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   Tech Sports News

ACC Expansion: Hottest Topic Ever on HC/TSL
by Will Stewart,

As the ACC expansion roller-coaster surges, climbs, and falls, speeding through gut-wrenching turns and diving down steep hills, the message board and web site go with it.

There is no doubt that this version of ACC expansion is more hotly debated and more closely covered than the 1999 version, which seems tepid in retrospect. Since Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese fired the opening salvo in the New York Daily News in mid-April, the ACC expansion debate has taken on a life of its own, dominating all talk on the TSL web site and receiving national coverage in papers across the country.

As the story has unfolded, we have taken the approach at of providing two resources to keep Tech fans informed: VT Hokie News and our ever-popular message boards.

VT Hokie News is our daily listing of links to newspaper articles around the Big East and around the country. The quirky, redundant name "VT Hokie News" is in homage to the original VT Hokie News web site started by message board poster "hokiefromWV" years ago, back in early 1999.

hfWV, as we call him, maintained a listing of Tech sports-related links on his own web site back in early 1999, and by mid-1999, we had absorbed him into Later on, we turned the page from a flat HTML page into a neat database driven application, thanks to the programming skills of Wired Triangle, who also programmed our football recruiting database.

These days, hfWV only maintains the page on weekends, and we handle it during the week. And updating it during ACC expansion coverage has been quite the chore. We have been posting anywhere from 35-50 links a day in VT Hokie News, and recently, nearly every single link has been dedicated to ACC expansion.

This story has received major coverage in newspapers around the country. It's rare that a story receives blanket coverage from coast to coast, and this one does.

Message Board Traffic

When a topic becomes ultra-hot, the message board starts to fly. One statistic we like to track on the message board is the number of posts in a given day, and ACC expansion has set a new record.

Perhaps the most frantic day on the message board in the history of was November 27, 2000, the day that the Beamer-to-UNC drama played out. On that day, 4,424 messages were posted, and it would have been more, but the board, and the site, were crippled by the massive traffic received that day.

That record stood for a long time, until Feb. 6th, 2002, which was recruit Signing Day. 4,429 messages were posted to the board that day, and although it was only five more posts than 11/27/00, it was a new record, nonetheless.

Strike that from your record book now. This past Wednesday, the day after the ACC approved expansion by a 7-2 vote, TSL posters gathered on the message board and put up an amazing 4,623 posts -- 194 more than the old record.

And this certainly isn't over yet. It's quite possible, and in fact probable, that the post record will fall as the ACC expansion story plays out.

Web Site Page Views

Much like with message board posts, Beamer-to-UNC set the standard for page views on the web site for a long time. One page view is counted every time an article or a message board post is read, and on 11/27/00, an unprecedented 606,637 page views were registered. And remember, the server was brought to its knees that day.

That record stood until Feb. 5th, 2002, the day that Marcus Vick verbaled to Virginia Tech, and even then, the previous record was barely bested: 606,961 page views were registered that day, just 324 posts (0.05%) more than the old record.

ACC expansion hasn't toppled that record -- yet -- but on Wednesday, it got close: 582,060 page views were registered, ranking 3rd all-time.

The best news of all is that despite the record message board posts and near-record page views on Wednesday, the TSL server barely broke a sweat. It hummed along fine, with no problems.

The server was installed last November, and although it got off to a rocky start, it is doing very well lately and withstood Wednesday's test like a champ. On the old server, record traffic always crippled it, but on Wednesday, you couldn't even notice the difference.

The Latest on ACC Expansion?

All this traffic talk brings up the question: What's the latest on ACC expansion?

After Tuesday's big news, and the articles that ensued on Wednesday, the new two days were pretty quiet by comparison (at least, through Friday, 2:00 pm).

The mood was grim around Big East camps for most of the day Wednesday, but since Wednesday night, things have brightened. There has been a lockdown on information coming out of VT and other Big East institutions, and the ACC parties have pretty much clammed up, as well. After all, this isn't recruiting info we're talking about -- we're talking about info that will affect the future of dozens of universities and hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of fans, and the info is being treated like it's radioactive waste. No one wants it, for fear of what it will do to them if they possess it.

But we've got a feel for the mood around VT, and the mood is that the Big East has taken the ACC's best shot and is getting ready to counter with one of its own this weekend, when their meetings start in Florida on Saturday.

To keep the Canes on board, the Big East -- more specifically, commissioner Mike Tranghese -- is going to have to drop a bombshell, something with a huge "wow" factor. We've all heard the theories that the Big East football schools might break away into an 8-team conference, they might add Louisville, etc.

But the bottom line is money, and the ACC has a lot more of it -- $9.7million annual payout per team -- than the Big East -- about $4.5 million annual payout per team. And because the ACC shares revenue equally, their money is guaranteed from year to year, and not something that ebbs and flows based on bowl appearances and TV appearances, like in the Big East.

The Miami Hurricanes lost about $1.5 million on athletics in the 2001-2002 academic year, according to published reports, and it doesn't take a VT math major to figure out how much an extra $5 million or so from the ACC would help the Canes out.

Breaking away the football schools and adding Louisville won't magically generate the money the Hurricanes need, so Tranghese needs to pull a rabbit out of his hat at the meetings. A real whopper of a rabbit. And who's the biggest rabbit of all?

Notre Dame, that's who. Speculation continues to swirl around the Irish and what role they may play in saving the Big East. Joining the conference for football is a stretch, but there's a lot of other things the Irish can do to help generate revenue for the Big East, the league that houses their other sports, gives them identity, and alleviates the scheduling problems they used to have as an independent (none of which applies to football, mind you.)

The positive buzz in BE circles combined with the need for more money to keep Miami in the fold points to Notre Dame as being the rabbit in Mike Tranghese's hat.

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Nike Camp Coming to Tech
by, 5/14/03, 11:45 pm
Virginia Tech hosts a prestigious Nike Football Training Camp this weekend, and we've got two related articles for you that explain what a Nike camp is and how talent is evaluated at a football camp.
Hokies to Host Nike Camp This Weekend - by Will Stewart
An Inside Look at Summer Camp - by Jeff Ouellet

ACC Approves Expansion
by Will Stewart,, 5/13/03, 11:00 pm
The ACC approved expansion to 12 teams Tuesday afternoon, expansion that will certainly include the Miami Hurricanes and will almost definitely include the Syracuse Orangemen. What is unknown at this point is what team will receive approval along with the Hurricanes and Orangemen -- Boston College or Virginia Tech.
in News and Notes

The End Game is Upon Us
by Jim Alderson, 5/12/03, 12:20 am
As I type this on Sunday morning, ACC athletic directors are descending on Amelia Island, Florida, preparing to debate a proposal that has enormous implications for college athletics in general and Virginia Tech in particular.
in TSL Pass

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