Apr 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Duke Blue Devils midfielder David Lawson (2) checks Syracuse Orange midfielder Steve Ianzito (24) at the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
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Syracuse and BIG EAST reach agreement for Orange to move to ACC in 2013 bit.ly/MzcMvw— Syracuse Athletics (@Cuse) July 16, 2012
It's official, people of Earth: The ACC will become the human deathray of lacrosse in 2014, cutting through your being for profit without peer. When the Orange come aboard, the league's membership will have accounted for 22 national championships, 44 NCAA Tournament championship game appearances, and 88 Final Four appearances. There isn't a league in the country that can match that kind of top-to-bottom Godzilla-marching-through-a-poor-city-outfitted-with-far-too-many-electrical-poles type of destruction.
Don't take it from me, though. Syracuse head coach John Desko made these words come out of his mouth while moving his lips and tongue in a manner to create sentences in the human language of English:
“Lacrosse-wise, you aren’t going to find any better competition than you will in the ACC,” SU coach John Desko said.
It's hard to disagree with that. Even THUNDERDOME! and the Patriot League are throwing flower petals at the feet of the ACC at this point, hoping for special dispensation from the throne to permit them a semblance of overall competitive acknowledgement.
With the addition of the Orange the ACC is still a member short of qualifying for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. (Attention N.C. State, Boston College, Florida State, et al.: This is your chance to make the magic happen, people.) Regardless, there aren't going to be too many years when the the league doesn't put its entire membership into May on an at-large basis. (Although, that opportunity is shrinking a bit with the NEC presumably getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament starting in 2013 and taking a bite out of the at-large pool.) There's no word yet on how the ACC will conduct its cockamamie league tournament with five squads in 2014, but that doesn't really matter much right now as King Kong just kind of needs to think of things on the fly and stuff still gets done.
As much as the ACC gains with the addition of the Orange, the Big East loses much more. The NCAA won't strip the league of its automatic invitation to the the NCAA Tournament as Marquette's participation in the conference starting in
2013 2014 will keep the league's membership at six (the minimum to earn a free trip to May). What is lost is the cache of getting one of the NCAA's most-storied traditions to visit campus at least every other year, providing instant competitive credibility, a huge selling point for recruits, and increased ticket sales for when Syracuse comes to town. The Big East is going to struggle to try and fill the vacuum left by a double digit national champion departing the conference, and the onus isn't just on Notre Dame, Villanova, and Georgetown to fill that void: Instead, this is a conference that is going to need to elevate it's mushy middle and lagging bottom -- St. John's, Rutgers, and Providence -- to become a complete league, similar to THUNDERDOME! or the Patriot League, to make its bones.
That isn't an easy task, especially if secondary league shifting -- outside of money-in-a-sack football realignment -- occurs.
Regardless, 2014 is going to be a new kind of wonderful for Division I lacrosse. You may want to put on a pair of sweatpants now and work a new groove into the couch to prepare for all this nonsense.