Back on Monday, I asked you to weigh in on ACC expansion: what has worked, what hasn't worked and whether or not it benefited your favorite team. As the league that I cover, the Big Ten, once again explores the prospect of expansion, it was interesting to get some perspective from fans who experienced the process fairly recently.
Needless to say, your response was outstanding. A lot of very intelligent thoughts that I'll pass on to the Big Ten blog readers later today. Bravo, ACC fans.
I won't print every response, but here's a good sampling.
Name: Nick from Mobile, Ala.
Fan affiliation: Miami
Expansion take: Back when the ACC expanded, I thought the Big East was a better top to bottom conference than the ACC. I though an Big East with FSU, Clemson and GT would have been a better conference than what we currently have in the ACC. I wish the Big East would have fought harder to keep their 3 teams while at the same time counter-punching with offers to the ACC schools I listed above.I think other conferences should expand to 12 teams. The money will be great for the champ game and it's something the fans will like to see. It could lend to the BCS insanity though if a lesser team from one division beats a BCS-lock team from the other division--like in basketball when a strong mid-major team loses to a lesser conference opponent who wouldn't otherwise be invited to the tourney. I think BCS insanity is good though.
Name: Nick from East Lansing, Mich. (Michigan State student)
Fan affiliation: North Carolina and Michigan State
Expansion take (excerpt): I believe ACC expansion has helped the league in both market size (a element discussed quite frequently with BigTen expansion) and depth of talent/competitive teams; but has hurt the league's ability to feature one or two teams a season with a chance to make a serious run at the BCS title game. I think ACC football has been unfairly portrayed as poor, not only because of a lack of BCS title contenders, but also because of the lofty expectations placed on the league following expansion. The ACC has the most number of first round draft picks over the last 10 years and recently set the record for most teams in one season attending a bowl game. So the talent and depth of the league has improved, just not as much as many expected.
Name: Paul from Cape Coral, Fla.
Fan affiliation: Florida State
Expansion take: when we went into the ACC, Clemson was the team to beat. With FSU's dominance on the conference during the 90s, they were the team to beat. Since expansion, there has been an overall better competition from the conference, but the negative to that would be alot of 8-4, 7-5, 6-6 teams. Since expansion though, VT has had the upper-hand playing on the big stage for the ACC
Name: John from Atlanta
Fan affiliation: Georgia Tech
Expansion take: In my opinion is was a great move for the conference, however it's execution was horrible. Just like you, Swofford fell into the silly belief that to be succesful, the conference needed certain teams to succeed. With almost complete disreguard to the other 8 teams in the conf., the whole move was made for the sole purpose of creating a FSU vs Miami Championship game. (i'm not joking, everything was built around this vision)The Divisions were aranged stupidly, so Miami and FSU were on different sides, and the championship was located stupidly (Florida, 2 times), so thier fan bases would be close by.The ACC sold thier soul for this match-up and has been paying for it since (poor champ game attendance, lost regional rivalries, and larger travel expenses).
Name: Matt from Atlanta
Affiliation: Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Virginia (sometimes)
Expansion take: I think expansion has been good for the ACC, especially in football. VT brought in an enthusiastic, intelligent fanbase that is one of the best in the ACC. The benefits of having VT in football are pretty apparent, and we've help our own in basketball too. I think it was pretty silly to put the championship game in Florida. Nobody wants to travel that far for an additional game right before bowl season. Now that it will be in the geographic center of ACC country (Charlotte), attendance should be better. I'm not crazy about how the ACC approached expansion at first. I think VT was an obvious choice and it was snubbed at the outset. It took the intervention of the governor of Virginia to make it right. Also, BC was a poor choice for the ACC; it's so far from the other schools and the fanbase is small. My advice to the Big-10/11 and Pac-10 is go ahead and expand, but choose schools close to the existing geographical footprint of the conference, not three states away. Missouri, Pitt, or Syracuse might be a good fit for the Big-10/11, but Texas is NOT a good fit.
Name: Greg from Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Fan affiliation: Boston College
Expansion take: There's no question ACC expansion has helped us. I completely do not buy the fact that we should be playing teams from the northeast and that we regionally fit better in the Big East. WVU, Cincinatti, Louisville? How are those teams any better regionally. Rivalries come through great games which is why we have such fantastic rivalries with Va Tech and Clemson: We've had great, memorable games. Moneywise we obviously are profiting. I don't know if we would've won the Big East but we've been in position to win the ACC twice in the last three years. No matter what anybody says, top to bottom, it's a better conference.