Monday, September 5, 2011

Conference Hokey-Pokey™: ACC? Big East?

The ACC is other member of the consistent top-4 elite baseball conferences (along with SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12).

But if joining a Pacific Coast 16 conference seems far fetched and an ill fit, what about the Atlantic Coast Conference?

Missouri is no more an Atlantic coast state than it is a Pacific coast state, and the ACC actually is made up entirely of schools that are located along the Atlantic seaboard, stretching from Boston College to Miami. If the ACC wants to expand to the Super-Conference level of 16 (they currently number 12), they're going to have to move inward to find some of their candidates.

It seems more likely, though, that most of their targets would be teams in the somewhat unstable Big East, or independent schools in the area.

Adding Missouri would be a stretch far beyond their current or even potential footprint. Not a good match for either the ACC or for MU.

The Big East has been stretching the definition of "east" in recent years, topped off by their newest member, Texas Christian University. Adding Missouri as another farther west school wouldn't be out of the question for them.

But two things count against the Big East as a viable suitor for Mizzou.

First, The Big East is an odd patched together set of schools all focused in different directions. Several of their schools don't really pay much attention to football, preferring to be basketball schools. Because of this instability, the Big East is more likely to find themselves being the target of poaching by other conferences wanting to expand to Super-Conference level. The SEC will be looking at some of those Big East schools to add to their East Division. The Big Ten will will be doing the same. And the ACC, as noted above, will be doing their own cherry-picking.

And that's just as well. The Big East is no place for MU football. And The Big East is a hit-and-miss baseball conference, with some movers and shakers like TCU and Louisville. But the Tigers might as well be in the Big Ten or Missouri Valley as far as baseball goes.

♦ The far-flung ACC and Big East have little to offer a Midwestern school other than BCS status and an outrageous increase in travel costs. (Columbia Tribune)

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