Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE
The wait is over. Card Nation's day has come. The University of Louisville is headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
According to multiple major media outlets, the Atlantic Coast Conference has voted to extend an invitation to the University of Louisville.
I don't think I need to explain to you all why this news warrants a pants-off celebration. But just because it's so fun to talk about, let's look at the biggest reasons why the move to the ACC is such an enormous deal for U of L athletics.
1. This is a monster, monster step forward for the Louisville football program. Aside from the decreased likelihood of running the table (which still likely wouldn't leave the Big East Cards with a shot at the national title), there is no aspect of the football program that isn't improved dramatically by jumping to the ACC.
You're leaving a conference that's going to be left behind by the BCS in 2014 for one that has already secured access. You're leaving home games against Memphis and SMU behind for home games against Florida State and Virginia Tech. You're no longer seriously worried about competitors using conference affiliation against you on the recruiting trail. You're no longer worried about national perception (fair or unfair) working against you.
2. For all the reasons listed above, the likelihood of keeping Charlie Strong at Louisville after this or any future season just increased dramatically. I don't think there's any question that Strong was concerned about U of L's conference situation and that it was working against he and his staff on the recruiting trail. That is no longer an issue.
3. Louisville is leaving what was the king of college basketball conferences for what will be the king of college basketball conferences. Rick Pitino has deep ties to the Big East and has made it known on multiple occasions that he'd like U of L to stay there forever...but I think he's still going to be Ok with this situation.
Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, NC State, Wake Forest, Pitt...Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim; that's insane.
Basketball is pretty important around these parts, and this conference is going to be as good as the sport gets once everything is finished shaking out.
4. The ACC had the No. 2 conference RPI in college baseball last season. The Big East, for comparison, was No. 13. I think Dan McDonnell will enjoy not only the step up in competition, but the warmer weather on weekend road trips.
Additionally, five of the top 20 programs in last year's final Director's Cup standings came from the ACC. The SEC was the only other conference to equal that number.
It's safe to say that U of L's non-revenue sports are also going to be in good shape after this move.
5. I know there's already been some concern about some schools - namely Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech - bolting before Louisville even officially joins the ACC. Let's be clear: even if something along those lines plays out, the ACC is going to be in 1,000 times better shape than the Big East. The Big East added Tulane on Tuesday...for all sports. There's not going to be a Tulane or an SMU in the ACC.
As Adam Lefkoe put it so eloquently: "don't complain that the life boat isn't comfortable enough."
6. They already have a television deal. You can talk about the financial ramifications of this or the added exposure, but I'm just including it because it's something I was really tired of paying any attention to.
7. The ACC has been the best fit for Louisville since all this realignment madness began 14 months ago. It's not like U of L fas were picking the Big 12 as their first choice, it was just that the ACC had never been an option before. It makes more sense geographically, it's always been an outstanding basketball conference (Cardinal fans like basketball), and while it's a big step up in football, it's not so drastic that Louisville has to worry about being competitive.
The main attractions of the original Big East - the best basketball in the country and a manageable path to the BCS - are still present, only now they're attached to a more exciting football schedule, better access to the four-team playoff, and a better situation for nearly all non-revenue programs.
I don't have to tell you how bleak things looked just a week and-a-half ago. And now, somehow, U of L has managed to emerge from all of this in what has to be considered the best situation possible.
All hail Tom Jurich. All Hail U of L.