What's going on with the NCAA these days?
Should we expand March Madness? Should the Big Ten grab 15 more teams and still ironically refer to themselves as "Ten"? Should other conferences grab smaller schools and act like adding ECU to their conference slate suddenly earns them $100 million in new television revenue?
Lately, the NCAA is more worried about expansion than
a guy sitting next to Rosie O'Donnell on a 4 hour flight Russell Crowe's costume director for the upcoming "Robin Hood" movie the last notch on Chris Berman's belt in hour 3 of the NFL draft.
The fact of the matter is, the reason behind any of this expansion talk comes down to one thing: money. The NCAA and its teams are fully convinced that bigger=better when it comes to the size of conferences. While everyone waits for the Big Ten to fire its opening salvo, we here at Offbeat Friday thought we'd take a look at what the ACC should do when the jheri-curled, red-leather-jacket-wearing tough guy named Expansion comes a'calling.
Like we said earlier, this entire process is about conferences wanting more money. Lately, many people have assumed that the ACC's, and Florida State's, only recourse once conference expansion begins is to roll over and accept it. A lot of people have suggested that FSU should simply give in when the big bad SEC bully starts throwing his weight around. "If you can't beat em, join em," they say. And as the conferences stand right now, the ACC isn't going to beat the SEC in revenue any time soon. But what if the ACC blew up the prototype and got a little crazy? Let's take a look at a few simple additions that would make the ACC the premier super-conference in all the NCAA.
Potential ACC Member: Lebron James
Lebron's upcoming free agency has been well publicized for at least 3 years. His potential impact on an NBA franchise could be so great that the New York Knicks seem to have designed their entire rebuilding effort around freeing up enough cap space to woo Lebron during the offseason. The ACC doesn't have a salary cap. If we could pool together enough money, we could make a pretty substantial offer to Lebron to become the 13th member of the ACC.
The Pros: Depending on how Tiger Woods' recent rehab sticks, Lebron is on pace to become the world's first billion dollar athlete... that's some serious cash. ESPN's hype machine would go crazy whenever Lebron traveled to Durham to face the Blue Devils.
The Cons: The ACC would definitely have to cut back on those awful "Sportsmanship" commercials. Lebron doesn't play nice when he loses. In order to keep his current marketing image, we'd have to make some adjustments to Lebron's current commercials, and a Mike Krzyzewski puppet could potentially be the scariest thing ever created.
Should we want him? Yes. The combined ESPN and Jay Z love would make Gary Danielson's crush on Tim Tebow look like an arranged marriage for British royalty.
Can we get him? Maybe. The ACC will have to pool together its resources and do what it does best. FSU and Miami will have their coeds put on a car wash to raise money, Duke and Virginia can represent our interests at the negotiating table, and Maryland can yell obscenities at Lebron until he decides to join us.
Potential ACC Member: The New Jersey Nets
Let's face it. They aren't getting anywhere in the NBA anytime soon. But there are a lot of signs that the Nets could soon be a valuable addition to the ACC. They have enough cap space to attract a second level NBA free agent this summer, so the ACC could be adding Amare Stoudemire sometime soon. Their upcoming move to Brooklyn would add a huge television market for the ACC.
The Pros: Once again, it's always good to have Jay Z on your side. Secondly, the Nets are about to get a crazy Russian billionaire owner. Think Mark Cuban. But crazier. And more Russian-y. What would be more awesome to have join the conference? Plus, I've heard Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has a thing for Snookie, so there's that.
The Cons: Ralph Friedgen adopting the Gym-Tan-Laundry lifestyle. :shudder:
Should we want them? Absolutely. Buy low, sell high I always say. And it doesn't get too much lower than a 12-70 record.
Can we get them? The Nets' future has some potential. They're the odds-on favorite to pick up John Wall this summer. And that dance is so darn marketable. It'd take a pretty significant offer, but I think we could do it.
Potential ACC Member: The University of South Florida
Haha... just kidding.
Potential ACC Member: The Chelsea Football Club
Nobody ever said the Atlantic Coast Conference only had to be on one coast. Chelsea is one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world and would be a huge addition to the ACC. Plus, they would dramatically increase our football presence in Europe.*
*Offbeat Friday understands the difference between football and football. Save your letters crazy soccer fans. Shouldn't you be off somewhere liking other things that aren't popular in the US anyway? You know, like tact.... and communism.
The Pros: The ACC would be the first NCAA conference to go global. The potential revenue would be unmatched. And once again, we'd have the additional awesomeness of adding a crazy Russian billionaire to the conference.
The Cons: If you thought Duke fans were elitist, wait till you see what happens when you add British accents to the mix. Travel would be a concern. And we'd also probably have to add Arsenal or something to keep natural rivalries alive, and we don't have the kind of cash we'd need to attract both of them.
Should we want them? Roman Abramovich isn't afraid to use his money. So we could definitely get some cash into the conference. But we'd probably have to shut everything down every four years so the rest of the conference could pretend like we cared about the World Cup.
Can we get them? Nope.
Potential ACC Member: The NWO (circa 1997)
The NWO was able to lead WCW past the WWE juggernaut in the ratings during the infamous "Monday Night Wars." Maybe they could help the ACC pass the behemoth SEC.
The Pros: Nostalgic wrestling fanboys everywhere would finally having a rooting interest in real sports.
The Cons: Scott Hall's drinking problems. Aging NWO members would probably destroy the conference 3 years after its highest success. Repeated attempts at reviving a struggling team that only further depress those who remember their former greatness.
Should we want them? Nope.
Can we get them? Do we have $25 and a pack of smokes? Then sure. Plus, we're kinda obligated to accept them. Jim Grobe joined the NWO in 1999. And when you're NWO, you're NWO 4 Life.
Potential ACC Member: South Park Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone
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Potential ACC Member: The Smoke Monster
The driving force of television's "Lost". Started off Season 1 as a mysterious island entity. Became the most pivotal character in the show's mythology and the focus of its endgame in Season 6.
The Pros: Could destroy all other conferences that threatened the ACC "island." Could assume the form of great coaches who have passed on in order to motivate players. Coaches like Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, and Joe Paterno.
The Cons: Might or might not be the physical manifestation of evil. But hey, we've already got Duke so we're kinda used to it. Plus, he might insist on bringing "candidates" with him.
Should we want him? Uhh... yes. It's a freaking smoke monster!
Can we get him? He's kinda trapped on an island right now. So we'll get back to you on that after the series finale on May 23rd.
Potential ACC Member: Sliced Bread
The standard bearer for every comparison ever made.
The Pros: From here on, the ACC would be the measuring stick for virtually everything. We'd be the greatest conference since... ourselves.
The Cons: Paul Johnson's low carb diet. Alienating the segment of our fan base suffering from celiac disease.
Should we want it? Come on, even ducks want bread and they don't even know what it is.
Can we get it? The only thing on this list that might come cheaper than the NWO.
So there you have it. Eight targets for ACC expansion that would put the Big 10 and the SEC to shame. I encourage you to email your local athletic director and insist that we make these targets a priority, or else we run the risk of becoming obsolete in the land of the super-conferences.