Dear ACC Commisioner Swofford: Expand with Penn State and West Virginia

Glenn PettyAnalyst ISeptember 21, 2011

Dear Commissioner Swofford:

We write today to retract what we said yesterday. (Sorry.)

Yesterday, we advocated that Notre Dame and West Virginia join the ACC.  We were wrong. (Sorry, again.)

Upon further review—and yes, the voices in our heads are on a continuous annoying loop—we have decided that the most logical newbies would be West Virginia and Penn State.

Now, you and the university presidents may be coveting UConn and Rutgers due to your fascination with the Northeast television audience, but take a moment to consider our proposal.

We understand that you are afflicted with an intense focus on the Northeast simply because you correctly believe that the millions of people who live between Piscataway, NJ and Storrs, CT will increase A(ME)CC viewership and give the league even more leverage for the next time you visit the ESPN/FoxSports/CBS ATM cash machine otherwise known as the league’s television contract.

That said, let’s forget about money for just a moment…

Whoa, that was scary!  Are you OK?  We promise, we will never say that again…

OK, we won’t forget the money…but, we will set it aside for the purposes of this proposal.

In terms of geography and tradition, and, HEAVEN FORBID, common sense, the Mountaineers and the Nittany Lions seem like perfect fits.


Penn State is sort of the odd school out in the Big Ten. They don’t really have a natural rivalry with the Big 10 football powers Ohio State (12-12), Michigan (the WVU Wikipedia page doesn’t list the Wolverines as a current or dormant rival...) or Michigan State (12-3) of any duration or intensity.  Who cares about Penn State vs. Iowa or Penn State vs. Illinois? 

Back in the old days, the biggest game on PSU’s schedule was against Pitt. The Pennsylvania Classic was a great example of two in-state rivals that hated each other. They last played in 2000—a crime of sorts for two football schools a mere 130 miles apart.

From 1917 to 1993, Joe Pa's Lions used to stomp Maryland on a regular basis.  Just kidding—of course Joe Pa wasn’t there in 1917, it just seems like it.

However, in that time span Penn State won 35 of 37 games with the Terps managing but one win in 1961 (which, coincidentally, was the year Maryland became the first school to put the player's names on the back of their uniforms). There was one tie in 1989.  So, why not give the men from College Park a chance at some revenge over their State College rival?

West Virginia is so obvious, we can’t stand it.  They are adept at both football and basketball.  They have enough crazy working to create a rock solid lacrosse program.  Add to those qualifications existing rivalries with Maryland, Virginia Tech, Pitt and to some extent, Miami—all their old buddies from the Big (L)East—and they'll have A(ME)CC written all over Morgantown (Yeah, it'll be spray paint, but it will be\ written).

Also, starting in 1904, and then continuously from 1947 to 1992, Penn State played the Mountaineers. The Nit-Lions led the series when it ended 48-9-2.  The WVU faithful last burned a couch over this one in 1988 when West Virginia clobbered PSU 51-30.

In conclusion, the geography makes sense and brings more of the big Pennsylvania audience for the coveted remote control demographic, and the rivalries work.  Finally, the Mountaineers burn couches for crying out loud!

It’s a no-brainer.

The new A(ME)CC [Atlantic (Mountain and East) Coast Conference]:


Syracuse, Boston College, Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech.


North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami. 

If you want four divisions with four teams each, that’s easy too, but we don’t see the point.

North Northern Division: Syracuse, Boston College, Penn State and Pitt

North Southern Division: West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech

South Northern Division: North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke and Wake Forest

South Southern Division: Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Miami

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


The Entire Staff of


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