Scattershooting: Could be more to adding Cal, Stanford to ACC than meets the eye

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Scattershooting around the ACC, while noting why we shouldn’t automatically pooh-pooh the thought of adding Stanford and Cal to the family …

The ACC has studied expansion and now that the Pac-12 has been scattered to the wind, the 14-member ACC is the smallest Power 5 league. The Big 10 is now the Big 18, while the SEC has 16 teams and the Big 12 has 16. Last Friday, the ACC met to potentially vote on adding five Pac-12 schools: Stanford, Cal, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State.

Before the ACC had a chance to vote, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State bolted to the Big 12. With Oregon and Washington darting to the Big 10, that left the Pac-12 twisting in the wind. It was suddenly the Pac-4: Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State.

It seems none of the Power 5 are interested in adding Oregon State and Washington State. Cal and Stanford do have selling points, even for the clear-across-the-country ACC.

Both are members of the American Association of Universities (AAU), which gives them something in common with six ACC schools, including Notre Dame, which is an ACC member in all sports but football. Now, the ACC presidents might find that attractive, but the ADs realize academics don’t sell tickets, plus there are expenses involved in sending teams cross-country.

However, the fact that Cal and Stanford are in the San Francisco area, basketball teams and perhaps some Olympic sports programs could fly into the Bay area for an extended stay and play both programs in one swoop.

The ACC is desperately trying to find new streams of revenue to keep it as No. 3, ahead of the Big 12 financially. Adding Cal and Stanford, despite travel expenses, might take the ACC to another level.

How? Listen up.

The Pac-12 still owns its TV rights, and that shouldn’t be discounted. In addition, prior to its sudden collapse, there was an intriguing streaming deal with Apple that could prove lucrative.

That’s not all. There could be an opportunity for neutral-site games in Las Vegas, which could attract fans from both coasts and cut down on travel time.

Then, there’s potentially a monstrous addition to this package if Vegas gets involved, as in some of the mega companies there (MGM or others of that magnitude). We are talking big bucks, something that other conferences would not have in their corner.

Having Cal and Stanford would add a late-night inventory for the ACC Network and could expand the ESPN revenue package as a result, again, adding more money to the kitty.

ACC ADs and league presidents will hold conference calls Tuesday to discuss all these possibilities.

Stay tuned …

Covering all the bases

  • If you love Virginia basketball, my latest podcast with Christian Bliss, the Cavaliers’ newest signee, is a must-listen. Wahoo Nation is going to love this guy. He has New York swagger, but isn’t cocky. He talks about his decision to pick UVA, his high school and EYBL careers, his goals and gives great insight into the recruiting process.
  • You can find the podcast on this site or your favorite podcast platform or on YouTube for the video version. Some people have told me they don’t know how to listen to a podcast. Well, it’s simple. Go to the podcasts section on our main page, click on the podcast you want to hear, then click on the play arrow. It’s that simple. You can pause it and return later.
  • Also, the “Jerry & Jerry Show” begins Tuesday, live at 10:15 a.m. with yours truly joining Jerry Miller of “I Love C’Ville” fame for his network’s new sports show. We’ll feature a PTI-type format, aimed at UVA and ACC athletics.
  • Virginia’s Kyle Teel has been assigned to the Boston Red Sox’ Greenville (high-A) squad. Teel, by the way, belted his first professional home run on Sunday, going 3-for-3 with two singles and the homer.
  • Rick Pitino had a good idea that he shared on Twitter a few days ago when he suggested that football break away into separate leagues from the rest of team sports. Football could play in more sensible divisions nationally, while basketball and Olympic sports can remain in or conform to regional play. Of course, don’t know if TV would go for this idea, and TV is driving all this madness.
  • UVA’s Ethan O’Donnell has been assigned to the Reds’ Daytona Tortugas minor league team. He was a sixth-round choice.
  • Speaking of the Reds, that organization has signed former UVA free agent Brian Edgington to a deal.
  • Our pal Danny Neckel came up with this golden nugget: Last November’s college football matchup between Rutgers and Maryland drew 97,000 viewers. June’s pickleball matchup between the Seattle Pioneers (didn’t know there was such a team) and the Los Angeles Mad Drops drew 109,000 viewers. Let that sink in.
  • Want to support a Charlottesville-bred UVA athlete? Then check out the merchandise of lacrosse star Connor Shellenberger:
  • Former Wahoo Zack Gelof has hit more home runs the past two weeks than any player in the American League.
  • Zack’s younger brother, Jake Gelof, also a former Wahoo, has been added to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ minor league roster. I used to have the coolest T-shirt from the Quakes.
  • Former UVA basketball player Ben Vander Plas has signed with a pro basketball team in Germany: Neu Zugang.
  • Meanwhile, another former Wahoo hoopster, Mike Scott — yes, that Mike Scott — has signed a deal with a pro team in France. I would give you more detail, but I can’t read the press release, which was in French.
  • Virginia baseball’s latest commitment for the Class of 2025 comes from Midlothian (St. Christopher’s) outfielder Bryce Neely, the third Richmond area player to commit to Brian O’Connor’s program in this class. BTW, UVA’s 2024 recruiting class is ranked 9th in the nation by Perfect game. The top 10: 1) Tennessee; 2) LSU; 3) Florida State; 4) Ole Miss; 5) Texas; 6) Georgia Tech; 7) Vandy; 8) Miami; 9) Virginia; 10) Texas A&M.
  • Virginia’s defense will face Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton in the season opener in Nashville. Pro Football Focus evaluator Will Rogers had this to report after he observed Milton at the Manning QB Academy: “He’s got the strongest arm in the world. Pro, college, it doesn’t matter. He’s got the strongest arm I’ve ever seen.” Yikes.
  • ESPN analytics predicts each ACC team’s chances of making it to the league championship game in Charlotte, and the top two come as no surprise: Clemson: 72%; Florida State: 50%; North Carolina: 20%; Pittsburgh: 14%; NC State: 11%; Miami: 11%; Louisville: 8%; Syracuse: 7%; Wake: 4%; Duke, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia tech and Boston College: each 1%.