Ever since Oklahoma and Texas announced their intentions to move to the SEC, conferences have continued to realign. There’s a strong chance it continues in the coming days. After UCLA and USC announced their decision to join the Big Ten we wrote about how that affects Syracuse. Two weeks later, more schools are switching it up and more rumors are floating around.
Well, this could be problematic.
It goes without saying that this affects John Wildhack and his brass. Assuming no movement in the ACC, and that is a very large assumption, here’s the breakdown of it all. We’ll look at the recruiting landscape as well as a few what-if scenarios.
With how much the PAC-12 has dismantled, that’s one fewer high-major conference to worry about going up against for top prospects. Also, the travel in a lot of these conferences is about to be absolutely ludicrous. College athletes are not going to want to take red-eyes from Rutgers to UCLA. All 15 ACC schools fall in the Eastern Time Zone. There’s a recruiting pitch for you.
The competition in the ACC now looks a heck of a lot worse. It already wasn’t great in football. Now, unless the quality of competition suddenly improves in the ACC, it’s essentially the Big Ten, SEC, and EVERYBODY else. If a big-time recruit’s main focus is competition, that makes the 315 a pretty big long shot.
The Best Route Moving Forward
Until we get clarity on what is going to happen with the ACC, Syracuse should do absolutely nothing. Its situation is perfectly fine, why should it go through another change? If the rumor that North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia are trying to join the SEC proves true and it actually happens, then there needs to be action.
On the basketball side of things, it’s simple, isn’t it? From a nostalgia perspective as well as competition, the Big East is calling. The most underrated basketball conference in the country offers fantastic opponents as well as the rekindling of old rivalries. Who wouldn’t want to see SU match up with Uconn, St John’s, and more on a yearly basis?
As for football, as meh as it sounds, going independent might be the best route. There is proof of independent FBS schools having success. Look at Liberty in recent years as an example. Even one of college football’s perennial powerhouses Notre Dame has survived as an independent, so it certainly isn’t the end of the world. Best case? Nope. All the more reason Syracuse should pray for no changes in the ACC.
Conference realignment is reshaping college sports as we know it. This round hasn’t affected the ACC yet. But if it does, and god forbid it happens, here is Wildhack’s blueprint to navigate it.