For the past few weeks, you could hear it building.
All the ACC folk, cheerfully circling Sunday's Virginia-Maryland tilt at the end of the ACC regular season. Anticipating with pleasure the thought of a resurgent Virginia taking Maryland to task for the grievous sin of leaving the conference. Hoping out loud that the Terps' last regular season game would be a whupping of epic proportions, with league champion Virginia standing in for Duke and Carolina to do the honors. That Maryland would be ushered out of the league it was abandoning with an epic loss.
And really, who could blame them? Maryland is turning its back on 60+ years of tradition to run into the arms of the Big 10(ish) for the sake of filthy lucre, using the revenue from the Big 10 Network to shore up an athletic department that's apparently awash in red ink. It's a painfully mercenary decision, flying in the face of tradition to the point where Duke's Mike Krzyzewksi won't play the Terps again unless the ACC-Big 10 Challenge forces him to. Such is the price of betrayal, and to the ACC diehards, Maryland is Benedict Arnold.
Except, of course, that these same diehards are doing backflips about pulling in Syracuse and Pitt and Notre Dame (and next year Louisville) from a disintegrating Big East conference that couldn't afford to pay out enough to keep them. Coach K's ecstatic to have his old buddy Jim "Psycho" Boeheim in the ACC, despite the fact that this tears up the traditions of Syracuse-Georgetown and Syracuse-Nova and so on. This, from the guy mad that Maryland's turning its back on tradition, and swearing that it never was a real rivalry anyway.
So help me, he sounds like he wants his Don Henley CDs and painted jean jacket back.
Look. Schools make decisions for lots of different reasons. Exposure. Money. Well, often money. If you're going to benefit from one school making a financial decision, you don't get to castigate another for making that exact same decision. The ACC kicked off the whole conference realignment carousel a decade ago when it subsumed BC and Virginia Tech and Miami; to think that the process would never be turned around on them was pure egotistical nonsense. So please, show a little situational awareness, ACC fans. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, especially if the gander's got a better television deal than you do.
And Maryland? They won.