Tuesday is moving day for conference realigners, with Rutgers and Maryland joining the Big Ten and Louisville officially jumping to the ACC, among others.
Consider in 2003, the ACC was comprised of the following schools: Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia and Wake Forest. In 2004, the ACC added Miami and Virginia Tech, a year later Boston College joined the fold.
In 2013, Pitt and Syracuse were added, along with Notre Dame (except for football). And now, the ACC’s replacing Maryland with Louisville, a switch that is a pretty good representation of the driving forces of college athletics.
From Pat Forde’s excellent column on the ACC’s realignment/expansion strategy:
And the very fact that a league loaded with elite schools would take in academic lightweight Louisville is commentary in itself. This was not a move to make the ACC stronger in the U.S. News & World Report rankings; it was a move to make it stronger in the football and basketball rankings, plus a wide array of other sports.
On the playing field, Louisville is a great addition. The surprise is how quickly that has come to pass.
No league has been more aggressive in adding new members to strengthen itself than the ACC. John Swofford & Co. got the realignment ball rolling in the early aughts by raiding the Big East, and the benefits have shown themselves in recent years.
Forde has some astonishing stats about the ACC’s reach, and there’s plenty of good perspective in there. Give it a read while waiting for USA-Belgium to start, if that’s your thing.