Morgantown, West Virginia – The landscape of college athletics is rapidly changing and conferences are scrambling to stay relevant and/or alive. Although West Virginia has a relatively comfortable, secure spot in the new Big 12 Conference, other options will likely open up for the Mountaineers in the very near future.
The ACC needs West Virginia more than West Virginia needs the ACC
The SEC and Big Ten Conferences have already shown that they are willing and able to poach top schools from major conferences. The SEC took Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 and the Big Ten stole USC and UCLA from the PAC-12.
Having said that, other conferences would be naive to believe that the SEC and Big Ten will stop there. The ACC, for example, is ripe for picking with power-players Clemson and Florida State hanging around.
The ACC has to now be in panic mode. Losing Clemson, Florida State and possibly Miami would relegate the conference from a top-tier conference to a somewhat average one (at best), particularly in football (where it matters!).
The ACC needs to be aggressive and they need to be aggressive now. The Big Ten desperately wants Notre Dame to join, but the ACC needs Notre Dame more than any other conference in the nation to remain relevant.
Bringing in a combination of Notre Dame and West Virginia keeps the ACC relevant, and, more importantly, likely keeps Clemson and Florida State in the conference.
The ACC reaching out to Notre Dame and West Virginia almost makes too much sense at this point. Sitting and waiting for the new dominoes to fall could mean a quick death to the ACC Conference.
West Virginia moving to the ACC makes a lot of sense for the Mountaineers, too. Not only do they regain their natural, geographic rivalries – Pitt, Virginia Tech, Virginia – they would also get Big East rivals Miami, Boston College and Syracuse back on the schedule.
Those claiming that West Virginia’s academics are not on par with the ACC’s strict requirements must understand that academics mean very little in today’s athletics, particularly when a conference is simply trying to remain existent.
With the additions of Notre Dame and West Virginia, the ACC will remain a strong, vital part of college athletics. Without Notre Dame and West Virginia, the ACC will almost certainly be picked apart by the SEC and the Big Ten Conferences.