Conference Realignment: Bearcats’ Time Will Come

It seems as if we can’t go a full month without a move in conference realignment nowadays. In just the past few weeks, Louisville, Rutgers, Maryland, Eastern Carolina, and Tulsa have made changes in their conference affiliation. If one conference has been hit hardest, it’s the Big East. The BE is set to lose Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Louisville to other conferences in the next year. On top of that, West Virginia bailed from the Big East last season. The Big East has replenished their supply of teams with the addition of Tulsa, SMU, Houston, San Diego State, Central Florida, Navy, Temple, and East Carolina – all lower tier teams. It is very evident that the Big East is falling apart, and the hometown Cincinnati Bearcats are stuck in the middle of this conference mess. Last Wednesday, the 28th of November, the ACC presidents got themselves on a conference call and added Cincinnati’s arch rival, Louisville, to the fold of schools. Cincinnati and Connecticut were thought to be two other universities the ACC was interested in. Elder junior Tyler Dugan, an avid Cincinnati fan, commented on the ACC’s decision to add Louisville over the Bearcats. “I think Cincinnati should have been added before Louisville,” Dugan said. “They have an all-around better athletic program. Hopefully, the Bearcats will get a spot in the ACC soon.” Cincinnati got the short end of the stick this go around, but their time to join the conference realignment party will come sooner rather than later. Currently, there’s speculation that Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech are considering moves to the Big Ten. It is only a matter of time that one of these three ACC schools switches over to the Big Ten – a conference that has proclaimed their desire to have a 16-team mega conference. Florida State is another ACC program fielding interest from a different conference; the Seminoles are said to be in legitimate talks with the Big-12 conference. That’s four ACC teams wavering in their conference commitment, and for Cincinnati fans, that’s a good thing. If just one of these four teams’ makes a jump to another league, the Bearcats should have what they’ve been waiting for, an ACC bid. The Cats will battle for the opening slot with current conference foe, Connecticut. Cincinnati has the arguably the better sports programs of the two, a better television market and academic program. Cincinnati’s administration will continue to polish their university’s resume both athletically and academically. Doing so will put them in prime position for entrance to the ACC when the time comes. For now, all Cincinnati fans can do is relax, take a deep breath and wait for a call from the ACC commissioner. It will come sooner rather than later.