Orange Watch: Syracuse needs to move to ACC ASAP

What’s the fastest way for Syracuse to begin as a playing member of the ACC in all sports?

Show the Big East the money.  After all, isn’t that what it’s going to come down to?

The faster the Big East and West Virginia settle their lawsuit with a monetary figure, the faster the Mountaineers are able to bolt to the Big 12 which they have already told the Big East in no uncertain terms that they intend to begin competing next year, with the domino effect that SU (and Pittsburgh) will know what the numbers are if they want to bolt prior to the 27-month period as stipulated in the league’s bylaws.

That’s June of 2014, light years away when it comes to the seemingly weekly changes to the look and feel of major college football affiliations, rivalries, and unfortunately, the future increased travel for fan bases in the new wacky geography of conference realignment.  It simply doesn’t seem fathomable that SU will still be competing in the Big East that far out, and again, the attorneys are going to negotiate what it’s going to take to move the process along.

The $5 million dollar exit payment could increase to $15 million or even $20 million to be granted a waiver to leave early, an awfully steep price when you consider, at least in the case of the ‘Cuse, the desperate need for an indoor football practice facility and other improvements for the sport to keep up with the ongoing facilities race of BCS schools, even more pronounced with the eventual move to the ACC.

Unless there’s an Orange Jeannie in a bottle somewhere to grant a wish, that kind of money is not practical.

Ever so coy and diplomatic as he has been throughout the entire process from the out-of-nowhere September conference switch announcement, through the end of a five-game losing streak concluding a deflating 5-7 football season, Orange AD Daryl Gross continues to take a low-key approach to speculating on when the school will actually begin a milestone chapter in its storied athletic history.

“We’ve been respectful of the entire process with (commissioner) John (Marinatto) making his announcement (of adding five new schools on Wednesday),” Gross told nj.com and other media earlier this week at the Sports Business Journal/IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York.  “I think they’re putting together what the new Big East is going to look like. As they go forward to put together multimedia deals and all that stuff, they’re going to need us to move out of the way. We’re waiting for that.”

That shouldn’t take more than one season, and besides, logistics become an issue at some point as the ACC holds its football meetings, including scheduling, in January.

Even if the SU plays 2012 football in the Big East with WVU and Pitt, the schedule is still minus two games, and either way Big East/ACC, it won’t be an easy course for a team that will not have won a game since the previous Oct. 21 when it’s scheduled to kick off on Sept. 1 in the Dome against Northwestern.

With the craziness and desperation to stay in the BCS football business necessitating a coast-to-coast football footprint for the Big East, the mere stability and relative closeness of new rivals in the inevitable move to the ACC $hould logically happen $ooner than later.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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