Syracuse Orange: Offseason Ramblings on the Big East-ACC Move
I'm sure somewhere Big East commissioner Jon Marinatto is laughing as he smashes his toy Orange and Panther after having a love/hate moment with his Mountaineer.
This season and subsequent offseason led to Big East-ACC comparisons with the news that both Pitt and Syracuse would leave the former for the latter. More damage was done when West Virginia fled the sinking ship for the Big 12.
However, when the Big East finished its bowl season 3-2 with victories over the Big 12, SEC and a thumping of the ACC in the Orange Bowl, there were questions as to the actual quality of both conferences.
For the sake of comparison, the ACC was 2-6 in its bowl games, losing both BCS games with its victories coming against the Big East and Notre Dame.
I have never been a fan of comparing conferences by how they fare in bowl games. But the Big East-ACC debate was blown open with West Virginia's 70-33 annihilation of Clemson in the Orange Bowl
Thus fans have to wonder: How will Syracuse fare in the ACC?
As I previously wrote, the Orange are hoping that they end up in the Atlantic Division rather than the Coastal for the sake of avoiding yearly contests with Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami.
The move to the ACC already has helped Syracuse in recruiting, and the talent infusion that comes from this move will help the Orange contend with the other members of the ACC.
Which is the better conference?
However, the main reason that the Orange will be able to "turn the corner" in the ACC is revenue. The ACC-ESPN football deal is huge for the Orange.
When looking at Syracuse, the Orange facilities do not compare with those at similar schools and is definitely hurting recruiting. Unfortunately, unlike oranges, facilities do not grow on trees, and television money is the No. 1 way to gain revenue for an average team.
The 12-year, ACC-ESPN deal is worth more than $1.86 billion and will surely be reworked with the addition of Syracuse and Pitt. This money will surely help the Orange in their quest to become the "top tier program" again.
Finally, the ACC brings more prestige and exposure. An average ACC team may not be as good as an average Big East team. But an ACC team will get far more media attention because of the strength of schedule within the conference, and that will lead to rankings.
If the Orange had put on last season's performance in the ACC, maybe they would have received a few AP votes. Or maybe not.
Maybe this is all speculation and the ACC is not as good as the Big East. After all, turning the corner has as much to do with coaching and talent as the conference you play in.
The Orange need more of the latter and are still working on the former.
West Virginia's win in the Orange Bowl only shows dominance by one team. And Syracuse beat that team in the middle of the season.
That's what makes all of this even more confusing for those trying to rank the ACC against the Big East.
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