After months of negotiating and hand-wringing, Syracuse University has been given the go-ahead by the Big East to leave the conference earlier than the 27-month agreement in their contract and will be part of the ACC starting in July 2013.
The move helps the ACC as it tries to solidify itself as a player in the inevitable power conference realignment taking place as the new four-team playoff system and the eternal search for revenue creates a very "dog eat dog" atmosphere.
With the move, the ACC will be the first power football conference with 13 members and hope to add the Pittsburgh Panthers sooner rather than later. If Pitt can get a similar buyout, then the ACC can work on restructuring their divisions and look forward to a very potent basketball conference in the coming years. On the other hand, after much squabbling, the Panthers appear to be content on a 2014 entrance for a lower exit fee of around 5 million dollars.
As we learned from the last hostile takeover with the Big East, conference expansion has been anything but smooth for the ACC.
First was the fact that Syracuse and not Virginia Tech was supposed to be one of the three schools changing allegiances to the ACC. Then came the result that not all three schools even came at the same time.
If the ACC has to play 2013 with 13 teams, how will that impact the divisions?
Still, with so much to happen between now and then, the ACC should just be happy to be one step closer towards its ultimate plan of sticking around and gaining respect nationally.
With 14 teams soon to be under the conference flag and an agreement with the Orange Bowl and possibly Notre Dame in a major bowl game, where will the ACC go now?
The better question may be, where will the Big East go?
The fact that Big East commissioner Joe Bailey would claim that "the future of the conference has never been brighter" in the Syracuse press release is laughable.
With eight football-only schools stretching from Connecticut to California, the Big East has sold their soul to try and keep their already meager football conference afloat.
Sure people will point out that the ACC has had worse BCS success than even the Big East, but those schools that brought respectability are the ones jumping ship.
Cincinnati, Connecticut and Louisville are all programs that lack the historical foundation to be flagship programs of a conference.
Their recruiting classes over the past five years have paled in comparison to the ACC and it seems clear that the top programs like West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse knew it was time to jump from the sinking ship.
If the ACC can poach Connecticut, another likely target that fits the profile of a school from that conference, how many more defections can the program take?
Syracuse may not have had much success in recent years, but they are a program rich in tradition and prestige. Their basketball and lacrosse programs are one the best in the country in their respective sport.
Without question, Syracuse is a great addition to the ACC in all sports.
The ACC fans are just glad it's an addition that they need not wait on much longer.
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