Posted: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, June 6, 2013
By Brian Favat
It'll never happen, but this is always fun.
WRALSportsFan.com's Adam Gold has an interesting division realignment hypothetical, one I haven't seen previously. Why not send Boston College and Louisville to the Coastal Division for Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh to the Atlantic?
Here's Adam's new division alignment:
This reshuffling works because technically, none of the four programs that are moving here have won an ACC Championship in football. All about that brand equity; the same reason why the only two MLB franchises to have ever switched leagues have never won the World Series.
To reshuffle the protected crossover rivalries, Gold pairs Clemson-Virginia Tech, Boston College-Syracuse, Virginia-Pittsburgh (?) and Louisville-Georgia Tech together. Nitpicky, but I think the pairings here should be Louisville-Pittsburgh (16 games, series tied 8-8) and Virginia-Georgia Tech (35 games, series tied 17-17-1); not Virginia-Pittsburgh (5 games, Pitt leads 3-2) and Louisville-Georgia Tech (never).
Next up in Commissioner Gold's plan is to own Thanksgiving weekend. The Backyard Brawl is back (Wake-Vanderbilt tho) to go along with the league's non-conference finales Florida State-Florida, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Clemson-South Carolina, which, reasonable. That leaves five intra-conference matchups in the regular season's finale week: Virginia-Virginia Tech (Black Friday), Miami-Louisville, Duke-Wake Forest, North Carolina-N.C. State and BC-Syracuse.
The problem with this is that there are now three inter-division matchups, increasing the chances of a ACC Championship Game rematch in consecutive weeks. I'd be fine with the conference relegating one of those three series to "Indiana-Purdue, no shot in hell these two teams are meeting in back-to-back weeks in the conference championship game" status, but three seems excessive.
An easy fix is to pair BC and Miami (Hail Flutie!) and the intra-division Carolina schools (Duke-North Carolina, N.C. State-Wake Forest) together on the final weekend of the year, leaving Louisville-Syracuse as the lone cross-division game at season's end. The league could probably get away with this because ... Syracuse. I understand that there's some desire on the part of the Carolina schools fan base to end the year with UNC-N.C. State; not Duke-North Carolina, but neither the current setup nor the proposed one lends itself well to having too many inter-division games on the final weekend of the year. A more interesting setup would be to designate a certain weekend of the year (Homecoming?) where the two inter-division Carolina games are played. Think: third weekend in October.
For Boston College, the Eagles would gain a long-standing rival (Miami) and a trio of like-minded schools (Duke, North Carolina, Virginia) to go along with annual games against Syracuse and Virginia Tech. Not the worst setup in the world. BC would, however, lose a competitive series with Clemson and an annual game against Pitt. The series against the former has grown increasingly non-competitive over the past few seasons while the latter isn't happening under the current alignment anyway. Also, Pitt.
Boston College would also lose #TheRivalry which would easily be the most unfortunate casualty of division realignment.
Not without its flaws, Commissioner Gold's plan for division realignment is pretty sensible; one of a dozen or so better division alignments the league could move towards. It's also for this reason that it'll never happen. Makes too much sense.