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Texas and the ACC Football Superconference Divisions

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IJanuary 6, 2017

Texas and the ACC Football Superconference Divisions

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    Texas coach Mack Brown once coached in the ACC when he was at North Carolina.

    He probably never expected to move back in that conference while with the Longhorns.

    Welcome to the chaos of conference expansion. The recent moves around the landscape of college football have been felt in just about every conference except the ACC—a league that made their big move in 2003 when it gained Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech.

    Well, that move towards a football conference certainly has not paid off the way ACC commissioner John Swofford and company anticipated.

    No fear though, now there is a report that Texas may be jumping to the ACC. While the move seems entirely insane, it makes sense from a strict economic standpoint.

    The ACC would let the Longhorns keep their TV network—something that the Pac-12 will not, and something that is killing the Big 12 conference as we speak.

    Considering TCU is joining the Big East soon, maybe this is the future.

    If it is, the ACC cannot stop there. So what will their new super-conference look like?

    Let's examine.

Atlantic: Texas

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    Coastal Rival: Virginia Tech

    The Texas Longhorns will now become the "it" team of the ACC.

    For the ACC, it gives them a huge market to tap into—for Texas, it allows them to reap the benefits of their TV network.

    Texas is also a school that fits the ACC profile. They too can play basketball, baseball and many of the other non-revenue sports that the ACC boast some of the best and brightest.

    They give credibility to a league that has been a one-trick pony behind Virginia Tech in recent years.

    The Longhorns should bring some interesting new rivalries and that is why they are going to be paired against the Hokies each year.

    Coach Frank Beamer's career was made early with a big victory over Texas in the Sugar Bowl; maybe that renewed rivalry could reap some great games.

Atlantic: Florida State

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    Coastal Rival: Miami

    Not to be outdone in the battle for Atlantic supremacy would be the Florida State Seminoles.

    Coach Jimbo Fisher has the boys from Tallahassee on pace to return to the pantheon of college football. Having Texas in their division should provide great contests, and their rivalry with Miami can remain intact.

    Florida State is looking to be the stars of the new-look ACC and dominate like they did when they first joined the conference in the early 1990s.

    The presence of Texas, and an increased buyout for a team to leave, could keep the Seminoles in the ACC and not allow them to bolt to the SEC.

Atlantic: Maryland

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    Coastal Rival: Virginia

    What was I talking about again?  Oh sorry, I got distracted by those ugly uniforms.

    The Terrapins have a good thing going in the ACC and they are not going to give it up. New coach Randy Edsall probably does not need the addition of blue bloods like Texas entering his conference, let alone his division. It cannot help him when contract time comes along.

    Nevertheless, Maryland should be a team that can still post winning seasons and occasionally challenge for the top half of the Atlantic Division.

Atlantic: North Carolina State

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    Coastal Rival: Clemson

    The Wolfpack are not moving from the Atlantic Division.

    Their head coach, however, probably will.

    North Carolina State has under-achieved under Tom O'Brien, much like it did under his predecessor Chuck Amato. Now that the Wolfpack have to deal with Florida State, Texas and their new coastal rival Clemson, things will not get any easier.

    Changes usually come in bunches—when the ACC re-aligns, so will many programs and O'Brien will probably be one of the casualties.

    Watching quarterback Russell Wilson put up Heisman-type numbers in Wisconsin certainly will not help his cause either.

Atlantic: Syracuse

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    Coastal Rival: West Virginia

    The Syracuse Orange will be the second of four new teams introduced to the ACC family.

    Syracuse was a team that the ACC wanted back in 2003 when they expanded to 12 teams. It took some pleading from Virginia's governor at the time, Mark Warner, to get the ACC to put Virginia Tech in instead.

    The Orange provide not only a rich football history, a strong basketball program and good academics, but also the New York city market. All those things really make the move a no-brainer, particularly if the Big East is going to dissolve in this super-conference frenzy.

    Syracuse is going to have a hard time making a dent in the ACC standings, but it will be fun to see them try.

Atlantic: Wake Forest

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    Coastal Rival: Georgia Tech

    Oh, Wake Forest...you want this conference re-alignment about as badly as I want a root canal.

    Since the Demon Deacons inexplicably won the ACC title in 2006, things have gone the wrong direction. Two straight losing seasons and just one ACC win in 2010.

    Adding Texas to your lot will really make things tough on head coach Jim Grobe, who is only behind Frank Beamer currently for longest tenured coaches in the ACC.

    Wake fans are used to disappointment, but this could get ugly.

Atlantic: Boston College

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    Coastal Rival: Connecticut

    Boston College has always been a sneaky team in the ACC, and I imagine that will still be true in the new power conference.

    The Eagles find a way to pick up big conference wins. They have been a thorn in the side of Virginia Tech in years past and have found their way to the ACC Championship game numerous times.

    They may not be flashy, but they are efficient and they will continue to pick up winning records in the ACC.

    If they keep finding running backs like Montel Harris, they can do more than that.

