ACC Expansion: Pittsburgh and Syracuse Leaving the Big East, Who's Next?

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange looks on from the bench during the first half against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

News broke earlier this week that 10 schools inquired about membership into the ACC. Only two schools have been confirmed, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Now, they've been unanimously voted to join the conference.

This has been a busy week for the ACC. First, they made sure the conference wouldn't fold, much like we're seeing with the Big 12 and maybe the Big East now, by increasing the buyout from an average of $13 million to $20 million if a team decided to leave for another conference. (That vote was also unanimous.)

Now the ACC is growing and, for the time being, just became the largest conference of the future.

It would be surprising if they're actually done; adding 16 teams seems like the logical solution.

The ACC has had a large geographical gap since adding Boston College to the conference in 2005. The closest school to Chestnut Hill was Maryland.

Now that the gap has been filled, where does the conference look next?

With the addition of these two schools, the ACC becomes an even stronger basketball conference, but it really doesn't do much for football. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have had good football programs in the past, but have always been basketball schools.

If the ACC wants to become stronger at football, they have a chance to do that with Texas. Plus, the Longhorns have a very good basketball program as well, so it's a win-win situation.

It's been rumored that the Longhorns would decide between the Pac-12 and the ACC if the Big 12 dissolves. A previous benefit of joining the ACC for Texas was only one long trip, which would be to Chestnut Hill; you can now add Syracuse, N.Y. to the list.

The Longhorns would also have a lot of traveling if they joined the Pac-12. Texas doesn't fit into either conference geographically, but it doesn't seem that conferences really care anymore.

If the ACC adds Texas, it would be a huge move for the conference as far as football is concerned. Connecticut and Rutgers have also been rumored to join the ACC. Adding Connecticut would further strengthen basketball, but it wouldn't do a lot for football, and Rutgers joining the conference really wouldn't do much for either of the conference's biggest moneymakers.

For now, the ACC has 14 schools. It's still unknown when Pittsburgh and Syracuse will start ACC play, but one would have to think either next season or the year after at the latest.

Now the race for the final two begins. Who do you think the ACC will target?