Lost in the craziness of the Phillies clinching the NL East and the Eagles dropping a deuce in Atlanta is the story about Pittsburgh and Syracuse making a money grab with the ACC (because when I think Atlantic Coast, I think Syracuse, New York).
The fallout is going to be enormous. As a Villanova alum, I’ve long been worried about the possibility of 1-A football schools leaving for greener pastures. Syracuse and Pitt (two of the top five basketball programs in the Big East) will join former Big East members, Boston College, Miami, and Virginia Tech, in the ACC. That leaves Villanova in a dying conference. One that they’re trying to get out of, according to the Orlando Sun Sentinel: [via The Nova Blog]
ACC Commissioner John Swofford said during a teleconference Sunday the league received more than 10 applications from schools hoping to join the league. Orlando Sentinel sources confirmed multiple Big East members applied to join the league, including Villanova.
Ironically, Villanova’s foot-dragging in their flirtations with Big East football may now make it easier for them to leave the conference… or what’s left of it.
But there’s a problem: Where do they go?
Without a 1-A football team, it’s unlikely the ACC would have a use for a small catholic school that relied heavily on the power of its conference to recruit teenagers to play their home games in a 6,500-seat arena.
The concept of a “Catholic League", with schools like Villanova, Georgetown, St. Johns, Seton Hall, Xavier, and Marquette, has long been discussed, but it would likely find itself on the level of the Atlantic 10 conference, not the Big East. That means Villanova’s recent success (and top ten rankings) would go away almost instantly.
Other options would likely be variations of the "Catholic League," in which schools with solid basketball programs and virtually non-existent or less-than-high-profile football programs banded together to form their own, soon-to-be-overlooked conference.
– stomps foot –
Warning: I'm shooting boastful Temple and St. Joes commenters on sight.