Do you read this site's fancy pants links post every day -- "Lacrosse the Internet"? You should; it's kind of the most important thing ever written on the Internet. There are all kinds of good stuff in that daily piece, and rather than watch it exist on the periphery, I'm going to make it even more important than it already is: Every day I'll pull out a story from the links post and expand a little upon it. It's called "Did You See That?!" and it'll happen as long as I remember to write it.
Link Post: June 25, 2013
Story: "Countdown to the ACC: Syracuse will start new era on July 1 ," Syracuse.com
With Notre Dame and Syracuse prepared to enter the ACC on July 1, 2013, it's starting to happen again -- the ACC lacrosse-SEC football comparisons are running hot and melting faces:
This year's NCAA lacrosse championship game offered a preview of next year's ACC as Syracuse and Duke met in the final. Duke captured its second national championship.
Syracuse has won 11 NCAA championships, the most of any school in the country, but the ACC is the toughest lacrosse league in the nation. The ACC has had at least one team in the NCAA Final Four in each of the last 10 years, a team in the final in eight of the last 11 years and it has accounted for 13 of the NCAA's 43 lacrosse champions. And now, Syracuse and Notre Dame are joining the league. The ACC is truly the lacrosse equivalent of SEC football.
It's the last statement that makes me eyeroll so hard that you can feel it through your Internet computing machine: The ACC is truly the lacrosse equivalent of SEC football. Equivalent? The leagues are equal? No, sir. SEC football is a cut below what the ACC -- for at least one season with six teams -- has for lacrosse purposes.
Like the SEC on the football field, the ACC is loaded but it's loaded differently: From top to bottom, the entirety of the ACC is going to be in the national title -- never mind the league title -- conversation all season long. Can the SEC make that claim with Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State (CLANGA! CLANGA!), and others falling in behind the league's curb-stompers? No chance. 100 percent of the ACC is among the national lacrosse elite entering 2014 and there isn't another conference in any sport that has the kind of depth and talent that ACC lacrosse provides. ACC lacrosse is beyond a superconference; it is the conference, and its strength is without significant drop off throughout the membership roll.
Now, I understand the superficial comparisons here -- that each league has the highest volume of superior talent; that each league boasts the nation's strongest likely contenders for a national championship (the SEC has put at least one team in the BCS national championship nine times since 1998 (the highest volume among all conferences); the ACC has put at least one team in the national championship game every season since 1998 (the streak actually reaches back to Syracuse's 1988 appearance)); that each league's conference slate is a nightmarish grind of pain and horror; that the league's fanbases are among the most passionate and sociopathic in the country; and that the leagues draw the most attention from the nation as a whole -- but ACC lacrosse simply outpaces SEC football in terms of its competitive nature and relationship it has to the rest of its conference peers. Every single program in the ACC -- again, for at least one season in which it will operate as a "real" conference with six members -- matters, and matters in the most important way to its sport. SEC football is a kill zone, but it's not nearly as well-armed as what ACC lacrosse will have in its new form.