The ACC created this detestable mess and it didn't even have the fortitude to end it quickly. A money-grubbing, land-grabbing scheme that would have sucked Miami, Boston College and Syracuse from the Big East and created a 12-team ACC has morphed into a swirl of greed and politics that now targets just the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech.
If the schools accept invitations, as expected, the ACC gets two national football powers. Shameless Virginia Tech, which was begging for inclusion into the ACC for years, now has its sense of self fulfilled by playing in a league with blue-blooded Virginia. The Big East is not completely shattered.
But none of this is over. The ACC is still one team short of NCAA guidelines to stage a lucrative league championship game. That was the lure all along. So somewhere out there the 12th ACC school still lurks. Assuming the ACC targets a university with accomplished athletic programs, some conference is still going to be impacted severely.
Mercifully, the next mission could be played out in a sneakier, behind-the-scenes fashion. Assume athletic directors at South Carolina, West Virginia et al. will have their own speed dial buttons in the ACC Mergers and Acquisition departments. The Big Ten (which is actually the Big 11) might be well-advised to snatch up Pitt to set up its own football playoff scenario.
Over? Not by a long shot.
Rave: Lightning proves character is among its priorities
An organization that generated much cynicism in wallowing among the NHL's meek for most of its existence got one right in a major way on Thursday. The Lightning's signing of 39-year-old captain Dave Andreychuk, a left wing that general manager Jay Feaster described as the "heart and soul of this team," signals not only that the team is committed to retaining its statistical assets, but that character matters.
Andreychuk was the standard the Lightning challenged young players like Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards to match. He was the mouthpiece when things went poorly, the deflector of praise when things went well, and it's no surprise he has a standing invitation to become an assistant coach when his storied playing career ends.
Andreychuk will make a base of $1.5-million, perhaps as much as a $2-million if the Lightning advances in the playoffs. He'll earn every penny.
Perhaps Andreychuk's decision to eschew unrestricted free agency will prompt other unsigned players - such as Richard, John Grahame and Fredrik Modin - that something good enough is going on here to commit, and soon.
But Tampa Bay has become a desirable place to play. And a lot of credit goes to the captain.