When all of these conference expansion rumors started flying, I've said that the ACC needs to be proactive or they're going to find themselves on the outside looking in, ala the Big 12. If we do indeed go to 4 or 5 "Super" conferences, it would likely be hard for both the ACC and Big East to survive, especially considering the fact that they're both east coast conferences. Well, it appears that the ACC is indeed trying to expand before being poached by the SEC or Big East. According to the New York Times, the ACC is currently in discussions with both Syracuse and Pitt about leaving the Big East to join the ACC. Oh, and I'd say these are beyond the rumor stage; neither the ACC or representatives from each school are denying the talks. If they weren't happening, you'd like they'd come out and deny it. The "no comment" response often indicates at least something is brewing. What does it mean for the ACC & Big East? Is the ACC planning on going past 14 teams to 16?
More after the jump...
If the ACC is indeed in talk with Pitt and Syracuse about leaving the Big East, the move would probably ensure that a schools such as Florida State and Virginia Tech stay in the conference long term. Pitt and Syracuse would also help expand the conference's northern representatives, which currently only include Maryland and Boston College. Adding Pitt and Syracuse help balance out the conference on the northern side, which Maryland probably favors. Syracuse and Pitt would also add two great basketball programs and one good and one decent football program. That allows the conference to maintain it's basketball reputation for which it's mostly known while also adding two football programs that add strength to the overall football product.
As for the Big East - if this move indeed happens, it could be the beginning of the end of the Big East which would really be a shame. Syracuse is one of the founding members of the Big East and losing both Cuse and Pitt could be a crippling blow for the conference.
The other question that immediately comes up is would the ACC stop at 14 teams or would they try to be the first to go to 16? With the recent talk of Texas joining the ACC, could there be another team, maybe Texas Tech, that would join the Longhorns in the ACC? We'll have to wait and see. But for now, it appears that the ACC might be in the process of insuring that it survives this game of conference musical chairs.