The ACC Replaces Maryland with Louisville

Andy Lyons

The ACC voted this morning to add the Louisville Cardinals of the Big East to remain at 14 schools. The Cardinals will replace the Maryland Terrapins, who announced last week they're leaving for the Big Ten.

When it came to replacing Maryland the ACC acted swiftly, and it apparently came down to two candidates: UConn or Louisville. While UConn seemed the front-runner early, Louisville's FOOTBALL program?!? Wait is that right...? Yep, after checking the article from SI.com's Pete Thamel we linked to above, it was indeed Louisville's rising football program led by not-good-enough-for-Joel-Maturi head coach Charlie Strong that got the Cardinals the nod over the Huskies. The Cards also bring a perennial hoops power too led by Rick Pitino. According to Thamel and other "sources" around the interwebs, Florida State was pushing for another football school instead of UConn, and the hope here from the ACC has to be that the Seminoles, who were flirting with the Big XII and were one of only two schools (Maryland the other) to vote against the ACC's new-but-maybe-not-able-to-hold-up-in-court $50 million exit fee, will be appeased by this move and decide to stick around.

Thamel also believes that the ACC got nervous the Big 12 might poach Louisville from the Big East before they had a chance to act, so they made the move while they could. We'll see how that goes, but for now, it's a solid move by the ACC and a home run for the Cards. Not surprisingly, their fans are a wee bit excited by the move. It gets Louisville off of the sinking ship that is the Big East, and may really, truly, honestly put the conference on the brink of extinction. A 2/3 majority vote would be needed to dissolve the Big East, and with Maryland's and now Louisville's exit, the seven basketball-only schools are one more defection away from a majority vote over whoever the three remaining football schools would be out of UConn (who has to be s***ing their pants right now. Yep, they are), Cincinnati, South Florida, and Temple.

It's unlikely this is the last domino of significance to fall, and I don't mean the Big East continuing to raid Conference USA to try (and fail. Miserably) to remain viable. Louisville was not on Jim Delaney's and the B1G's radar for possible further expansion, but does this affect any other power conferences to make a move? The Big XII is sitting at 10 teams, and if Thamel is to be believed, a school they wanted in Louisville is now off the table. Do they make a move for Cincinnati or UConn or reopen the courtship with Florida State? Can they sit at 10 teams when everyone else is at 12 or 14? What about the Pac 12 in all of this? If the Big 12 really is as stable as it now seems, and Texas and OU are off the table, then what does Larry Scott do? There are zero schools anywhere close to their footprint that makes sense: Boise's academics blow chunks and BYU's religiousness has been a deal-breaker thus far for schools like Cal. But they can't just sit at 12 if everyone else is going to 14 and perhaps beyond, right?

Finally, what about our favorite B1G nemesis Notre Dame? I remain unconvinced that the Irish will have to join a conference even if/when we go to 16 team Super Conferences. ND doesn't care about money- if they did they would have joined the B1G in the last round of expansion. All they care about is having a way into the playoff, and they'll have it in the upcoming new 4 team playoff model, and I can't imagine the Super Conferences would keep them out of any new models. I mean, why would they? Notre Dame makes money for everybody when they play football- the TV numbers prove it again and again. The Irish have always been given the special treatment, and even in a Super Conference scenario, I don't see why that would change?

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