Notre Dame announced today that the university will join the ACC in all of its sports except football. Forget football.
Notre Dame will add basketball firepower to a conference that has already picked up Syracuse and Pittsburgh for the 2013-2014 season. The ACC currently has solid teams all across the board, including Boston College and Virginia Tech. Of course, the conference was nothing without Duke and North Carolina.
In the last 15 years, Duke and Carolina have collected a combined 12 ACC championships. They dominate their respective regular season schedules and earn top seeds in the NCAA tournament consistently. Duke earned a two-seed in 2012 while UNC got a one-seed. Syracuse got the one-seed as well last year. In 2011, Pitt and Duke earned one-seeds. Notre Dame was a two-seed. One must be more than impressed with the ACC's body of work. These are five extremely competitive schools and the bar will be set high due to each school's recent successes. The ACC regular season and tournament matchups will likely be at all-time highs. Some of these games will be potential NCAA championship previews.
Of course, Duke and North Carolina probably aren't that worried with this new competition. Syracuse could potentially be hit with sanctions in the near future. Both Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams know that their programs command the respect of college basketball fans and basketball recruits when their names appear anywhere. Nothing could touch their rivalry either. Though the Tar Heels avenged their previous loss to Duke, who could forget Austin Rivers' three pointer at the buzzer?
The bigger question is, what does this mean for all of the other conferences in college basketball? The Big East is doomed. Syracuse, Pitt, and Notre Dame were essential to its basketball reputation. The Big East only has Louisville and UConn left now. UConn also lost legendary head coach Jim Calhoun today, as well as a berth to postseason play this upcoming season. This heavily damages their chances of landing big recruits. On the flipside, the Pac-12 looks like a conference on the rise. The conference took in seven of the top 25 recruits for this year. Notable teams such as UCLA and Arizona will represent the conference well. The Big 12 is still relevant with Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. The Big 10 and SEC will be the ACC's fiercest competitors. Defending champion Kentucky and Missouri represent the SEC very well. The Big 10 is loaded with Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
Despite such talented teams in the power conferences, no conference has made as many brilliant moves as the ACC. There is so much hype and depth within the conference. The schools are benefitting majorly with the money, while the fans get to watch some amazing matchups, especially in ESPN's annual Big 10-ACC Challenge. College basketball will have its plate full for at the very least the next five to 10 years. Don't get too excited over college football. What is their post-season system, anyway?