All this talk about conference realignments really wouldn't affect Duke athletics much at all though it could potentially destroy the ACC as a football conference. Even though Duke is one of the more powerful members of the conference, that is due large in part to the fact that the basketball program is so valuable to the conference, a shift due to realignment wouldn't be a devastating one.
Unfortunately at the heart of all the realignment is football and the money grab that is ensuing over football.
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While the heart of the ACC lies in North Carolina with Duke, North Carolina, NC State, and Wake Forest, where basketball is more or less king, the rest of the conference is more crazy about football. And that tends to follow the trend with a majority of the major college programs and conferences where football reigns supreme
Basketball is merely a desert whereas football is the main course and the biggest money maker.
So when Clemson announced that it was at the very least discussing a possible move to the Big 12 it sent a shiver up the spines of the teams in the ACC where football is not king. With Florida State already pondering a move, at least by some official's accounts, it would mean two of the premier football programs in the conference could be gone.
Duke is one of those teams where football is not king but even if Clemson, and Florida State were to leave the ACC for greener paydays, I mean pastures, in the Big 12 it would have little effect on Duke.
For starters it only really affects those programs that are wanting to contend for a chance to play for the national title in football. Unfortunately Duke is not one of those teams at this point.
On College Football Live on Thursday, the ESPN analysts were discussing the possibility of the ACC not only losing Clemson and Florida State but also Virginia Tech and Miami in the realignment shuffle. The analysts discussed whether it was a good idea for teams like Clemson to look at the Big 12 and they had mixed reactions to it.
If the conference did lose all for of those programs it would essentially be dead as a football conference and for all intents and purposes could just merge with the Big East as a kind of scrap heap of college football.
That isn't to say there won't be good football, but the opportunity to have a team from a depleted ACC play for a national title will be about as good as an FCS school.
All the power and money will be in the super conferences and thus all the opportunity to play in the new four team playoff once it comes to fruition will reside with the SEC, Big 10, PAC 12 and depending on defections the Big 12 or ACC, which ever one is left standing.
If those defections come from the ACC then what is left will be devastated as far as football goes, but Duke fans shouldn't fear too much. The Blue Devils football program isn't a huge money maker for the conference and isn't the university's bread and butter. They won't be competing for a national title anytime soon and at this point, they would settle for a .500 record and a bowl appearance.
And while they are on their way to becoming a better program they still are seemingly a lifetime away from being on the same playing field as teams capable of playing for or winning a national title. So being realistic, it won't hurt the Duke Football program all that much.
As far as the basketball program goes it could move to the Atlantic 10 conference and it wouldn't be hurting because of its position in the college basketball world. The only hit comes financially and traditionally, though Duke would still have all of its natural rivals in North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest still in conference.
As I wrote earlier this week a four team playoff would be a mixed bag because of the desire for teams to move conferences to get the chance to play for a title. But more importantly it is the money grab that dominates all.
Duke Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski was interviewed on Thursday and when asked about conference realignment he concluded that it was about money winning over tradition. He said that tradition is what makes college sports great but that the tradition is losing out to the money.
Truer words have never been spoken. But in the end as bad as it would be for the ACC it really doesn't affect Duke all that much. In football, they may have an actual chance at a conference title over time without some of the juggernauts that dominate the conference now. In basketball it pretty much would remain status quo because Duke is one of the juggernauts and as long as they remain so opportunities for a national title will be there.
Now that doesn't mean I want to see the ACC torn apart by realignment, only that no matter what happens, aside from some lots revenue, Duke will be just fine one way or another.
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