse played each team again, the most hated being Boston College. Any Big East fan knew that VTech and Miami were elite teams, and honestly it made sense geographically for them to bolt, but the deceit and shadiness of Boston College was too much for any Syracuse fan to take. Syracuse beat BC both at home and away one last time and that was good enough temporally.

Then there was the basketball element. The Big East had solid teams already. Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, and Pittsburgh were already well established. But adding the likes of Louisville, Marquette, and Cincinnati to basketball was simply excellent for basketball fans. The Big East became a 16 team superleague. The best byproduct of acquiring new teams for football was acquiring the best basketball league in the nation.

Meanwhile, while we were all enjoying the success of basketball, the football league did just fine. In the 2007 season South Florida was ranked as high as #2. Connecticut finished ranked in the top 25. West Virginia finished in the top ten in the nation and won a convincing victory in the Fiesta Bowl. Finally Big East football had its respect back. The BCS bid is locked up most likely.

ACC Ya! became the motto since 2003 and it seems like the whole situation seems like entire thing is a distant memory. Everyone loves the 16 team basketball league, the football league is solid, and the other sports are benefiting from new competition. I think most people have let the entire ACC thing go, although the normal animosity still appears for the ACC in general, as well as Boston College, a longtime rival of Syracuse and other Big East schools. But really, overall I would argue the Big East is better now than it was then. While Virginia Tech and Miami were excellent football programs, West Virginia and other schools have clearly picked up the pace, and even the lower tier football programs are on the way up (yes even Syracuse). While I am without question a Big East homer, I can still appreciate the objective view of the entire thing, and clearly The Big East is still one of the best in any sport and should enjoy success for many years to come. And just for the record... BC sucks and always will, Virginia Tech sucks and Miami swallows, and Georgetown still sucks!


Anonymous Orange Blood said...

I'd like to add something I think will happen starting this year.

The ACC title game has been played with ex-BE schools, but the real intersting point is that starting this year, there are no more players on any of those teams that were recruited to play against BE teams, and Beamer is the only BE coach left. I believe MU will now become a true ACC school; VT will always be the same choke artists they were in the BE but that they will contend for the ACC title as long as Beamer is there; but BC...oooh BC. They will be the biggest losers here. What kid from the south is going to want to go through the culture shock of going to Boston, just to play teams in the south anyway. When they were in the BE, talent in the NE would go there because they would still play within 400 miles of home. Not now. Rutgers, UConn, and Syracuse are going to start taking that talent from BC, and the BC will be left to recruit left overs and JuCos.

Yes I dislike BC but how can they compete for they talent they used to get, by being in the ACC? Matt Ryan was recruited to play in the North East against the BE, you saw what he did to the ACC. Swofford took the teams, but you can't take the recruiting base with you.

10:57 PM  

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