The ACC–a Football Conference?

So, here we are… a few years after the Big 10 went on a colonization imperialistic expansion spree.  The expectation was that the Big 10 would leverage Ohio State/Michigan and its history to catch up to the SEC in that sport (the money sport).  Here we are in 2013-2014 and it does not appear to be shaping up that way.  Instead, it appears that the Big 10’s basketball has passed its football, the ACC has set up its football to pass its basketball.  For this year anyway.  Consider:

In 2013-2014, the ACC football conference produced 11 bowl teams:

  • If you count Louisville and Notre Dame, and get rid of Maryland, the ACC’s record in football bowls was 7-5.
  • Even without those swaps, the ACC won two BCS bowls and the national championship with Florida State.
  • ACC detractors who suggest that the ACC is merely Florida State, Clemson, and the rest (which would be fine, given that the Big 10 was built on Ohio State/Michigan and had to add PSU and Nebraska to get to 4 football kings), have to be watching closely.  The “rest” includes a king in Miami, Louisville (who won a BCS game last year), and Virginia Tech.  Nobody doubts the potential of Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and North Carolina State.  And then you have the history of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Boston College flanking the north with a long history of producing NFL talent and Heisman Trophy winners.  Only Duke, Virginia and Wake Forest are true football weak spots historically, and Duke just completed a 10-win season.  Wake Forest has BCS bowl experience.  And, of all the ACC teams it covets, the Big 10 wants Virginia the most!  This is not to say that the ACC can rely on one good season, or that the ACC has caught the Big 10 or the Big XII (much less the SEC).  But credit Swofford and the ACC Presidents for having the year that could start to get the momentum going towards the ACC becoming a yearly threat to be the #2 football conference.
  • Notre Dame is at least part of the ACC football conference landscape.

This is not to say that one year means that the ACC has “caught” any other conference.  This is not to say that the ACC is generating more money in football (or otherwise) than the other conferences.  This is merely to say that the ACC has proven that it can have a very good football year.  A national championship.  Two BCS bowl wins.  And conference depth.  One year in a good direction is better than none.  Florida State fans no longer have to worry about whether they can win it all from the ACC.  Even with all the financial advantages the SEC and Big 10 schools have, the right coach and right QB can get it done.

Meanwhile, although the conference additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse were expected to boost hoops (which they have), the rest of the ACC basketball has declined.  Miami’s basketball team was a #2 seed and an Elite Eight team last year, which is a lot better from a regular season or post-season success standpoint than its football team the past decade.  Syracuse is #2 in the country and undefeated.  Pittsburgh has but one loss, but is outside the top 25.  But the rest of the ACC has been very underwhelming.  As of today, Duke is #16 and a mere 1-2 in conference play after a loss to Clemson (ugh!).  North Carolina is 0-3 in conference play.  Virginia, Clemson, and Maryland are 3 through 5 in the conference standings–who saw that happening?

Is the ACC that much better in hoops right now than the American with Louisville, Cincinnati, and Memphis at top 25 levels or close to it?  Is the ACC that much better than the Big East, which has Villanova, Creighton, and Xavier?  The Big 10 has three teams in the top 5.  The Big XII has Iowa State and Baylor in the top 10, with Oklahoma State and Kansas nearby.  At the very least, we can agree that the ACC taking a step backwards in basketball was unexpected, right?

As of today, the ACC looks an awful lot like a football conference, rather than a basketball conference.  With 75% of a conference’s value dictated by football, maybe it is a good thing if this becomes a trend.  What do you think?

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27 responses to “The ACC–a Football Conference?

  1. You seem to list Louisville as a king, which is a major stretch, but claim OSU/Mich/PSU/Nebraska as the only kinds in the BIG. UMMMM Wisconsin, Mich St, and Iowa all have won BCS bowls, so based off your Louisville logic, then the BIG has three more kings than you listed.

    Also, your point about money and resources should not be a concern to FSU, because all it needs is a good QB and a Good coach, kind of seems obvious. It is like saying, all you need to have a great baseball team is 4 guys hitting .300 and two 20 game winners at pitcher, to which everyone would respond: NO KIDDING. LOL

    The question is how do you consistently get a great QB, a great coach, and then surround them with great talent and assistants (also very important). You need resources, and the more you have the more likely to is you get all of those things I listed.

    Look FSU is not leaving the ACC anytime soon, NOR should it leave. FSU has no where to go. It is stuck in the ACC, and here is the thing you all know it. If FSU had a place to go, there would be little more cow towing to FSU wishes instead of Syracuse ADs threatening that the FSU/UM game should end, 10 conference games, more travel for FSU across the conference, playing ACC championships in Charlotte, and the list goes on. None of those things FSU loves, and most it hates. Yet all of them seem like they could happen, or will likely happen, or they have already happened. FSU has to bite the bullet and deal with all this, even if it is as the expense of FSU’s best interest.

