Connect with us

Football

Expand or die: Where does Boston College, ACC stand as realignments become imminent?

Published

on

With changes to the other four power conferences being announced in the past two summers, including what appears to be the death of the PAC-12, Boston College has to ensure that the ACC survives for both its competitive and financial health in terms of athletics.

While the Eagles may have an outside chance at receiving a spot in a bloated BIG 10, if the conference decides that the Boston media market and BC’s hockey program are worth a slot, it’s not something they can count on.

Two threatened conferences, two different routes:

We’ve seen two conferences have their existence threatened in the past few off-seasons and they’ve responded in completely different ways.

This off-season, the death of the PAC-12 was all but confirmed, with the departure of eight of the 12 teams. Last summer it was announced that USC and UCLA would be BIG 10 bound ahead of the 2024 season but the conference did nothing to backfill. They were paralyzed by broadcast right negotiations and the threat of other departing teams leading to Colorado starting the mass exodus to the BIG 12, with Oregon and Washington being the final nail in the coffin when it was announced they were also headed to the BIG 10. Ultimately the promise of more security and certainty was enough to break up a century-old conference.

However, it wasn’t always the PAC 12 that looked to be dead in the water, 12 months ago we assumed the BIG 12, reeling from the loss of its marquee brands in Texas and Oklahoma, would be the conference wiped off the map. Instead, they responded by adding four schools in BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. All four schools have a deep fan base with a big market (or in BYU’s case a religious backing) and have had a high level of success in the past few years, most notably being UCF — winning 25 straight games between 2017 and 2018 (including a claimed National Title) and Cincinnati making last season’s CFP. They’ll continue to strengthen with the addition of the four corner schools from the PAC; Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State. They appear set to be one of the nation’s premier basketball conferences and in strong contention to be the third-best college football conference.

If the ACC wants to survive in any recognizable form, they’ll have to take lessons from both of these, not repeating the mistakes of the PAC 12 and copying the BIG 12’s blueprint of expansion. To best illustrate this, we need to look at what the ACC could look like a decade from now if they follow each conference’s path.

First for reference; the current ACC teams:

Current ACC Teams

Boston College

Clemson Duke

Florida State

Georgia Tech

Louisville

Miami (FL)

North Carolina

NC State

Pitt

Syracuse

Virginia Virginia Tech

Wake Forest

*Notre Dame

Notre Dame is a member in all sports except football; it plays five teams in the ACC annually and is ineligible for the ACC Championship.

Scenario One (PAC 12): ACC Collapses without additions

Result for BC: Big East 2.0

Teams:

Boston College

Georgia Tech

NC State

Pitt

Syracuse

Wake Forest

UConn

Temple

Army

Navy

Holy Cross

Delaware

Villanova

*Providence/UMass (Providence for all sports, except football. UMass only football)

In this scenario, the ACC sees the SEC (Clemson, FSU), BIG 10 (Notre Dame, Virginia, Miami (FL)), and BIG 12 (Duke, UNC, Louisville, Virginia Tech) gut the conference of almost all the financially lucrative programs in football and basketball.

With nine teams voting to dissolve, the ACC ceases to exist as its ESPN contract, Grant of Rights, and other agreements (autonomous status, Orange Bowl and other tie-ins). This also likely allows teams to leave for free as there’s no conference left to pay a buyout to, resulting in the six that could not find landing spots being out hundreds of millions of dollars.

The remaining six rebuild by rebuilding the conference into a more regional one, adding eight teams from across the northeast. The crown jewels of expansion end up being the two service academies and UConn’s basketball program. The end result is a football conference that is significantly weakened, replacing some of the best programs in the country with the bottom of the FBS and questionable FCS programs. Holy Cross was one of the best teams last year but they lack the consistency of the Dakota schools or the teams from the southeast who have recently made the jump.

The basketball part of the conference takes a step back with the loss of UNC, Duke, and Virginia but at least brings in some quality programs. UConn has five national tournaments and in terms of programs is just one step below those blue bloods. Villanova has been one of the top programs of the twenty-first century, but it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to stay at the top with Jay Wright gone. Providence is a lesser version of Villanova in this sense, a good program who just lost one of their best ever head coaches in Ed Cooley.

Financially, the conference will likely be relegated to the status of the American and Mountain West currently, maybe slightly better. Schools in these conferences receive approximately $7 million and $4 million per year each, so it’s hard to see the Big East 2.0 making any more than $10 million each.

TLDR; The rebuilt conference loses all the perks of the current ACC and is relegated to a G5 level for football, may have enough to still be a power conference in basketball. Financially the league will only make about a quarter of the current ACC in media deals.

Scenario Two (BIG 12); ACC only loses two, replaced with a quantity of solid G5 and PAC 12 schools.

