With the ACC poised to add Syracuse and Pittsburgh (and perhaps two more teams) to its ranks sometime in the near future, the league will have to think about how it will structure the conference in terms of divisions.
David Teel of the Daily Press writes today that Virginia Tech AD Jim Weaver is adamantly opposed to a north-south divisional lineup, with Virginia Tech and Virginia joining Maryland, Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and one or two other teams in the North Division (depending on whether Rutgers and U-Conn. join the league). This essentially would re-create the Big East.
Teel also thinks such an alignment would be a bad idea, mainly because he doesn’t want to see one of the new divisions being Big East 2.0, and also because the South Division — Miami, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest — would be much stronger, football-wise.
Instead, Teel proposes simply putting Syracuse in one of the current divisions and Pitt in the other (assuming that the ACC holds at 14 teams).
It’ll be an interesting debate, but I’m not sure I completely agree with a couple of things Teel writes:
“I’d advocate Pitt in the Atlantic, where it could forge an annual football rivalry with Maryland similar to the Terps’ 1970s and ‘80s battles with Penn State. Syracuse to the Coastal would reunite the Orange with Virginia Tech — they had some wild Big East encounters.”
The second part of that paragraph is true: Virginia Tech and Syracuse would be a natural pairing because of their recent history. But I’m not sure anyone’s clamoring for Maryland-Pitt to become a rivalry. First, it’s a bit of a stretch to compare 21st-century Pitt to 20th-century Penn State. Second, I would venture that a better rivalry would be Maryland-Syracuse, two teams that have played 34 times (almost yearly in the 1970s and 1980s). Pittsburgh and Maryland, meanwhile, have played just five times.
“On message boards and Twitter, Virginia Tech fans have been most vocal in their objections, fearing a return to the Hokies’ Big East days of Northeast-centric football. And I imagine Virginia and Maryland faithful would be equally unhappy separated from ACC rivals that date more than half a century.”
Well, sure: Virginia Tech fans would probably rather play the Clemsons and Florida States of the world every season. But Maryland has already felt a sense of isolation from its Southern brethren for years now; would Terrapins fans really be all that upset if they didn’t see Duke or Wake every season?
Here’s how I would break down the 14-team ACC, were I in charge:
ACC MSG DIVISION
ACC GREENSBORO DIVISION
What do you all think? Leave your proposed ACC divisions in the comments.