I think you make way too many assumptions about schools based on there rankings in the USNWR without ever visting the schools in question. I'm familiar with UConn, VT, UNC, Delaware ect. and can tell you things you don't realize.
I'm not making assumptions. The schools we are talking about here are all qualified academically to be in the ACC. UConn included. Its not based on their academics that they couldn't be in the ACC, its based on the fact that the ACC is at 12 teams and there is no room to grow.
Hartford, CT is crazy about UConn sports. UConn owns their very affluent state of almost 4 million in athletics. They have nothing else. Also the Hartford metro area also incorporates Springfield, Mass. The airport is Hartford-Springfield regional, halfway between to cities. Why is Springfield important, your championed UMass is just a couple of miles north. UMass although a second tier school by the USNWR is actually located in UConn's TV market. Massachusets may be a reasonably populated state, but UMass is comparatively far from Boston, and lies in a region that shares more in common with New Hampshire and Vermont, than Boston and is rated on par with UNH, UVM. And the attendance is telling enough of the inability of UMass to support division 1A football. The state will not rally around this school like UConn because its really a third tier school when compared with the offerings in Boston. CT has Yale, and just a few other good private schools, but otherwise revolves around UConn. I'm sorry to burst your academic based theory, but UMass is unfit for the Big East.
I know about the Hartford-Springfield Metro area and the airport. I had a friend in college that lived in Northhampton, Mass for a few years. Yes, the following is not too good, I've seen the attendance figures. I know there is also Smith, Mt. Holoyoke, Hampshire, and Amherst there. Its an academic hub. I know its only 25 miles from Hartford to Springfield. But so what? There are couple of examples of 2 teams located near and being successful. The Research Triangle is one. Utah and BYU is another. I know those schools have been at it longer. What I propose with UMass is a long term solution. The change in UConn, as you say rally around, isn't much difference in attendance from what UMass has. UMass's attendance has varied from 7,000 to 14,000 in the last 6 or 7 years. Those numbers aren't much different than UConn's. A UMass upgrade would be a 10 to 20 year plan. Its not immediate if it was tried.
The difference with such close proximity of UMass and UConn is the state line and that separates the market. If the marketing was promoted, Springfield, which has 700,000 people plus the whole state of 6.5 million, shared with BC, this would be a good second school for the 13th largest state in population.
VT is a very southern school. If you drive around Blacksburg, you get a sense of being in the deep south. The south begins in Virginia once you leave the NoVa area. UVa rises above the South, with at least 3/4 of its students NoVa or East Coast. VT has a NoVa presence, but its very much the school for rural Virginians to go. UVA students really look down on Tech as a billy-bob school. Tech is also in appalacia and does have a natural relationship with WVU, because of how close Tech is to the boarder of that state, but Boston College is a different world. Tech grads may go to DC to find a job, but thats after being raised in backwoods Virginia. The point I'm trying to make is VT student body is very southern in nature, I can tell you from spending time on and off campus.
Yes, its located in a southern location in the Appallachian Mtns, but its still a state school that indeed has a statewide overlay following throughout the state. State flagships, like VaTech have this characteristic. The institution has importance statewide, including the North Virginia/Bos-Wash Megalopolis part that includes Northern Virginia and Richmond as well as Norfolk-Va Beach. Look at this extensive statewide VaTech Radio Affiliate listing:
They even have affiliates located in both Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. Its an important U to the National Capital Region and it has a following there. If you were to list the DC-Baltimore college teams, they would be:
and maybe some following for 1-AA Georgetown, James Madison, William and Mary, Richmond, etc. Va Tech is one of the top DC area teams.
And UNC is maybe halfway between VT and UVa cluturally. UNC's student body is 80% North Carolina residents. And UNC has that Female/Male ratio which is so characteristic througout the south 65/35 of liberal arts focused schools. Also, the out-of-state students at UNC come from places in the US that are more evenly dispersed across the country, than the East Coast Corridor UVA. UNC is much more of a southern state school, and the liberal arts counterpart to the engineering school NCState than people realize. I can tell you from spending time around the vaunted research triangle of North Carolina, its nothing to write home about. Its miniscule when compared with the High Tech industry of Boston. 40 years ago, North Carolina was as po-dunk state as any, with the research triangle and charlotte as a financial capital of the state winning NC some respect, and the outter banks retirement communities, but NC is very much an overhyped state as being high tech.
Well, that supports my argument even more of it being similar to UNC. Boston College also has a lot of liberal arts.
Here's BC colleges and schools:
Here's UNC colleges and schools:
Both are liberal arts based.
And the fact that they are national university attracting members from all over the nation makes them fit in with BC, in that BC may only attract in the northeast, but UNC is like U of Mich, and UVa, which are like national universities. UNC is oftent compared to UVa, U of Michigan, Cal-Berkeley, and UCLA as one of the top 5 public universities in the nation. The high tech corridor is big in Boston, but the 3 universities of Duke, UNC and NCSU make the Research Triangle one of the most academic metro areas in the nation. The quality of life is ranked high, as that metro area often has a high ranking. As I mentioned, we had a contingent of people from Chappel Hill that made a visit to Ann Arbor to make comparisons as they used Ann Arbor as a peer community to Chappel Hill based on the similar academic standing of UNC and U of M. The Research Triangle has a National metro market identity, and for that doesn't make it too odd to be playing another school on the east coast that is highly regarded institution and in a National City. I realise Boston is quite a bit bigger, but the high quality of life and national identity doesn't make this as unusual.
Delaware is one school that I do agree with would be a nice pick up for the Big East. Delaware owns it state academically, and the eastern pan handle of Maryland looks up to UD. They already have a 20k fan base playing in 1-AA with 10k plus season ticket holders. Delaware has a lot of out-of-state students from the East Coast much like UVa. This is much more selective/desirable university than UMass academically. Could draw 30k+ in the Big East.
I agree. And Delaware is a 2nd Tier National University, and partially private. It would fit in, esp with Rutgers, UConn, Pitt, and WVU.
I know Syracuse isn't going to expand its dome.....duh.
And neither UConn, for at least awhile. There are so many people here fixated on the "Now". UConn could grow to have an average attendance of 60,000. But its not going to happen 2 years from now, nor 5 years from now, and maybe not even 10 years from now. The state isn't going to turn around and expand this newly constructed stadium overnight. The success of the football team as well as fans attending, sold out games, which requires time to demonstrate, will need to happen first. That maybe 10 to 20 years down the road if it happens. Not saying its not going to happen, but I am also saying that there isn't enough proof that the state of Connecticut is going to fund a stadium expansion that soon after just constructing it.
If the ACC could add two more teams, they would most likely add Syracuse and Pitt, if the Big 10 doesn't end up taking one of them if they can't get ND (I don't think they will go for anyone if they can't get ND).
If the ACC could add 4 teams and become a 16-member league, then they would add Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, and then UConn. Why? Because all are academic schools, and would meet what is comparable to schools in the ACC. WVU wouldn't have the necessary academics to get into the ACC, nor would Louisville, ECU, Cincy, UCF, Marshall nor USF. Unless they improved their academic standing. That is why the ACC chose BC over WVU, in addition to the market. WVU would be a better cultural fit, and geographic fit and rival fit, but it doesn't quite have the academics and the market is low, but they do have the following and travel well.
But the ACC wouldn't go to 14 or 16 teams as long as there is only 11 or 12 games played in a season. That is why UConn and Syracuse are not going to the ACC with this constraint.