Clark: If the end is near, what will we miss most about the ACC?
With this week's stunning news that Southern Cal and UCLA are leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, it made all of us college football fans realize once and for all that super-conferences are coming. Much sooner than later.
Oklahoma and Texas are already wrapped up for the SEC.
The Big Ten (which might end up being the Big 18 or 20 before it's all said and done) responded by swallowing up the Los Angeles market in one big gulp.
The Power 5 is quickly becoming the Power 2. And every football program with any bit of history, tradition and marketability is hoping one of those two Super Tankers throws out a life preserver and brings them aboard.
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Florida State is certainly one of those programs.
Because, unless Notre Dame decides it wants to be a full-time member of the ACC, then I can't envision a scenario where this conference exists as a football league (which, in all honesty, is all that matters anymore financially) in any meaningful, relevant way.
The writing is on the wall. And on the roof. And the carpet. And in the garage.
Florida State's days in the ACC, unless something drastically changes with membership and TV revenue, seem to be numbered. At some point, the pressure from the expansions of the SEC and Big Ten -- especially if Notre Dame bails -- could be too much for this conference to withstand.
With that in mind, if that change does indeed come, I thought it would be fun to reminisce a little about the things we would miss about the Atlantic Coast Conference.
First and foremost: Lacrosse.
I can't tell you how many times I've woken up in a cold sweat in recent months, wondering about the viability of the conference as a whole and the financial future of Florida State, only to quickly think: "Calm down, Clark. We still own lacrosse! Ain't nobody out there even in the same stratosphere of the ACC when it comes to that game! Now go back to bed."
This goes hand-in-hand, of course, with ACC Network programming.
Many new networks, trying to make a name for themselves, would stock their flagship show with football, football, football, maybe a little basketball and baseball weaved in there, and then some more football.
Oh no. Not at the ACC Network, baby.
That was Lacrosse Central. They know what pays the bills!
Finebaum is on the SEC Network talking to Saban? Or Smart or Jimbo? Who cares? Especially during lacrosse season. That's just a waste of time. Because if loving lacrosse is wrong, I can promise you the ACC Network doesn't want to be right!
In all seriousness, Packer and Durham is no longer going to be a part of the ACC Network moving forward. And I really did like those two guys. They tried their best given the circumstances. Wes Durham is a terrific play-by-play man, one of the best in the business, and Mark Packer has been a terrific talk-show host for decades. They are very good at what they do.
But not as good as the ACC Network marketing folks!
What I'll miss, maybe more than anything, is watching commercials for binoculars that can only see bald eagles apparently. Or for those super sweet night-vision goggles ... because who among us doesn't need a pair of those from time to time?
I can't tell you how many times I've been stalking something or someone in the woods and then the sun goes down. And I'm just out of luck? Not anymore! Thanks to ACC Network commercials, I can hunt the most dangerous game even in the darkest of night.
I can't imagine what kind of checks these companies must've cut to air these commercials around the clock, but it had to at least approach four digits. Maybe five!
We'll miss you, ACC Network!
I'm also going to miss every single championship event, of almost every sport, being held in one state. That was fun. Football, soccer, baseball, basketball (until the awesome decision was made to move it to the Northeast, where people care absolutely nothing about the ACC unless Duke or Syracuse are playing) all being played in North Carolina.
It was pretty comforting knowing that if I was interested in where the ACC Championships were being played in any particular sport, I could just assume it was in that one state. Didn't even have to look it up most times! And I was almost always right.
It will be weird if FSU joins a conference that actually has a balanced rotation of championship venues. Not sure how we'll adjust to that!
As for the sport that matters more than anything else: What would we all miss about the football games on Saturdays? Or Thursdays? Or Fridays and Mondays? Or maybe pretty soon Wednesdays and Tuesdays?
Well, for starters, it was always an awesome sight to see those visitor stands in Doak filled to the brim with .... emptiness. It sure would be cool to be in a conference where opposing fans are chomping at the bit to see their teams compete in a beautiful stadium against an iconic program.
But not so much in this league. Other than Clemson and Miami, it ain't happening. Syracuse might bring 12 people. And I'm pretty sure it's just the flight crew from their charter.
Boston College? They bring zero.
Duke? They only show up if the game is in the Civic Center.
Wake Forest? Those fans don't go inside a stadium unless it's got a picnic hill behind one of the goalposts where you can lay down on your blanket and get your charcuterie board ready.
I'll never forget you, Snuggie Hill! Ever!
Oh, and I'll never forget the officiating either.
What a wonderful joy that's been for 30 years. With FSU getting called for more holds than every team, every year. And despite having a pretty good run there of NFL-caliber defensive linemen, never being held by opposing offensive lines.
And, you know, targeting. Horse-collar. Nigel Bradham. You guys remember all the great ones!
Ron Cherry might be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.
Neither will the Alliance, of course.
We all remember where we were last year when the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC announced they were in a partnership together, right? Forever bonded, we were told, by the virtue of three conferences striving to do what was right for college athletics in the face of the brazen poaching of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.
Then, you know, the Big Ten went and poached the city of Los Angeles from the heart of the Pac-12. Hey, what are you gonna do?
It was a good thought.
Just like FSU joining the ACC some 30 years ago.
But things change. And we move on.
Thankfully, we'll always have the memories.
Contact senior writer Corey Clark at email@example.com and follow @Corey_Clark on Twitter.
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