FanPost

Reconsidering Penn State in the ACC

Let's take this guy's ACC argument at face value (H/T to today's Success with Hyperlinking) and assume it would be a package deal of Notre Dame and Penn State.  Is it really SO RIDICULOUS as to laughingly reject it out of hand that PSU might be better off joining a powerful Eastern league, contingent on Notre Dame's involvement?

It would restore two traditional rivalries many fans would like to see rekindled in Pitt and Syracuse (guess you could throw Maryland in there as a third if you stretch your definition of "rivalry") and offer at least intermittent attractive conference match-ups with the likes of ND, VT, FSU, and Miami, not to mention intriguing games against UNC, BC, Georgia Tech, and NC State.  While I agree that the academic profile of such a league wouldn't be the hand-in-glove fit we enjoy in the Big Ten, these are still strong institutions, and increasing cooperation between GT's and PSU's engineering programs would probably strengthen both.  As in all aspects of such a move, something lost can be offset with the opportunity to gain something new - close a door, open a window.

More importantly, rounding out its 16 schools with the big splash of adding Penn State and Notre Dame would make the ACC undeniably RELEVANT.  It is already going to be the best basketball conference, and aligning the compelling star power of PSU, ND, FSU, Miami, and VT could help make it truly competitive with the SEC in football.  Such a conference could, especially in the revamped landscape of power conferences many envision, become a revenue generator to rival a 16-team Big Ten.

Let's be honest with ourselves, the Big Ten's football product is suffering, and some might suggest that the downward trajectory has been in place for some time.  Further, it now appears almost inevitable that the B1G will expand into the Midwest, not the East.  Do we want to enter the new era of college sports as an unwelcome Eastern afterthought in a conference full of aging former empires and Cornbelt also-rans?  Are we content to be shoehorned in with Kansas, Kansas State or Iowa State or whatever lousy Big XII scraps the B1G scavenges to keep up?  How about as a key cog in a new revenue sport juggernaut that embodies the future of college athletics, rather than its past?

There has been, over the last 48 hours, greater than usual fretting and speculation over the post-Paterno era here at BSD. Once the transition occurs, whenever it does, isn't it at least worth contemplating that membership in an ascendant East Coast-oriented conference could best help springboard Old State into the next 50 years?  I am not suggesting this is a slam dunk, and I am not predicting it will happen.  I do, however, believe it is worth far more thoughtful consideration than I have seen it receive thus far.  Fortune favors the bold.

Flame away.

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