Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE
With ACC expansion on the horizon, the ACC has several options to choose from, but there's really only one option: the Louisville Cardinals
I know the past few days have been rough on you. Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, bolted for the Big Ten in a move that came about very quickly. And now the ACC must find a school to replace the Terrapins. I'm sure there are many quality candidates that you can choose from. But barring Notre Dame deciding to drop its independence, in which case you should totally say yes, there is only one option.
I know Connecticut is tempting. While the Huskies have a great basketball program, which I'm sure is very important to you, and are located right between two major media markets, their football product is, well, not good (I know Pitt just lost to them, but play along with me here).
But guess what? There's a great basketball program that also happens to be in the Big East. And they have a great football program as well. It's Louisville and they should really be the only choice.
Yes, Louisville, that school with a dumpster fire of a football program just a few years ago until they hired Charlie Strong and have since become one of the top up-and-coming programs in the country. This is no disrespect to Connecticut, which is a fine academic and athletic university. But Louisville is the much better option. They boast a massive and passionate fan base who will travel in packs to bowl games. They have a great tradition in basketball and play in one of the best arenas in the country. They actually are solid in many non-revenue sports. And they have a built-in SEC rival that is usually beatable on the football field, something I know is important to you.
People at Florida State and Clemson are asking questions, wondering if you actually care about football. Even if you don't, pretend like you do and bring the Cardinals aboard. It worked for John Marinatto for at least a year (until, as you well know, you invited us and Syracuse and slowly destroyed the Big East). You don't want to see FSU and Clemson leave, I don't want to see them leave, and this move would prove to them that you understand how important football is in college athletics.
You gave Pitt a way out of the sinking ship that is the Big East, so I'm willing to compromise a little and invite Cincinnati to the ACC, another solid football and basketball school. But if UConn gets the invite, then I'm jumping on the Florida State and Clemson wagon and hoping for a way out. Pitt left the Big East so they could be a part of a conference that not only has great football programs, but stability as well. Inviting a basketball-first school like Connecticut will only cause Florida State's and Clemson's eyes to wander west towards the Big 12 (because everyone knows the SEC isn't calling anytime soon, sorry FSU and Clemson fans), creating further unrest in the ACC. You can prevent all of this. Do the right thing and invite Louisville.
P.S. You also should make sure Maryland pays every penny of that $50 million exit fee. That'll definitely help as well.