Boston College Duke

Georgia Tech

Louisville

Miami (FL)

North Carolina

NC State

Pitt

Syracuse

Virginia Virginia Tech

Wake Forest

Notre Dame

Stanford Cal

SMU

Memphis

Tulane

Washington State

Oregon State

By preemptively expanding, the ACC is able to limit the damage to just Clemson and FSU possibly departing for the SEC.

The ACC completed the addition of Stanford, Cal, and SMU in time for the teams to start competition in 2024. This decision keeps schools from attempting to break the Grant of Rights, especially as landing spots are uncertain and the ACC seems like just as good of, if not better, option than possibly ending up in the BIG 12. A side note that could turn into a massive turning point, the addition of Stanford could potentially swing Notre Dame’s opinion on becoming a full-time member. At the minimum, it will keep the status quo with them.

Closer to the expiration of the GOR and media contract, FSU and Clemson likely do leave but the league stays together and expands again. This time they pick up four schools. First, it’s a pair of teams that fit relatively well in the established geographic footprint; Memphis, a solid football and basketball program in a major media market, and Tulane, a good academic school with a big alumni base, and another solid football program. They also pick up the remaining (former) PAC-12 teams in Washington State and Oregon State, which can help with some travel as it allows for a west coast pod with Cal and Staford.

In this scenario, the ACC has a ton of leverage over the potential new schools. Its already been reported that SMU could forgo media revenue for seven years and the two California schools will come in on partial shares. The second wave of expansion would likely see teams coming in on partial shares, potentially for a long time. It could be as extreme as five seasons at a half share and another five at a three-quarter share. All this gives the original ACC teams revenue to offset any increased travel expenses. In addition, it minimizes the gap in revenue between the remaining ACC schools and the BIG 10 and SEC in the short time.

Financially, the ACC largely maintains its payouts of approximately $40 million per year for existing schools, with short term bumps for the original ACC teams of up to an additional $10 million per year following expansion. While still behind the BIG 10 and SEC in terms of revenue and football programs, the conference is in contention to be the best basketball conference and is likely the best football conference outside of the big two conferences.

TLDR: ACC replaces Clemson and FSU with two rounds of expansion. The conference maintains its status and ends up as the third best football conference and a top three basketball conference. No change long term in financial status, potential short term bumps following expansion.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Basketball

DiMauro: All in all, a solid year for BC sports

Published

on

If you are reading this, chances are your primary means of remaining connected to Boston College runs through athletics.

Oh, and we’ve been tortured souls, too, especially in recent years. We are idealists and fatalists, demanding yet forgiving, loyal and resilient, even if sometimes it feels as though we make the long trek up the cliff to Lovers Leap … only to get shoved.

All of which makes the sports year of 2023-24 a time to celebrate. Boston College did itself proud, no small occurrence given that in this unsteady (perverse?) time of expansion and realignment, schools like BC must always look their Sunday best, with no overt warts or love handles.

Women’s lacrosse, BC’s working definition of pride and joy, capped the sports season with the national championship Memorial Day weekend in Cary, NC. It was the program’s second natty in four years, a three-hour infomercial for the entire institution and more proof that, yes, it can be done at BC with the right coach.

Acacia Walker-Weinstein – you’ll note that only the letter “W” separates her from “Einstein” – not only hung a banner, but helped BC earn a distinction few other athletic programs in the country could trumpet. How many other schools made national championship games (both televised by ESPN) in two different sports fewer than two months apart?

Think about that one: Men’s hockey, during an otherwise memorable season, fell short in the national championship game. But the Sons of Greg Brown did the school proud all season. Not a bad accomplishment to see “BC in the national finals” on the ESPN scroll in mid-April (hockey) and late May (lacrosse). It’s hard to buy that kind of advertising, particularly when and if realignment and expansion happen again.

Football won a bowl game over a ranked team at Fenway Park, returns a dynamo in Thomas Castellanos and then made the splash of a cannonball, hiring Bill O’Brien as head coach. Three other women’s sports showed promise as well: field hockey (11-7, made the ACC Tournament); softball (30-24, made the ACC Tournament) and volleyball, which continues to improve steadily under coach Jason Kennedy, finished 19-13 and made the ACC Tournament.

Otherwise, baseball gets a pass as new coach Todd Interdonato assimilates to the ACC and establishes his culture; the soccer programs (3-9-5 and 3-9-6) were lousy; and I remain concerned about men’s and women’s basketball. Put it this way: Sure feels as though better players are leaving than are entering.

