For the short term, which is all that matters with college administrators these days, the ACC will be a stronger league now that Louisville will move in from the Big East to replace exiting Maryland.
The Cardinals will arrive with appreciably better football and overwhelmingly better basketball than Maryland has or is likely to have during the next two or three years.
Throw in the possibility that the ACC can force Big Ten-bound Maryland into paying its $50 million exit fee, and it turns out a win/win proposition. Even if the legalities drag on for months (or years), and the ACC winds up having to accept a court-ordered arbitrary settlement, the windfall should be substantial especially if Maryland is obligated to pay the ACCs legal costs.
Louisville might be second fiddle to Kentucky in basketball, but the SEC Wildcats comfort zone will be narrowed with the Cardinals in a basketball conference that includes Duke, UNC, Syracuse and N.C. State.
On the football front, Louisville is a sound bet to stay well ahead of Kentucky in addition to Maryland and should add more to the ACCs on-field clout than Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Miami.
Some might argue that Louisville isnt an ideal academic fit for the ACC, but the notion that the ACC is more scholastically elite than other league is no longer rational. Too many ACC schools have compromised academic integrity to chase wins and television checks for that issue to carry any credibility.
And on that all-important, all-hallowed television markets front, Louisville has had the highest-rated basketball market for 10 consecutive years. The ACC swaps Maryland for Kentucky and at least a sniff of the near Midwest. Basically that should be a wash since Virginia cable systems will still keep lots of ACC basketball and some football on the District of Columbia channels menu.
Long term, Maryland should pan out as the stronger athletic department if, that is, the school can ever recover its once impressive fan base.
After all, Big Ten football is only marginally better than the ACC, if that.
And assuming the ACC basketball cornerstone shops dont sink when Mike Krzyzewski (65), Roy Williams (62), Rick Pitino (60) and Jim Boeheim (68) retire, the Big Ten isnt likely to be more taxing on Mark Turgeons teams than what the Terps face now.