Initial Reaction: Louisville to ACC

Well, can’t say we didn’t see this coming.

News broke late Tuesday night that Louisville was one vote shy of gaining an ACC invite. Early Wednesday morning, it became official: Louisville will become the newest ACC member in 2014 while UConn — the last original Big East member with an FBS football team — remains stuck in a league that can only be described as “deteriorating.”

My initial thoughts:

Warde Manuel and Susan Herbst (AP)

*Death sentence for the UConn? Not quite. It’s like the Huskies’ parole was just about to be up, and then the board turned them down, sending them back to the Big House for the foreseeable future.

Does this mean UConn will NEVER escape the hell-hole that is the Big East? Not at all. I’d be very, very surprised if Louisville to the ACC was the absolute last maneuver in conference realignment. So there may be other opportunities down the road.

As long as UConn is stuck in the Big East, football suffers far worse than basketball because football is still in the “building” stages of its program. And it’s going to be awfully difficult to build a program around an uninspiring head coach and a schedule that consists of Houston, Central Florida, Tulane and East Carolina.

With basketball, though, there’s still reason to believe UConn can maintain its elite status. As UConn President Susan Herbst said Wednesday, “We are a great athletics program across the board, so we’ll always be in national tournaments and will always, eventually, play the best teams in the nation.” If the Huskies can routinely make noise in the NCAA tournament (minus this year, of course), the winning tradition, the influence of Kevin Ollie and the new facilities can compensate for a watered-down league schedule.

Football is the real issue here. I’m not sure UConn can ever take a major step forward in this new-look Big East.