Revisionist Realigment History: What If Syracuse Joined the ACC in 2004?

What If Syracuse Left the ACC Back in 2004?

What If Syracuse Left the ACC Back in 2004?

Over on Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, I’ve recently undertaken a project that basically hits “reset” on how the ACC has realigned over the past decade. As most know, it was nearly Syracuse that got one of the initial invites to the league back in 2003, not Virginia Tech, and this series of posts looks at the alternate, more-“Orange” reality where Mark Werner’s political shuffling never happened.

Since it’s a Syracuse-focused blog, obviously the emphasis will be on how the Orange perform, but it’s still a fun look at what could’ve been. In no way is this a perfectly scientific study, but with the power of WhatIfSports.com and its historical simulation engine, at least we can run accurate comparisons year-by-year.

With that said, go check out today’s post, which looks at the first year — 2004 — and how Syracuse manages its first year in its new conference. As a bit of a teaser, here’s how the adjusted standings shake out:

ACC Football Standings, 2004

1. Florida State (9-3) (6-2)

2. North Carolina (7-5) (6-2)

3. Miami (9-3) (5-3)

4. Virginia (8-4) (5-3)

5. Georgia Tech (8-4) (5-3)

6. Syracuse (6-6) (4-4)

7. Clemson (6-5) (4-4)

8. Maryland (5-6) (3-5)

9. NC State (4-7) (2-6)

10. Wake Forest (4-7) (1-7)

11. Duke (2-9) (1-7)

Check back every week, as I’ll be doing these for both football and basketball each season, leading up to 2012.

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5 thoughts on “Revisionist Realigment History: What If Syracuse Joined the ACC in 2004?

  1. This is interesting. Did you consider any other scenarios Since the seemingly never-ending realignment saga began in 2010, I’ve wondered how an 18-team ACC football conference would have fared. Something like the following:

    North Division
    Boston College
    Connecticut
    Maryland
    Miami
    Penn State
    Pittsburgh
    Rutgers
    Syracuse
    West Virginia
    South Division
    Clemson
    Duke
    Florida State
    Georgia Tech
    North Carolina
    North Carolina State
    Virginia
    Virginia Tech
    Wake Forest

    This configuration could preserve schedules and rivalry games very similar to what both the ACC and Big East were playing pre-2004 with a 9 game conference schedule. 6 teams would have permanent cross division opponents (Miami/FSU, UMD/UVA, and WVU/VT) and the remaining 12 teams would rotate among each other.

    • For basketball scheduling, I could see two scenarios. Either a 19 team league with Notre Dame (and an 18 game schedule) or two 12-team leagues as follows.

      ACC

      Clemson
      Duke
      Florida State
      Georgia Tech
      Maryland
      Miami
      North Carolina
      North Carolina State
      Penn State
      Virginia
      Virginia Tech
      Wake Forest

      Big East

      Boston College
      Connecticut
      Georgetown
      Notre Dame
      Pittsburgh
      Providence
      Rutgers
      St. John’s
      Seton Hall
      Syracuse
      Villanova
      West Virginia

      • Both really great ideas. If we could go back in time, I really would’ve preferred a larger-scale merger between the two leagues around 2004. Keeps rivalries intact and avoids the mess that’s happened since. Also, with such a large league of powerful schools in key markets, no way anyone sees the ACC as vulnerable.

        Alas, we’ve gone too far for it to work. But sure would’ve been nice.

        • That’s the biggest issue with college sports — complete lack of vision. If conference commissioners were smart, they’d understand that they’re better off creating alliances between conferences, rather than expanding. That way, you can still keep autonomy, culture, rivalries — all the best parts of college sports — and still put yourself in a financially advantageous situation.

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