While Virginia Tech has become the ACC's premier football program, in a perverse way the ACC would have been better off with its original expansion plan of adding Miami, Syracuse and Boston College. BC wouldn't have been culturally isolated, as it is now, and without having ACC membership, Tech probably has tougher recruiting in Virginia and metro D.C., thus strengthening schools such as Virginia and Maryland. With both SU and BC, the ACC could have marketed itself better in the northeast. Syracuse's basketball status would have been more palatable to much of the ACC, whereas while Va. Tech is competitive in hoops, it lacks the Orange's cachet.
I see where the Big East defenders are coming from, but if their football members wish to be taken seriously, they need to split from their basketball brethren and form their own all-sports conference, perhaps adding East Carolina, Central Florida, Memphis and one more school (Temple?). As things stand now, the Big East is perceived as a clumsy hybrid.
Good post. I do agree to an extent. While in previous posts I mentioned Virginia tech being a positive because of football success, basketball was more a push for expansion.
Also consider that in the ACC, the conference was already so strong that adding a few members that were sub-par by ACC standards was nto that bad. You have Duke, UNC, Wake, Maryland and GT which were all very, very good programs. Clemson was right behind. Then there was NC State and FSU...and lastly Virginia. The top 8 were all strong programs compared to the top 8 in any other conference. So adding Miami, BC and VPI just brought the average down. But the top programs were still very strong nationally.
As for the Big East...
I hear you about a split. Really, you can look at the Big East the past 6 years and it's the football schools who have been basketball powers. Only Villanova and Georgetown have cut it on the other side, along with Tom Crean's Marquette and Notre Dame. The football schools would do just fine with their 8 members since only Rutgers and USF were down programs. On the basketball side, onyl 4 programs were strong while the other 4 (Seton Hall, St. Johns, DePaul, Providence) were not so much.
I think a split WITH expansion on that level could hurt the BE football schools. If you expand to 9 and add Memphis, you have a great basketball conference. Memphis has the #1 recruiting class next year too. But at 9 schools, you can benefit from the easy scheduling that the Big eat has now for football (easy OOC games, great records, overinflated poll rankings).