Conference shuffle

ACC personal holds first down marker during the first home game of the season against Ohio State. Marlena Skrobe//Photo Editor

The college athletic landscape is changing.

Over the past two years, the talk behind the scenes of both athletic programs and the conferences they are attached to has been whether they are the right fit for each other.

Last year, the change began with the University of Nebraska deciding to bolt the Big 12 for the Big Ten, and the Pac-10 adding Colorado and Utah to become the Pac-12. You could hear the term “super-conference” being thrown around, alluding to just a handful of new 14-16 team conferences shaping college athletics.

Looking at what has taken place, the ACC decided that it didn’t want to get left behind and added two new members, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. This move only furthers the prospect of the super-conference eventually taking form, and probably sooner rather than later.

But what does this all mean to Miami and the other teams in the ACC?

For one, it means that the ACC isn’t going anywhere; in fact, it is positioning itself to be among the leaders in this movement. Just a few months ago, there were rumors that the SEC was interested in adding Florida State and Clemson. Rather than risk that, this ensures the ACC remains near the top of the food chain.

“We are constantly evaluating the competitive landscape to ensure the conference’s viability for years to come, and this, I believe, has staying power,” ACC Commissioner John Swafford said on a conference call.

Athletically, this essentially makes the ACC the premier conference for collegiate basketball. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are both nationally renowned programs that are always in the mix come March Madness.

For Miami, this only makes it more challenging, as they have yet to play anywhere near the same level as the Pittsburghs, the Dukes or the North Carolinas. However, if they are able to perform well, it would give them that much more credibility as well.

Sadly the same cannot be said about the new football programs, as both teams have struggled on the field for the majority of the past decade. But that in itself may ease the Canes’ road to the ACC championship, a milestone they have yet to reach since leaving the Big East themselves in 2004.

So for now, the move appears to be a solid one that has the potential to become a monumental one. Currently at 14 teams, it would not be surprising to see another two added to the ACC in the near future. Reportedly, both the University of Connecticut and Rutgers are interested, and there may be even more potential suitors after the remaining conferences start making their moves.

The landscape of college athletics is on the cusp of a major makeover. Should be fun to see how it all ends up.

September 21, 2011


Ernesto Suarez

Sports Editor

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