CFN Analysis: Louisville To The ACC
Posted Nov 28, 2012

The ACC makes up for the loss of Maryland by bringing on Louisville.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

The addition of Louisville to the Atlantic Coast Conference is one of those rare realignment moves that actually bolsters the quality of a league's football product. Think about that for a second.

The ACC's raiding of the Big East over the past eight years produced Virginia Tech, but it also produced Miami and Boston College. New incoming additions Syracuse and Pittsburgh do not offer high-level football brands, so the "empties" outnumber the "substantials" among the Big East members the ACC has added to its ranks since 2004. Louisville should add some balance – and ballast – to the league. If you're unsure of that point, simply realize that the ACC has – in recent days – filled Maryland's spot with Louisville. That's a significant upgrade, one that leads us to the larger realignment calculus (which is shifting every day, it seems).

As realignment stands, a number of schools in uncomfortable in-between positions would be well advised to stand pat for the moment and wait for a few more dominoes to fall. Connecticut and Cincinnati are the exceptions to this larger dynamic – they rightly wanted to take the spot Louisville has secured. Moreover, they might still go to the ACC in due time and should try to pursue that avenue. However, for most of the schools that are worried about their place in the college sports cosmos – Florida State, Clemson, BYU, Boise State, San Diego State – the best decision at the moment is to stay put and study the politics of the present moment.

Will the ACC use Louisville to offer a more robust football brand that could eventually lure Notre Dame as a full member with some incentives?

Will Texas want to become independent in a few years? That might not be a likely occurrence, but it's possible. Moreover, was Maryland leaving for the Big Ten seen as likely at any point in time before November of 2012? Maybe by a few people, but certainly not by most college sports industry analysts. Curveballs have been thrown throughout this process. Tulane joining Conference USA – errr, uhhh, the Big East – on Tuesday was just such an example.

What will the Pac-12 do? Could Larry Scott make a new run at Oklahoma under political conditions that might make the league's presidents more receptive to the idea of a Pac-16?

How much money will the Big East's television deal fetch? Boise State and San Diego State might be geographically isolated in Conference USA – I mean the Big East – but if the money's good, the Broncos and Aztecs would not want to retreat to the Mountain West.

Cincinnati, UConn, and also South Florida need to get off the island. That much is true. Idaho and New Mexico State need to see if they can land in Conference USA (the actual one, not the new version of the Big East).

For most other schools, however, staying put and waiting – as unsatisfying as it might be – is the best course of action for now… as long as studious political and investigative work is being conducted behind the scenes.