first_imgGREENSBORO, N.C. — As John Swofford stood in front of the assembled media at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff he reminisced on the year the conference has had.He called it a “remarkable” and “even monumental” year as the complexion of the league has completely changed in the 12 months since he last took the stage at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center.“The composition of the long-term membership of the ACC has never been stronger,” the ACC commissioner said. “Geographically, we’re moving forward as a true Atlantic Coast Conference.”Central to the change are the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh. So that was how Swofford opened his press conference, signaling the start of ACC media days: with a welcome to the Orange and the Panthers as the league’s newest football members.The arrivals of SU and Pitt, plus Notre Dame as a non-football member and Louisville’s addition next season, represent the largest wave of expansion for the conference since Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami (Fla.) joined in 2003.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt that time, Swofford said, Syracuse nearly joined the ACC. As early as 2003, he said, “Syracuse was always part of that discussion.” It took some time – a full 10 years longer – but SU and its new conference are finally united.“Things happen for the best and happen in their own time,” Swofford said. “Syracuse brings a tremendous market, a great history, quality institutions, quality athletic program, makes more sense than ever geographically for us.”The newest members give the ACC the most television households and highest population of any conference’s media footprint, Swofford said, and he cited projections that place 55 percent of the United States population within the ACC footprint by 2030.Now, though, Swofford said the strength of the league lies in a non-conference schedule that the commissioner called “the toughest non-conference schedule of any conference in college football.”ACC teams will combine for 11 games against teams that finished last season in the Top 25, nine against teams that finished in the Top 10 and games against all four of last season’s top four teams – based on the final USA Today poll – including a matchup between Pittsburgh and the Fighting Irish.Swofford said there have also been discussions about establishing traditional season-ending games that feature both in-conference and non-conference matchups.The ACC finally has its new look.With the largest part of the conference’s newest overhaul complete, Swofford is confident that the ACC will continue to move in a positive direction.“We’re tremendously pleased that it ultimately happened,” Swofford said. “I think each evolvement of our expansion efforts have really turned out well.” Comments Published on July 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img