I am breaking my Pat Kraft press conference reactions into two separate posts because the supposed controversy of “BC being in the ACC” has nothing to do with Kraft and everything to do with some BC fans and critics and the Northeast Media who still harp on BC being in the ACC.
Steve Buckley of The Athletic brought up the topic during the press conference and shielded himself (knowing it is a stupid debate) with the preface that criticism is often repeated in the comments section of any article he writes on BC. There is so much stupidity with this debate, I don’t even know where to begin.
First, some reminders. This is our 15th year in the ACC. That is longer than our history in the Big East as a Football Conference (1991-2004). If you want to talk history and ties, BC’s ties to the ACC are now deeper than they were to Big East Football. But for all of those who long for the good ol’ days, I would also like to remind you that fellow Big East members Pitt, Syracuse, Miami, and Virginia Tech are all in the ACC, as well as one of the teams that replaced us in the Big East (Louisville) and Notre Dame shifted its partial membership from the Big East to the ACC. The ACC is the old Big East! Only with more geographic diversity, better TV deals, more access to growing recruiting markets and places our Alumni live. The ACC also helped improve our school brand in regions where 20 years ago people were still confusing BC and BU.
For those who feel we might have been disloyal, let me remind you that every original member of Big East Football, aside from Temple, voluntarily left the conference. All, aside from Temple, ended up in Power 5 conferences. We did what was in the best interest of Boston College and its student athletes.
For those who long for the days of Big East basketball, I would like to point two things out. First when BC was good in the ACC, the intensity of the games and interest in the product was as good as it ever was in the old Big East. When we finally fix BC Basketball, the ACC basketball will be fun too. Second, the old Big East is not what the current Big East is. Don’t be fooled by UConn’s desperate move back into the conference. As fun as a game against Georgetown or Villanova might be right now, we have zero history with current Big East teams like Butler, Xavier, DePaul, Creighton, or Marquette. Are those the games you long for? Would those games fill up Conte?
If you want that (and I do think we need to play Providence annually), then BC can schedule lots of Big East games. Based on the current trends and speculation, lots of sports are going to revert back to regional non-conference scheduling, so games against UConn, St. John’s and Providence are more likely than they were pre-COVID.
For those who think the old Big East or AAC would be a better fit for our non-revenue sports, I don’t really understand that argument. The current Big East (or even the American Conference) would still require lots of travel. The competition might be weaker making it easier for BC to compete, but we would probably be on a level playing field with those schools if we had Big East budgets instead of ACC budgets. Also, all those sports are less stable outside of the ACC, so you would never know when one of your peer programs would face cuts.
If football is important to you as a BC fan, than the current ACC was always our best home. We are in the only Power 5 conference with more than two private schools. We are aligned with schools that share our values, problems and challenges. While we have not broken through to become a power program within the ACC, I still believe it can happen. It will take the right coaches, incredible fundraising and improved fan support. Look at the difference in Clemson in one decade. BC can have that sort of breakthrough. The first step is to ignore the people whining about the old Big East.