Why Louisville moving to the ACC matters to fans

11/28/2012 10:03 AM

The University of Louisville’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference will have major ramifications in the ever-changing landscape of conference realignment. But since I don’t really care how it will fatten the pockets of the administrators and TV people, let’s take a look at how the move affects you, the casual fan, and me, a member of the media:

1. Much, much better road trips. Not counting the Garden, Big East road trips for UofL fans could be summarized as follows: Cincinnati was close, Notre Dame was historic, and South Florida was warm. That was about it. Did anybody ever really get excited about going to Stoors? Or Syracuse, for that matter? Now you get Tobacco Road, Atlanta, Miami, and one of the country’s best college towns, Charlottesville, Virginia. I would dig catching a game at Death Valley. Plus you still get Notre Dame. I’ll take it.

2. Piggybacking off No. 1, Goodbye Garden, Hello Greensboro. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament last March. The thought of a Duke, North Carolina, Louisville and Syracuse ACC Tournament Final Four should give you chills.

3. Basketball coaching royalty-Is there a conference that will boast a better quartet of coaches than Coach K, Roy Williams Rick Pitino and Jim Boeheim?

4. Get ready for more Mike Patrick. Love him or hate him, you’ll get to see and hear one of the league staples on the ACC Network broadcasts. Also prepare yourself for healthy doses of Tim Brando (“the iron unkind”) and Bucky Waters.

5. No more lame Big East football jokes. Do I really need to elaborate? That being said…

6. Football is going to have to bring it now. The kind of season that gets you to 9-3 in the Big East will land you at 6-6 at best in the ACC. Also along those lines…

7. No more excuses for a less-than-full Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Hey, I know 200-inch HDTV screens and the comforts of your own home made the prospects of stepping out on a cold November afternoon to watch UofL-Temple less than riveting. But now, Card fans, your Saturdays could be filled with the likes of Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, and, yes.. Notre Dame. For a fan base that has suffered from a long-time inferiority complex, now’s the time to show you belong with the big boys.

8. The increased likelihood of holding on to Charlie Strong. If the move doesn’t happen, Strong was likely a goner in a year or two. Now, unless he’s just dying to cast his lot in the SEC, there’s really no reason to leave the ‘Ville at this point. Tom Jurich has already said he’ll pay whatever to keep him, and now his program is guaranteed a seat at the big boy table in a league that has two teams centered in a state (Florida) that he loves to recruit.

9. The end of the UofL-UK football series? This is all just speculation. But privately, the UK administration has always felt that they were in a no-win situation with the football series. Kentucky’s stance was that Louisville needed the series a lot more than they did for television purposes and to help fill Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Now, not so much. With the Cards now facing the prospects of a much more difficult league schedule that should present a much more attractive season-ticket package to fans, would talks towards a brief ‘hiatus’ in the series become more amenable?

10. Enjoy this, UofL fans. After being a nervous wreck for the last year or so, you deserve it. At least until the next round of conference re-alignment.

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