Atlantic: Duke

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    As we all know, Duke is, well, Duke.

    Coach Dave Cutcliffe has worked hard to make the team respectable and he knows how to groom quarterbacks like Sean Renfree.

    However, at the end of the day, Duke needs to switch divisions to add another bottom feeder in a stacked Atlantic Division.

    The Blue Devils will love taking on the Longhorns in basketball, but in football things could get scary.

    On the other hand, maybe this is the kind of thing that will boost recruiting and let Cutcliffe really turn Duke into a bowl team.

    Yeah...probably not.

Coastal: Virginia Tech

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    Atlantic Rival: Texas

    Virginia Tech remains the elite team in the Coastal Division.

    While the Hokies may have SEC aspirations, this re-alignment could be the best thing to happen for them.

    Texas gives the ACC legitimacy. It allows the Hokies to have an actual chance to play for a national championship because an undefeated season would be weighted more with the increased competition.

    In the SEC, winning the championship is like avoiding a mine field. It would take time to adjust and really compete with the best conference in football for a title.

    Frank Beamer is a legendary coach, but he is also an older coach. This would represent his best chance to play for another national championship.

Coastal: Clemson

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    Atlantic Rival: North Carolina State

    Clemson is going to have to move divisions to even the playing field.

    The Tigers miss out on their Florida State rivalry but now get a slightly easier road to a conference title.

    Clemson has more ACC football tradition than any school really and could benefit from the change of scenery.

    They still have one of the best stadium atmospheres and could pull off some big wins against high-caliber competition.

    Coach Dabo Swinney knows about the pressure that comes with coaching at Clemson. The increased competition could bring out the best or the worst in his players, but my bet is on the former.

Coastal: Georgia Tech

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    Atlantic Rival: Wake Forest

    Since the ACC went to divisions, it has been the battle of the Techs.

    Georgia Tech will still be one of the premiere programs in the Coastal Division, particularly with coach Paul Johnson at the helm.

    The Yellow Jackets will benefit from the increased competition in their division and an easier Atlantic rival to boot.

    It will be great to see how the option offense will work against the newer teams, and it will be even better to see Georgia Tech's games carry more meaning now to a national audience.

Coastal: Miami

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    Atlantic Rival: Florida State

    Oh yeah...don't forget about the U!

    Miami is going through a tough time with costly NCAA allegations, but let us not forget why the ACC wanted them in the first place.

    The Hurricanes will once again become a top 10 football program, with or without coach Al Golden, and bring much needed respect to the conference.

Coastal: North Carolina

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    Atlantic Rival: Duke

    North Carolina just keeps on ticking.

    They dumped their coach Butch Davis, and their defense continues to look NFL-caliber.

    The Tar Heels will be in a tougher division now, but the result should be the same.

    North Carolina will continue to post winning seasons and finishing in the middle of the pack. They have had trouble living up to expectations, particularly with their talent.

    While the room for growth is there, can they keep ahead of Miami, Virginia Tech and the others to really compete for a conference crown?

Coastal: Virginia

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    Atlantic Rival: Maryland

    Coach Mike London has done a great job resurrecting the dormant Virginia football program. The improvement in recruiting has started to pay dividends.

    On one hand, the increased exposure and challenge of the conference can help lure top-notch talent to the Cavaliers.

    On the other hand, it gets much easier to get lost in the shuffle.

    Even if the ACC were to collapse, Virginia has a great deal to offer any super conference with their overall athletic program, even if football has struggled.

    Hopefully, London will get a chance to show everyone what the Cavaliers are capable of.

Coastal: West Virginia

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    Atlantic Rival: Syracuse

    West Virginia is our third addition and a welcome one.

    Granted, some of the ACC snobs may not approve of adding West Virginia, but the Mountaineers make sense. The Virginia Tech rivalry was heated and provided some great drama when both were in the Big East.

    West Virginia often plays Maryland already, and scrimmages with Virginia in basketball and other sports.

    The Mountaineers are one of the top football programs left to poach from the Big East and could really provide some entertainment throughout the year.

    It would also give West Virginia a great opportunity to gain national respectability, since the last few times the Mountaineers broke through to the BCS, people thought it was based solely on an easy conference.

Coastal: Connecticut

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    Atlantic Rival: Boston College

    Connecticut is our final new team.

    While the Huskies may not be a big time college football presence, they fit the ACC mold in many ways. From their academics to the depth of their athletic program, Connecticut acts like an ACC team in many respects.

    I doubt I need to remind you where Maryland's coach used to be before he joined the Terrapins.

    Virginia's former University President John Casteen was President of the University of Connecticut for goodness sake.

    Connecticut would help fill a gap in the northeast corner of the map to join Boston College and Syracuse in an otherwise sparse area of the ACC.

    Boston College has always felt like the odd team out in the ACC, so now they can feel more natural with closer rivals.

    Of course, what does that mean for Texas?

    Who cares, let's bring on basketball season!

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