Besides being completely obsessed with any conspiracy theories on conference realignment and all this FSU stuff coming out today, I was bored enough to spend a lot of time looking outside the box at potential schools for the ACC to couple with Notre Dame, that may be overlooked or just never thought of. We've heard the likes of UConn, Rutgers, and Temple as the ones with the most possible potential but who else?
So I started my search based on academics. Using the National University ranking list Temple is the lowest ranked addition or in the ACC at 138 so I only looked at schools ahead of them. Assuming that the ACC would not pull any teams away from the major conferences(B1G, SEC, Big12, and Pac), I took all those schools off the list. Next I discounted any schools with major geographical differences (we will not ford the Mississippi so only schools east of the river). Next I took any schools off the list that didnt have at least 15 division-I sports. Not surprising, suddenly there are not many options left:
School (Academic Ranking)
Cornell (15) AAU Member
William & Mary (33)
Tulane (50) AAU Member
Now, based on obvious things, I trimmed the list again. Cornell does not leave the ivy league. Georgetown does not care for the acc and doesnt have a football team to worry about conference affiliation. William & Mary simply doesn't offer enough (fcs football, decent basketball, no new geography). Lehigh is slightly interesting. They have an FCS football program but its among the top so could be moved up with more money and dedication to the program. Basketball team went to the tournament and BEAT DUKE! Strong array of sports and great academics but is basically another school in Pittsburgh. Delaware is often overlooked but is a big state school in the middle of the ACC. Does it technically count as bringing us the philly market? Probably not. So we have only one school left. It has ACC level academics, AAU membership, long standing D-I football and basketball programs, a top baseball program and gives the ACC a team in the SEC's backyard. Sound too good to be true? Lets see how it stacks up against Temple (seems to be the favorite by many).
Tulane University Private Enrollment-13,359 New Orleans, Louisiana (Miami, BC, Duke... like)
Football- Mercedes-Benz Superdome 76,468
Basketball- Avron B. Fogelman Arena 3,600
Baseball- Greer Field at Turchin Stadium 5,000
AAU Member National Academic Rank- 50 Sports Cup Rank- 184
Temple University Public Enrollment-35,490 Philadelphia, PA (NCSt, MD... like)
Football- Lincoln Financial Field 66,000
Basketball- Liacouras Center 10,206
Baseball- Skip Wilson Field 1,000
Not AAU Member National Academic Rank- 132 Sports Cup Rank- 81
Basketball Last 20 years
Tulane - 3 NCAA tournament appearances (VT has 2)
Temple- 14 NCAA tournament appearances
*Temple is obviously better here. Tulane simply doesn't have a caliber team to stand up to the ACC but that should be expected. But these things can be developed. Entrance to the ACC would give them more money for the program and more relevance in recruiting better players and even coaches. They also have New Orleans arena that holds 19,000 so they don't necessarily have to make drastic changes in order to house an ACC team.
Tulane- 10 Bowl appearances 2 (last 20yrs) 7 (last 50yrs)
Temple- 4 Bowl appearances 2 (last 20yrs) 3 (last 50yrs)
*Really no significant difference between programs. The only real argument is that Temple has been better recently and so is the better program now. But that can change (see similar to basketball above). Just give the great city of NO a reason to be behind their beloved inter-city university and watch what happens. Just like Katrina did for the city and Saints relationship, NO would love to see Tulane develop and start bringing more national attention back. According to Rivals, Louisiana is the 4th best state for recruiting. So the ACC extends its footprint deep into SEC country (LSU's backyard) and lands a recruiting ground that only trails the 3 super-hotbeds of Florida, California and Texas. So while they are not a football power, the football schools may like this move being able to tell recruits from the area they'll be playing out there each year. Tulane keeps its rivalry with LSU and starts a new one with FSU (the "gulf war"?).
The assumption is that Notre Dame is in and the ACC needs another school. So Tulane is academically compatible and an AAU member while Temple is only slightly better than Louisville/WV. It provides a new market. Granted it is not nearly as big as philly but does extend the ACC's footprint into SEC country without being completely ridiculous geographically. ACC football schools cant argue that the ACC added a school that bolsters the conferences basketball program more that football. Not very important but Tulane also has a great baseball program, which is the 3rd sport of the conference.
So if you couple it with Notre Dame, is Tulane at all viable or too much of a project?