ESPN reported Wednesday morning that ACC presidents and chancellors voted to admit Louisville as a conference member to replace outgoing Maryland. The Cardinals will likely join after the 2014 season. Louisville was selected over Cincinnati, Navy and UConn. This comes a day after the Big East voted to add Tulane and East Carolina as members.
Here are some thoughts from the latest round of realignment:
* This is the latest news in a humiliating year for the Big East. Louisville joins West Virginia, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Syracuse as teams that have left the Big East within the last two seasons. Certainly East Carolina and Tulane won’t make up for the losses of these schools. The ACC is looking very much like a combination of the old Big East and the Big East is looking very much like Conference USA.
* Could this be the last straw for the basketball contingent of the Big East? UConn and Louisville are the only schools really holding that faction together at this point, and UConn badly wants out of the league. There could be a split in the near future.
* This isn’t the end of realignment. The Big 12 won’t stay with a 10 team conference, and you have to think the SEC (14) and Big 10 (14) will be looking to increase their numbers to 16, adding what’s left of the Big East or even more teams from the ACC. If the ACC gets raided again, Connecticut and Cincinnati could get invites. Or perhaps the ACC will preemptively move to a 16 team league.
* What say you now, Rick Pitino? This is a quote from him in February: “If you’re asking me personally, I’m a Big East guy through thick and thin,” Pitino, a native New Yorker, said in February. “To me, I wouldn’t mind dying a Big East coach. So for me to play in Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament, to be a Big East coach is very special for me.” Pitino and SU coach Jim Boeheim then got in a heated exchange at Big East media day. Well, Pitino looks very much the fool now for saying all of that.
* Talent-wise, the ACC has improved. Maryland football (or for that matter, basketball) hasn’t been relevant recently, and Louisville has been at the top of the Big East for the last several years. In fact, Louisville will be playing Rutgers this week in what will be the de facto Big East championship game. And basketball? Think about Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, Louisville, UNC and Duke in the same conference now. Scary.
* Picture this situation happening in football this week. Louisville beats Rutgers. Cincinnati loses to UConn. That would mean that Syracuse, Rutgers and Louisville will all hold a share of the Big East title. All three schools will be gone by the 2014 season.
* The Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden has lost so much of its luster. Does anyone seriously want to see Tulane playing SMU in New York City in March? Yeah, I didn’t think so.