Off the field, “Friends Of The Heights,” BC’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective, grew massively, keeping BC competitive in a cutthroat environment. Friends Of The Heights also homered into the upper deck, hiring veteran athletic administrator Jim Paquette as its new Chief Development Officer. Paquette will advise the Board on overall development strategies, using his 16 years as an administrator at BC that specialized in fundraising.

BC’s overall cachet also made a splash on social media when Forbes Magazine named it one of the country’s “New Ivies.”

Based on its researchForbes, the century-old national business magazine, reported that American companies are souring on hiring Ivy League graduates, instead preferring high achievers from 20 other prominent universities – “Private and Public New Ivies.”

BC joins private school “New Ivies” Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Southern California and Vanderbilt. Ah, to be judged by the company one keeps.

One school year hasn’t produced this much for BC in years. And it’s significant. The idea now is to build, not regress.

Full disclosure: There are many things I still don’t like. I’m told Father Leahy neither attended the Frozen Four nor the lacrosse Final Four. It is disrespectful to the players, coaches and alumni to have a leader who acts as if so much about what makes BC great is beneath him. And we still seem to have these spasms of tone deafness, such as patrolling the parking lots like stormtroopers the day of the spring football game.

But 2023-24 was an encouraging year for BC in many ways. Yes, we always want more. But we were getting less for a long time. Not this year. A tip of the cap to athletic director Blake James, his staff, the coaches and the kids.

We pause now to enjoy summer and await Labor Day night in Tallahassee. Here’s to 2024-25, hollering “Mr. Brightside” again with the kids from the crowded bleachers.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at m.dimauro@theday.com or @BCgenius 

Continue Reading

Football

Boston College lineman Kyle Hergel selected 3rd overall in CFL draft

Published

on

The former Eagles guard was not selected in last week’s NFL draft, but quickly heard his name yesterday in the 2024 CFL draft, going 3rd overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Hergel, who spent one year at Boston College after transferring from Texas State. The guard was a huge success in helping transform the offensive line play in 2023, gaining the best PFF pass block grade at Boston College (86.6) with no sacks allowed and two quarterback hits on 402 dropbacks. This was good enough to earn All-ACC honorable mention and a trip to the East-West shrine game.

Recently signing with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2024 NFL draft, Hergel will seemingly look to catch on in the NFL this summer before trekking north of the boarder to play for the Roughriders.

John Pupel gets Patriots rookie camp invite

The former safety will travel to nearby Foxboro, Ma as an invite to Patriots rookie camp. After beginning his college career at Dartmouth, Pupel joined the Eagles in 2022. Starting 11 games last year with 81 tackles, a pack break up and a forced fumble.

Continue Reading

Football

Boston College’s Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany drafted, others signed: Eagles Draft Weekend Recap

Published

on

It was a rather successful weekend for Boston College in the NFL Draft, as both Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany were taken while guard Kyle Hergel inked a UDFA deal. In addition, longtime and former BC notables Jaelen Gill and Josh DeBerry have received UDFA deals.

Jones – The first Eagle off the board this year, Jones went 90th overall in the third round to the Arizona Cardinals. He missed the final three games of the season for undisclosed reasons but had a big year that shot up his draft stock with a conference-best five interceptions while also defending 13 passes. As a member of the 2018 recruiting class, the corner tallied 60 games at BC and racked up a First-team All-ACC selection this past year.

Jones’ 86.9 defensive PFF grade was the sixth-best in the draft class out of corners and he was the 11th cornerback off the board for the Eagles.

Mahogany – Mahogany sat out of the bowl game and had some noticeable buzz surrounding his name entering the draft, but the guard fell to the sixth round to the Detroit Lions. Mahogany missed most of the 2022 season after an ACL injury but came back fully healthy for 2023, posting the 16th-best total PFF grade out of guards in the draft class.

Mahogany fell further than many, with many projections putting him as a Day 2 pick, but given he’s 24 and his scouting reports present some clear downside, it’s not all that shocking that he fell all the way to the sixth round.

Hergel – Hergel didn’t exactly have any buzz surrounding his name but he managed to grab a UDFA deal with the Saints. He was a four-year starter between North Dakota and Texas State before he was a fifth-year transfer to BC, and he put up a solid enough season to get signed.

DeBerry – DeBerry signed on with the Cowboys, as he transferred to Texas A&M for his fifth year after four seasons with the Eagles. He was a big loss for BC’s secondary, as he started seven games this year for the Aggies and grabbed two interceptions.

Gill – Gill put up huge numbers for Fresno State this past year after three seasons with BC. After an initial start to his career at Ohio State, he transferred to the Eagles ahead of the 2020 season and through three years he put up 1,092 yards. He put up basically half of that in just one year with the Bulldogs, tallying 516 yards on 49 catches and six touchdowns.

Continue Reading

Trending

©2023 BanterNation