Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Michael Rosenberg

Cal, Stanford and SMU in the ACC Is Weird, but Who Cares

Friends, distinguished guests and students of all GPAs, we are proud to announce the addition of Stanford, Cal and SMU to the ACC, which shall be known, henceforth, as the Arbitrary Conglomerate of Colleges. We welcome these storied institutions to our league and promise not to make them answer impossible trivia questions like “name all the teams in the ACC.” We couldn’t possibly do that ourselves without a cheat sheet.

Each of our new schools brings a special mix of academic excellence and sudden desperation, like a student who carries a four-point into his last semester and realizes he has never been to a party. Until recently, Stanford and Cal were proud members of the Pac-12, and SMU was a proud member of some other conference. Who can remember anymore? Then the Pac-12 imploded, leaving Stanford and Cal without a conference. We’re still not sure how SMU got in here, but never mind that. We didn’t have time to do background checks. What matters is that now they can all look forward to late-autumn trips to Wake Forest or Boston College, where they will take on another middling team of little interest for a chance to secure a spot in a third-tier bowl game for as long as third-tier bowl games exist. Dreams do come true.

We understand you have questions, like, “Is Stanford’s volleyball team really going to fly across the country to face Boston College on a Tuesday?” We have a simple answer to that: “Um … we guess so?” It does sound kind of expensive, but that’s O.K. We plan to bill the Big Ten and SEC for all travel costs, and also for any therapy not covered by insurance.

Stanford will join the ACC starting in 2024.

John Hefti/USA TODAY Sports

They started this. You would think the SEC would have been happy printing money, giving it to recruits (did we say that out loud?) and winning national titles. You would think the Big Ten would have been happy printing money, complaining about SEC recruiting and talking about winning national titles. But nooo. The SEC had to raid the Big 12 for Texas A&M, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The Big Ten had to swallow up USC and UCLA, then go back for seconds and gobble up Washington and Oregon, and hang on here, we have a little message for our “friends” at the Big Ten:

Shut up about academics forever. Seriously. You had Stanford and Cal sitting there, just begging for a chance to join your conference, and what did you do? You ignored them. You could have added a roster of future Nobel Prize–winning scientists and wildly successful hedge-fund criminals, and instead you turned to Oregon, where half the students major in helmet design. Is that a cheap shot at Oregon? Of course it is! See if we care!

We at the ACC want you to know we are proud, so proud, so very proud of the membership of our league. We are not a ridiculous thrown-together-in-two-weeks mishmash of disparate geographically far-flung institutions at all. We are a team here! A family. We all share the same core values, even Florida State, unless Florida State ditches us next week, which is entirely possible and would just prove Florida State never had our core values anyway, so we didn’t want them. Though, again: If Florida State stays, confirming it does indeed have our core values, we will remain thrilled to have Florida State in the ACC family.

Whew. That was exhausting. The point here is that none of this will detract from our mission statement, which remains: “Now Stepping to the Line to Shoot a One-And-One: Duke.”

We are a proud league. Stanford, Cal and SMU join an ACC family that includes Michael Jordan and Coach K. Mia Hamm and Trevor Lawrence. Notre Dame football is a second cousin twice removed, but we count ’em. On that note: We would also like to welcome Georgia to the ACC. Georgia didn’t actually agree to join, but to hell with that. There are no rules anymore. We can name Georgia ACC champs if we feel like it. Now if you’ll excuse us, we are looking forward to our Bulldogs winning our third straight national football championship. Puff your chests out in Berkeley, Palo Alto and Dallas. You’ve earned it.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.