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Expansion no slam dunk, warns ACC scribe

The Big Ten is eyeing a monster payday with its expansion plans. But at least one writer cautions that money blinds you to expansion’s negative aspects.

Especially if the conference becomes too unwieldy.

The ACC expansion from nine to 12 teams was supposed to cement it as the nation’s preeminent basketball conference and boost its flagging football reputation by adding Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech and Boston College. Yet Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News & Observer says that hasn’t been the case. To wit:

Schedules had to be revamped across the board, travel expenses in minor sports soared, and any semblance of a “conference family” was forever abandoned.

So much ill will was created among the old Big East clan that pre-raid relationships will never be restored.

At the end of the turmoil, the ACC wound up a weaker basketball conference, roughly the same in football and with a baseball “championship” tournament that prohibits four teams every year from even competing.

The per-team television income remained about the same as when the ACC had nine members, and those all-important football championship games have done nothing whatsoever to create any sort of national interest or prestige.

Fair points, though I would say that Miami’s football decline is part of the problem - the early 2000 ‘Canes would’ve been a significant boost in prestige and bowl revenue - but few would argue the ‘Canes and Hokies represent a football problem. If the conference seeks to boost its football image, those were two logical additions.

The larger issue is that the ACC took a shot at becoming a big-time football conference, which hasn’t worked out. Florida State isn’t the same, Clemson and Maryland have underachieved and Duke and Virginia remain also-rans.

If FSU, Miami and Virginia Tech revert to their old form, that’s a worthwhile conference expansion.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.