Bad Boy Rant: ACC should get back to basketball basics

Allen "Bad Boy" Smothers

Photo Courtesy of The Press Box Radio

For those who were too busy watching football this weekend to read the little ticker scrolling below it, Syracuse and Pittsburgh are on the verge of joining the ACC, with two more schools not far behind them.

As a lifelong devotee of Atlantic Coast Conference sports, this complete overhaul or formation of “super conferences” is unsettling.

I’ve often advocated that the ACC revert to the original eight. The ACC without interlopers from Boston, Miami and the foothills of Virginia. The ACC that existed long before dominance of Florida State football. The ACC even before the uneasy alliance with the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech.

I say we wrench the Gamecocks back from the SEC, where they’ve never belonged anyway, and re-establish what the ACC was meant to be – the preeminent geographical all-sports conference in America.

With the back-to-back baseball national championships by (N.C. State graduate!) Ray Tanner’s South Carolina Gamecocks, recent multiple national titles by North Carolina (eck) and Duke (ugh) in hoops, and soccer, lacrosse, women’s basketball, swimming, track and even bass-fishing by those original eight ACC schools in the past decade, there’s not a conference in America that could toot their tiny horns in comparison to the ACC.

What have we done in football, you say? Well… uhm, we’ve had three teams cited for NCAA violations on the gridiron within the past twelve months. Isn’t that an indication that we’re serious about winning national championships in football? I mean, name one national champ over the last six to eight years that hasn’t had their skeletons exposed for the entire skeptical world to critique.

Now, the ACC is finally taking my advice in being proactive in the conference re-shuffling act that is taking place as you read this. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have been accepted as the 13th & 14th members of a league that wants to be the first to be recognized as a 16-team super conference in the national realignment of collegiate membership.

Again, I’m an N.C. State fan first and foremost, but secondarily I’m an ACC fan from my early childhood and it would depress me to see its demise, but I’ve resigned myself to accept that the “Atlantic Coast” may have to be dropped from the ACC.

Much like “Kentucky Fried” has been dropped from KFC and “East Coast” has been dropped from the current ECHL hockey league that stretches from one coast to the other (including Alaska). Now that Penn State plays in the Big 10 (which has 12 teams). Now that Colorado plays in the Pacific Athletic Conference(?)

I would like to offer a radical suggestion that doesn’t seem so radical after all. I think we can all agree that conference realignment is football-driven first, foremost and always. But since the ACC has been proactive in acting froggy even before the SEC accepts the renegades from Texas A&M, let’s propose an even more radical collegiate association.

As ACC fans, we can agree that ACC hoops has been, is and always will be the dominant conference in the most lucrative postseason in all of college sports. The NCAA basketball tournament is still the single most profitable event in NCAA history, so let’s tell the schools that actually think they are players in the BCS Monarchy (LOL!), like Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Miami (Yes, we railroad the cheater train, even though UNC-Cheatin’ Hill deserves the same) to find their own future affiliation with whatever conference that will accept their mediocre football programs.

Since the ZACC has already given up its geographical identity in conference realignment, the new ACC should invite Connecticut (since we already have the other two hoops powers in the Big East, we have to have the best program in the league), Kentucky (the winningest hoops program in NCAA history), Kansas (third best in college hoops history, since we already have #2… eck), Louisville (another mediocre football program that will fit right in with a Rick Pitino-led basketball program).

Then begrudgingly take two second-class programs that do not belong in a first-class conference, but unfortunately every league needs an annual whipping boy or two). Add West Virginia (the “Brokeback Mountaineers” at least have a halfway-respectable basketball program under Bobby Huggins), or East Carolina (that has a beautiful and talented women’s basketball coach, Heather Macy, and a somewhat-respectable former Tar Heel men’s hoops coach in Jeff Lebo) to load-up the most powerful and influential basketball conference ever imagined.

While the rest of America is enamored with the fool’s gold of a fictitious football champion, the newly-created national ACC-Goliath would not only win every NCAA men’s basketball national championship, but occupy every single Big Dance chip that awards all the money to winning conferences, but it would dominate every other sport’s national titles as well.

Here are the new divisional alignments for the most unbelievably hoops conference in sports history:

* ACC Atlantic Division: Boston College, Connecticut, East Carolina, Louisville, Maryland, N.C. State, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

* ACC Coastal Division: Duke, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia.

In summary, if you can’t win the ultimate national championship in the most important sport, according to the NCAA, then get what you can out of the BCS Monopoly and then crush everyone in every other sport that collegiate athletics has to offer.

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