Yesterday we hoped that conference expansion would sort itself out neatly and cleanly, with UConn getting a quick and smooth invite to the ACC that would be announced today. That, it goes without saying, did not happen. Instead UConn fans are sitting on pins and needles in an more-unstable-by-the-second Big East. So UConn fans are starting to worry, and they worry especially when Andy Katz tweets things like this:
UConn still in the dark on ACC next move. Don't assume Huskies. Louisville is a serious player here to bump out UConn for 14th FB ACC spot.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) November 20, 2012
and like this:
Interesting how West Virginia nudged out Louisville for Big 12, now Lou could do the same to UConn for ACC. The politics of college sports.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) November 20, 2012
Panic time right? Well, not really. There are three things UConn should realize right now. In order of rationality (I know that doesn't count in conference realignment, but bear with me) they are this:
- The ACC is in no rush whatsoever. All indications right now are that the Big XII isn't rushing to react to the Big Ten's grab of Maryland and Rutgers, which means that absolutely no one is putting pressure on the ACC to act at the moment. They don't need to be reactionary and they can act according to their own priorities, which, if we're being honest, probably have "make sure the 13 remaining teams are happy and settled" much higher than inviting UConn or Louisville programs that will always be there. Also, don't forget that ACC commissioner John Swofford is the ninja-assassin of conference realignment. When the ACC poached Syracuse and Pitt, or when it half added Notre Dame, it came as a surprise to everyone. The man runs a tight ship and press leaks are not how he likes things being done.
- A good chunk of UConn's athletic staff was at a basketball game in the Virgin Islands until last night at around 1 a.m. local time. Does that mean they were unreachable? No, but it means they sure as hell weren't in an ideal work environment. If you figure UConn's contingent flew through the night to get back home (and that's assuming there was an easy flight available after the game -- which is a big assumption) that means they've only really been able to work for the past handful of hours.
- Finally, as ominous as those tweets sound, they're not the worst thing in the world for two reasons. First, the fact that UConn hasn't heard anything yet does not mean that Louisville has. We know both schools have been in contact with the ACC, so it's not like hearing something in this context means that you're getting initial context. It means UConn hasn't been invited. Second, Katz says that "Louisville is a serious player to bump out UConn." Now that sounds bad, but don't forget, you can't be bumped out of the lead unless you're already in the lead. Is it a danger? Yes, but it's not a death sentence.