The ACC, at its inception, was a seven-team league. When representatives from the schools sat around a table at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro in 1953, they probably could never have imagined the league would more than double in size at some point.
But here we are.
July 1 marked the ACC’s expansion to 15 teams, as Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame (sort of) joined the league officially. And to celebrate the occasion, the ACC representatives (and its mascots) took over New York City!
The ACC mascots were the talk of Twitter on Sunday afternoon and early evening, as they spent the time touring the big city. Maryland’s Testudo the Terrapin mascot was included for some reason, even though the Terrapins will be leaving the league after this year. So naturally, the ACC mascots gave him a bit of a goodbye hazing ritual.
But aside from mascot fun, there was symbolism in commissioner John Swofford and representatives from some of the ACC schools holding a press conference and ringing the NASDAQ closing bell in New York City.
“This is a very important part of our new footprint for our conference,” Swofford said of why he chose New York City.
And a new footprint means new eyes and ears on the league. And for the new members, there are some very important guidelines to follow if they want to be true-blue ACC.
1. Be mediocre in football and disappointing in basketball (if you’re not North Carolina or Duke)
To elaborate on this — in football, be sure to take very ill-timed losses when ranked very highly, and if possible, make those losses come to teams that aren’t supposed to beat you. For example, Florida State losing to a Wake Forest, or Virginia Tech losing to Maryland. To be the ideal ACC football members, a team must be both in the period of 4-5 years. Be rolling along, get ranked in the top 25 and take a disappointing loss one year, then go back to mediocrity and upset a highly-ranked Florida State team late in the season the next.
In basketball, Duke and North Carolina have generally had most of the national success. Obviously, this should change with the addition of three very well established (former) Big East programs. Emphasis on should. After all, in football, Miami and Virginia Tech were supposed to improve the national reputation of the league. Virginia Tech has done its part, but Miami football has taken a precipitous fall. So in order for the new schools to fit in, they’re going to have to take some horrendous non-conference losses and then make early exits from the NCAA Tournament.
2. Complain about officiating
Seriously. Do this. Complaining about commissioner John Swofford can also fall under this umbrella.
When your team loses and the officiating was bad, it’s not as simple as a referee making mistakes! Nope, it’s a vast conspiracy.
Which leads us into …
3. Always complain that North Carolina schools get all the breaks
Almost since the ACC was founded, teams like Maryland have complained about their outsider status, and that everything the entire league did centered around the Tobacco Road teams.
(Oh, and it’s time to learn those: Wake Forest, Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina. Carry on.)
4. Be involved in at least one ghastly, offensively-challenged game per year in either football or basketball
This has been a trend recently as well. In football, for example, Maryland edged William & Mary 7-6 in its season opener last year. Yes, that is a real score. And no, leather helmets weren’t involved. In basketball, Virginia lost at Boston College 53-52 — a combined 105 points. And that’s far from an anomaly. The low-scoring epidemic in college basketball is certainly alive and well in the ACC.
And finally, the most important rule?
5. Be as snarky as possible on Twitter
The ACC Twitterati are the best in the nation, hands down. And they are nothing if not self-deprecating. The hashtag #goacc is meant as such, and so use it accordingly. We don’t do the “A-C-C!” chant, unless we’re being sarcastic. We’re not the SEC here, people. This is the ACC. We have a long, storied tradition, yes. But that tradition also includes sarcasm.