Nov 28

Louisville Set to Join ACC

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Addition of Cardinals is welcome news to ACC fans. The presidents and chancellors of the Atlantic Coast Conference voted via conference call on Wednesday morning to invite the University of Louisville to become the 14th member of the conference. The Cardinals will begin competition in 2014 and fill the vacancy left by the University of Maryland's departure from the league two weeks ago. Louisville brings a strong tradition of basketball, and an up-and-coming football program, to the ACC. After another rocky season on the gridiron, and with rumors flying that the conference would begin to break up with the departure of charter member Maryland, the ACC showed that - like it or not - it is here to stay.

I never know if I am an ACC fan or not. On one hand, I get tired of the league and its basketball-first mentality, and so it is tough at times to wave the conference flag. On the other hand, I see five or six football programs with tremendous promise that call the ACC home, and I know the potential is there. So I tend to pull for the league to break through and actually do something great in that sport.

Besides that, I have been following the ACC since I could talk, so I want to see my home-league do well. If the league does well, it looks better for my squad, Clemson, who has been a member since the ACC started 59 years ago.

The addition of Louisville shows the league is still obsessed with college basketball, but that it is beginning to realize football is king. You see, a couple of other Big East schools (UConn and Cincinnati) were also in the mix to come into the ACC with this vote, but with Louisville being the leader of the three as far as football is concerned, the Cardinals won the vote by the ACC leaders.

That vote pleases me as I am a football fan, and not so much of a basketball fan (but if I were a hoops fan, the Elite Eights and Final Fours that UL and Coach Rick Pitino bring in are easy to accept also). Louisville actually cares about football, and that is what has me excited for them to join our league. They have a nice stadium (recently renovated Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, capacity 55,000), and they are willing to spend money on a good coach (Bobby Petrino and current coach Charlie Strong each received lucrative contracts in the last decade).

They also have a very passionate fan following and I would think their fans would be excited about trips to Blacksburg, Raleigh, Clemson, Atlanta and Tallahassee. I know I plan on checking out how they do things in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium the first time we are scheduled to play there.

Papa John's Cardinal Stadium

Louisville is in Kentucky - not exactly an "Atlantic Coast" state - but is geographically just fine to fit into fans' travel plans. Boston College, the extreme northernmost team, and Miami, the extreme southernmost team, are already farther away for most ACC teams than Louisville will be. Many games will be drivable for Cardinal fans when playing conference foes.

As an ACC follower, I like this expansion. I think Louisville brings exactly what ACC football fans and basketball fans want - a team that will compete on the national level. The Cardinals will bring excitement on the gridiron into this league and that is something that the ACC absolutely had to have at this time.

In no way do I think that the simple addition of Louisville will take the ACC from being mediocre to being good in football. But I do think they will give the league an additional quality program and strengthen its overall perception. Congrats go out to the leaders of our conference for finally getting something right as far as football is concerned!

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