Expansion deflating to ACC hoops
Expansion has been a hot-button issue with the ACC for a period of years now, and ACC commissioner John Swofford feels he has best positioned the league for the future by adding Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech.
While the lineup of additional schools may not have been exactly what the ACC was hoping for, it certainly strengthens the league in football. However, it takes something away from basketball. The addition of BC, Miami and Virginia Tech changes certain dynamics in the league that has made the ACC different, not to mention, special.
First, the newcomers don't really fit the culture of the ACC, something that was never fully discussed and contemplated before this action was taken.
Second, expansion tinkers with a sacred cow: the ACC's home-and-home schedule. Without both a home and away game against the entire league, there will never again be a true ACC champion -- of the regular season or tournament variety. Tournament seeding is compromised, and there is no guarantee that with added teams, the conference will have additional teams in the NCAA Tournament (unless they beat the top teams in the league).
With BC taking the ACC to 12 teams, there cannot be a 22-game conference schedule. Before adding Boston College, the conference proposed 16-, 18- and 20-game schedules. A 16-game slate carried the day because it would have probably been for only a year, anyway.
As for the 12 teams who will ultimately make up the new ACC, my sense is Notre Dame will someday regret not finishing the deal with the ACC and joining as the 12th team. The deal was blown up by a couple of Irish trustees blinded by tradition, not to mention ACC presidents who wanted Notre Dame to guarantee full participation in football (which would have happened out of necessity).
Expansion may be necessary, and not all change is a bad thing ... otherwise the ACC would still be the Southern Conference. The ACC will still be a great basketball league, it just will never be the same.
And that's too bad.
Jay Bilas is a college basketball analyst at ESPN and a regular contributor to ESPN.com.
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