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ACC Directors Cup Analysis: The Second Big East Raid

In part 5 of our ACC Directors Cup analysis, we take a look at the four(ish) newest members of the ACC and how they've performed over the last ten years. We'll see how that compares with the other three the ACC stole from the ACC and with the Old Guard of the conference.


Last Wednesday, we took a look at the first three teams that the ACC poached from the Big East - Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech. While there was a little bit of disagreement (take a look at the comment by AnthonyAfterwit), we showed pretty conclusively that these three teams added nothing to the overall athletics profile of the ACC and, if anything, they actually had a negative impact.

Today, we'll look at the four newest teams to leave our poor geographic conference brethren for greener (and more stable) pastures - Louisville, Notre Dame (ish), Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Do they perform better than their former conference mates? Or is it more of the same, with the schools being targeted for specific reasons (namely football and basketball) at the expense of the overall profile? Let's dive in!


I kept the same range on the Y axis as last Wednesday's chart. While the three teams in that chart were fairly constrained into a small range, these four teams are a little more spread out. Here's what I notice about this:

  • You'll notice that Syracuse's line is... incomplete. That's because the Directors Cup charts for those years only showed the top 100 teams and Syracuse was not among them. So I don't know what their scores were for those years. But needless to say, they were not good.
  • Notre Dame has consistently been the top performer of the bunch, and they seem to be on the rise over the three years. That's a good sign, and may perhaps point to part of the reason they wanted to bail from the Big East.
  • Louisville had a remarkable jump from the 2004 to 2007, more than tripling the points they earned. They've been fairly constrained right around that 600 point mark. The jump sort of mirrors what Virginia Tech did, though Louisville did it in a much shorter time span.
  • While those first years were bad, Syracuse had a pretty solid jump from 2007 through 2013. Perhaps that's a better mirror for Virginia Tech.
  • Pittsburgh has been bad. They've never gotten over the 300 point mark. By comparison, Notre Dame has never been below 700.

So now lets see how these new four compare with the previous three additions:


This is admittedly a little jumbled. But there are still some items that stand out here:

  • Notre Dame continues to be the top dog as expected. They're the only one of the seven new teams to be reach the 1000 point plateau. In fact, they're the only team of the seven to be above 700 in any year - and they were above that mark in every year.
  • While the other six teams were all over the map for the most part, there does appear to be some separation happening as we get to 2013.
  • Louisville, Virginia Tech and Syracuse seem to have somewhat separated themselves for the better, all converging around the 600 point line.
  • On the other side, Miami, Boston College and Pittsburgh are pulling up the rear, all falling below the 400 point mark for the last several years.

I thought that the final chart last week was the most telling. That was the chart that showed the averages of each of the teams over the last ten years. Here's the new version of that one:


Let's see what we have from this chart:

  • Just for clarification, I've left all three averages on the chart. The lightest orange horizontal line is the Old Guard's average. The next darker orange horizontal line is the average of the 12 teams in the conference prior to this month. The darkest is all sixteen teams.
  • Pittsburgh looks really bad here. Being at the bottom of the list is bad enough, but being next to Notre Dame doesn't help the appearance.
  • Notre Dame is the only team of the seven additions to have an average number of points that is above any of the conference averages. Think about that. Even with the averages being dragged down by the new additions, only Notre Dame could surpass them.

Let's take a look at this data another way. Here's the actual raw numbers for the team averages:


The Old Guard teams are highlighted in blue. The first Big East raid teams are in orange. The second Big East raid teams are in red.

Notre Dame is clearly the bright spot of the most recent expansion, making the leap into the top half of the conference. Louisville edges out Virginia Tech for the top half spot in the second half of the conference. Syracuse and Pittsburgh join Miami and Boston College at the bottom of the heap.

Much like the first Big East raid, these additions are underwhelming. Notre Dame makes this expansion look better than the last one... but Pittsburgh and Syracuse really drag them down. Certainly the Irish are a quality addition and taken by themselves would be close to a homerun addition. Their national profile is definitely helpful - everyone knows Notre Dame and has an opinion about them.

Louisville may yet turn out to be a solid addition. The amount of money they've put into their athletics programs recently has been impressive. They're certainly committed, much like I would say Virginia Tech is committed. The Cardinals have had more overall success lately than the Hokies (NCAA national title in basketball, College World Series appearance in baseball, etc). But its hard to know for sure if they'll maintain that momentum.

If the Cardinals do continue their momentum, this expansion may look a little better. Time will tell.