New ACC is giving her the vapors

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceOctober 9, 2011 

What the what? When Boston College and the University of Miami were invited to join the Atlantic Coast Conference a few years back, nobody asked my opinion and I'm still a little cheesed about the whole thing.

Boston? Miami? I tend to think of the ACC in its purest form as a noble assemblage of Southern schools. And, no, Miami is not the South.

But I adjusted, slowly and grudgingly, even as I watched in horror as my beloved UNC Tar Heels were forced to walk through head-high snowdrifts just to get inside the gym at BC.

Boston is a great town two months out of the year, but it's not an ACC town. Ditto Miami. Who can deny the smokin' vibe of South Beach? But, again, this has nothing to do with true ACC basketball. And as much as I loathe the repeated references to Tobacco Road every time legitimate ACC teams UNC and Duke battle it out, I have to admit I will loathe even more the addition of - someone fetch my smelling salts - Syracuse and Pittsburgh - to the ACC. Our ACC.

No sooner than these two ragtag schools from the tundra were added a couple of weeks ago than the brash New Yorkers began to contemplate moving the ACC tournament away from Greensboro, its rightful home.

I repeat: smelling salts.

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim, whom I've enjoyed watching choke deep into the NCAA tournament for many years in a row now, announced that it would make sense to move the ACC tournament to Madison Square Garden.

Boeheim opined, "Where would you want to go to a tournament for five days? Let's see. Greensboro or New York City?"

Clearly Boeheim has never eaten at Stamey's Barbecue right across the street from the Greensboro Coliseum or he wouldn't be so quick to judge.

It's the sheer un-Southerness of Boeheim that offends me. No sooner than he is invited into the hallowed halls of the ACC than he's already being rude to his new benefactors. He's the New Guy. He needs to sit in the back of the room and shut up. At least for the next six or seven years.

And now there are rumors that Texas and (gasp!) Notre Dame might also join the ACC. If this happens, the name Atlantic Coast Conference would truly make no sense.

And like millions of diehard ACC fans, I can only sit by, powerlessly, as my beloved conference is reduced to some weird geographic stew. A stew with no flavor, at that.

www.celiarivenbark.com

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