Well, though it seemed most people were thinking UConn would be the replacement for the Terps once they leave the ACC, Louisville swooped in early this morning as the ACC presidents and chancellors voted to add the Cardinals as their 14th member in 2014, the 6th team the ACC will now have poached from the Big East. Ultimately, the choice was clearly an athletics-over-academics one:
Louisville's teams make more profit for their school than UConn's do. Louisville's football fans are more widely passionate than UConn's are. These are the things that would matter in a better conference realignment world, and for once they've mattered. That they happen to align with what ACC football powers Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech likely want is a friendly coincidence for, well, everybody but UConn fans, whom we certainly feel bad for.
That the Big 12 has also been interested in Louisville helped, Pete Thamel reports, meaning this is two times the ACC has picked a school in part to keep the Big 12 away from its turf (along with Pitt).
UConn also has academics superior to Louisville's. That sounds like a very noble reason why UConn should be considered ahead of Louisville, I guess. But this is a sports league, and there's nothing stopping Georgia Tech and Duke from being academic friends with UConn if they want.
As Brian Barbour at Tar Heel Blog points out, this certainly does adopt a bit of an academic black sheep into the conference:
The ACC prides itself on being a conference with members ranked in the in top 100 or so of the US News and World Report college rankings. Louisville is 160th and will be the lowest ranked ACC member by a good bit. NC State is currently the lowest ranked school at 106.
Well, that number may not be great... but with this influx of great basketball teams maybe we'll actually win the ACC-Big Ten Challenge again in 2014!