The ACC held a press conference this morning to announce that its Council of Presidents had "unanimously voted to accept the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University as new members."
"The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. "Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC's reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States."
And then, with a self-satisfied grin, John Swofford popped off some finger guns to his left and right. Aside from the fact that that's just a fun thing to do every now and then, Swofford earned it. The league was prepared for this contingency and moved swiftly when the opportunity arose. And now we have the biggest football conference IN THE ENTIRE WORLD WORLD WORLD WORLD. (For now.) (But probably not until 2012.) (And then probably not for long.)
Expansion also gives the ACC the chance to renegotiate its television contract with ESPN, which is excellent news because the original deal wasn't so good compared to the deals some other BCS leagues received.
According to Swofford, there is a provision in the deal that allows the conference to renegotiate its financial terms with ESPN in the event that its conference membership changes. Given the value of the New York City market that Syracuse brings — a fact pointed out by chancellor Nancy Cantor, who said there are currently 44,000 SU alumni living in the NYC metro area — and the Western Pennsylvania territory surronding Pittsburgh, the ACC figures to increase its income significantly. Swofford wouldn’t speculate on how significantly, but did admit that all league members, both old and new, "will not only be whole, but beyond whole financially in terms of television."
Now that we have some more damn Yankees in the league, what's the next move? Canada? What about something near the beach in Puerto Rico? I wouldn't mind getting my hands on some Kansas, but the thing there is they'd probably want to bring Kansas State or somebody else from out that way. According to a report from ESPN, UConn is aggressively pursuing membership in the ACC. You'd have to think that would really bum out Randy Edsall, who left Connecticut specifically so he would not have to watch Connecticut play football anymore. It's all out of hand.