Moving...ups and downs
My musings on BC-ND generated a few emails saying that BC will be a permanent cellar dweller in the ACC. I think BC will be a middle of the pack team in the ACC, winning 6 to 8 games every season. My gut told me that good teams remained good, mediocre remained mediocre and bad, bad after conference switches. Looking to support my hypothesis, I went back to examine the records of teams joining major conferences since the Pac 10 expanded in the late ‘70s. I looked at the teams’ five years prior to joining the conference and their first five years in their new conference. I excluded teams joining the Big East since it was a completely new conference and did not include Miami and Va. Tech’s recent moves since we only have one ACC season to measure (although it should be noted that Va. Tech won the conference). The numbers sort of burst my bubble. Take a look. (The winning percentage is in parentheses.)[SCROLL TO SEE TABLES]
Pac 8 expansion
|Arizona State||43-16 (.729)||41-17 (.707)|
|Arizona||36-20 (.643)||28-26-2 (.519)|
Georgia Tech joining the ACC.
|Georgia Tech||30-25-1 (.536)||15-38-2 (.283)|
Penn State becoming the 11th team in the Big 10.
|Penn State||42-16 (.724)||49-12 (.803)|
Florida State joining the ACC.
|Florida State||53-8 (.869)||54-6-1 (.900)|
|South Carolina||31-23-2 (.574)||26-28-1 (.481)|
Remnants of the SWC getting swallowed by the Big 8.
|Texas||34-22-2 (.607)||39-20 (.661)|
|Texas A&M||51-8-1 (.864)||37-23 (.617)|
|Baylor||34-24 (.586)||11-44 (.200)|
|Texas Tech||34-24 (.571)||33-25 (.569)|
Of these examples, only three teams (Texas, Penn State, Florida State) improved their winning percentages in the first few seasons in the new conference. The average winning percentage declined by 10%. And most fans would point out that the three schools that improved were already established, traditional powers.
Most disconcerting was Baylor’s decline. Many opponents and columnists have mocked BC saying that we’ll be “the Baylor of the ACC.” And while there are similarities between the schools, I think the situations are different enough that our fate will be different. Baylor is a private school in a mega-conference filled with state schools. Also, Baylor is in a football hotbed where high school athletes have numerous choices. BC will be in a conference with a mix of public and private schools, with many of the public schools being like-minded academically. Although the Northeast does not generate as many football players as Texas, BC will remain a unique and appealing option in an underrated recruiting area.
So what does it all mean? The numbers say BC will experience a slight decline. I’ll hold out hope.