ACC Expansion: Programs That Would Make the Conference Competitive Immediately

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 15:  Rick Pitino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to Montrezl Harrell #24 during the game against the Samford Bulldogs at KFC YUM! Center on November 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the ever-changing world of college sports, it is important to stay active in order to not fall behind the pack.

The continued threat of conference expansion has forced the ACC to keep adding teams quicker than they can leave. 

According to Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports, that addition could come soon. The conference will vote on a replacement for Maryland after the College Park school decided to leave for the Big Ten.

While there could at some point be 16 teams, it is likely that only one will be added at this time. 

So who will be the lucky bachelor?

It would have to be a school with a solid football program to bring in money, as well as being on par with the rich basketball history of the Atlantic Coast Conference. A solid market and good academics would also be attractive.

These organizations would be the best choices for the ACC at this time.



As far as history is concerned, Louisville has the strongest resume of any of the possible teams.

The football team has been strong in the past 20 years as a member of Conference USA and then the Big East. In 2006, the Cardinals won the Orange Bowl under Bobby Petrino.

There is also a rich history of past players that includes older players like Johnny Unitas and Tom Jackson as well as current stars like Elvis Dumervil and David Akers.

In addition, the basketball program has won two national championships and has been to the Final Four nine times, including last season.

Finally, while this is a long-term decision, Louisville will be most likely to produce immediate results. The football team is currently 9-2 and looking for a Big East Championship, while the basketball team is in the Top Five of the AP Poll.

With little history in any conference, the move would be an easy sell to the program's supporters and it would get done with little problems.



Connecticut cannot come close to matching Louisville as far as football history is concerned, but the program is on the rise.

Although the program only recently joined FBS, the Huskies have won shares of two Big East Championships and made an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl in 2010.

This is nothing compared to the basketball team, which won three national championships under Jim Calhoun. While this does not bring in the money as much as football, it matches the spirit of the ACC as a basketball conference.

UConn also brings in academic quality as the No. 63 rated university, according to the U.S. News and World Report.

It would also continue the geographic trend of moving Northeast along with Boston College, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The familiarity between these programs will make for an easy transition as the conference continues to grow.



Although Memphis is planning on moving from Conference USA to the Big East, various schools are beginning to contemplate the move. 

According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN, Boise State, San Diego State and BYU are starting to reconsider moving back to the Mountain West after realizing that the Big East no longer offers a competitive advantage.

Memphis could also make the decision that a move to the ACC would be more beneficial from both a financial and competitive perspective.

This addition would help the ACC gain more markets to the west without making a great geographic leap. 

While adding the Tigers would be more of a long shot, it is a school that is worth considering.



If the ACC is only going to add one team, it is likely to be Connecticut. This school has made it known that it wants to make a move for a long time and it already fits the profile of a solid ACC team, both athletically and academically.

The Huskies do not want to be left in the Big East during its potential collapse.