College football expansion has taken over the hearts and minds of college football junkies everywhere.
The sky is falling, rivalries are dead and the future of college football is in great peril. I am here to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. Conference realignment has been taking place for more than a century and it won’t stop anytime soon. Teams have been switching leagues, conferences have been created out of thin air and college football has powered through all the criticism and into the playoff era.
So just in case you don’t remember the days of Georgia Tech winning SEC titles or Grinnell College's 10-year stint in the Big 8, Athlon is here to show you conference realignment isn’t a new phenomenon.
The History of Big East Conference Realignment
The History of SEC Realingment
The History of Big 12 Realignment
The History of Big Ten Conference Realignment
The History of Pac-12 Conference Realignment
The History of ACC Realignment
The ACC Commissioners:
James Weaver, 1954-70
Robert James 1971-87
Eugene Corrigan, 1987-97
John Swofford, 1997-present
The ACC Timeline:
1953: After losing a multitude of members to the SEC in 1932, the once massive (23 member) Southern Conference loses eight key members to the formation of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The SoCon had a league-wide ban on postseason play and this is why many believe the ACC got started to begin with. Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and, a few months later, Virginia became the charter members.
1971: South Carolina decided to leave for independence and would later join the SEC in 1991.
1978: After only containing seven teams for most of the 70s, Georgia Tech left the Metro Conference for the greener pastures of the ACC.
1991: Also from the Metro Conference, Florida State’s decision to join the ACC might have been the most important maneuver in ACC history. The Noles went on to dominate the league for the first decade and it played in the first three BCS National Championship games (1998-2000). The 1999 title is the league’s only BCS National Championship.
2004: Miami and Virginia Tech both officially joined in the summer of 2004. Adding the two football powers gave the ACC two more viable national championship football programs to package with FSU.
2005: Boston College comes aboard the next year, giving the ACC 12 teams and the opportunity to split the conference into two divisions and host a title game. After taking the Canes, Hokies and Eagles, the Big East countered with expansion of its own and is still on life support to this day.
2011: In an effort to get out in front of the curve, John Swofford continued to stabilize his league by adding two more Big East powers, Syracuse and Pitt, to the group. The ACC technically expanded to 14 before any other major BCS league.
2014: The Panthers and Orange are slated to join the league in 2014 — the same year that the new football playoff will go into effect.
ACC BCS Bowl History
Notes: Year is representative of the fall football season, not the actual date of the bowl
(#) = final national BCS ranking
1998 Fiesta (NCG): (1) Tennessee 23, (2) Florida State 16
1999 Sugar (NCG): (1) Florida State 46, (2) Virginia Tech 29
2000 Orange (NCG): (1) Oklahoma 13, (2) Florida State 2
2001 Orange: (5) Florida 56, (10) Maryland 23
2002 Sugar: (3) Georgia 26, (14) Florida State 13
2003 Orange: (9) Miami 16, (7) Florida State 14
2004 Sugar: (3) Auburn 16, (8) Virginia Tech 13
2005 Orange: (3) Penn State 26, (22) Florida State 23 (3 OT)
2006 Orange: (6) Louisville 24, (14) Wake Forest 13
2007 Orange: (8) Kansas 24, (3) Virginia Tech 21
2008 Orange: (19) Virginia Tech 20, (12) Cincinnati 7
2009 Orange: (10) Iowa 24, (9) Georgia Tech 14
2010 Orange: (4) Stanford 40, (13) Virginia Tech 14
2011 Sugar: (13) Michigan 23, (11) Virginia Tech 20 (OT)
2011 Orange: (23) West Virginia 70, (15) Clemson 33
Overall Record: 2-13
National Championships: 1-2
The History of the ACC:
Special thanks to Wikipedia.com for the above image. Please help keep Wikipedia free for all by donating here.
-by Braden Gall
More Conference Alignment and Playoff Content:
College Football Playoff: Did the BCS Really Get It Wrong?
Debate: What is the Biggest Unanswered Question Left In the College Football Playoff?
Debate: Did College Football Get It Right With A Four-Team Playoff?
Debate: How Should A Selection Committee Be Used?