    It drives us nuts in Tally to deal with all those suggestions, but hey we made this decision 20+ years ago, and we are stuck with it. No going back now, because the Big 12 is a far worse option (no question about that). Also, the GOR is now in place, so no one is leaving for a long while, and even if it was not in place the BIG and SEC want nothing to do with FSU. So we have to continue along dealing with all these brilliant ideas from ACC command, and like it. But do not sit there and try and pretend like any of this is something FSU fans should be happy about. Do not sit there and pretend like things are perfect in the ACC. If FSU and to a lesser extent Clemson was not in the ACC, where would the ACC be right now? Honestly? UM is nowhere close to being an elite team. Va Tech is dwindling by the day. Louisville just lost its coach that won that big game you are bragging about, and now replaced him with a guy who is more likely to embarrass the school than get them a BCS bowl win. NC St and UNC have always been and always will be potential, and seem incapable of ever becoming a major football power. Syracuse and Pitt are just okay. Wake is probably going into a dark time, not that they were ever too great to begin with. Duke, MAYBE, can become a real program that routinely delivers, but they still need to win a major out of conference game. UVA seems dead in the water. BC is not great, and Adazzio will probably bolt when a big time program comes looking. ND in terms of football has a 5 game nonconference scheduling agreement. You can spin that if you want, but most outside of ACC country to not view ND as an ACC football school. If they were an ACC football school, it would not be that much better… since the last time I saw them in a BCS bowl Bama was destroying them.

    I guess good for you that you are pro ACC. But if you truly love your conference I would suggest Swofford work on mending fences among its members, instead of proposing things like getting rid of the UM/FSU game, 10 conference games like you suggest, or any other radical ideas that screw FSU. FSU fans love we won the title, but in no way did we win it for the ACC. It was for FSU and FSU alone. There are hard feelings in parts of the ACC. I would recommend the commish work on resolving those feelings instead of trying to kick bread winners in the gonads by cow towing to Syracuse ADs and people like you pushing 10 game conferences schedules.

    FSU has to look out for itself, like all schools, and not worry about the ACC anymore than it already has done. Money and resources are important in this new world of college sports. Hoping for a good QB to roll around is not the answer. Constantly building the program, and being in a strong football conference is what is needed. I do not see how isolating itself with a 10 game conference schedule helps the view of the ACC nationally. The ACC needs to win out of conference games, period. Beating up on each other does not do that. The ACC needs to ensure its power schools remains power schools. Somehow Va Tech needs to actually win something big. UM needs to grow the F up, instead of existing in its current weakened state lasting 11 years now (longest stretch since before 83 without a title). UNC and NC St need to stop talking about potential, and actually show it for once. ND needs to join fully, and then be good in the big stage. Louisville needs to make sure their coach can keep his you know what in his pants, and then turn it into a beast (instead of choking to UCF). Clemson needs to beat S Car, and play D. Wake, well I do not expect much from them other than to shut up and let bigger schools fix the ACC. Same goes for BC. Syracuse, it would be cool if you could look 90ish again. Pitt, all you have to do is look like you did 11 years ago. Ga Tech, try something else, because what you are doing now, yeah not so great. UVA, really? You guys cannot be better than you are?

    (lol Still want me to write about FSU here? lol It will not be friendly to the ACC, or any other conference, only to FSU… I got far worse things to say about the dumb ass conference known as the SEC… but that is for another day.)

    Look no conference is perfect, but lets not think FSU winning it all wipes everything away. The ACC has work to do on the field and off. Maybe you are right, and in 5 years time ACC will be kings, but we got a ways to go before we are anywhere near that kind of reality.

    • Well, you cannot get 5 years in a row until you get the first year. If the ACC teams would start performing to their potential, the ACC could start bringing in the resources to exceed the Big XII and others. Not exceed their potential–just meet their potential. An ACC where two of Miami, FSU, and Clemson are in the top 12, while the third joins two other teams in the top 25 is not asking much.

    • FSU was accepted into the ACC exactly for their football excellence and FSU wanted in for the excellence of both basketball AND academics, if FSU had brought the quality of football up like it had been envisioned everyone would be happy, as it is UVA had a great run with George Welsh and a about 5 years into the Al Groh era, GT had historically been good also, the first round of expansion by the ACC was about football with Miami coming of their best run, VT historically a better than average team that kept the ACC in the news, and then BC coming of their great run also. Remember it was Cuse, basketball is king, that was to have been in rather than VT, if anything it has been a ” perfect storm” that hit the ACC right after the first expansion. So don’t put yourself to high on that pedestal.

      • In fairness, it is not FSU’s fault that Miami fell off the map and Georgia Tech/Clemson were spinning their wheels. The bottom line is that Va Tech and BC carried the ACC in football too often… and they are not capable of doing so.

        It is not FSU’s fault if it loses to Florida, Oklahoma, etc. It IS FSU’s fault if they cannot put together coaches/players to beat Wake Forest. C’mon. That is just inexcusable for a King. How many times has Ohio State lost to Indiana? Alabama lost to Vandy (who is now surging a bit), USC to Washington State, Texas to Kansas? Once every so often is inevitable. Multiple times?

        FSU is a great football program and needs help. But the best thing is that it has now gotten itself in a position to be dominant. The ACC needs one great team before it can worry about having two.

        • I totally agree with you, but Brian made it sound like that the ACC except for Clemson had ALSO been bad which is not the case, the ACC has tried to improve the football product through expansion, specifically the first set, and really has not paid off as hoped.

          If the following schools would return to their prominence the ACC would be as great as the SEC;
          VT, GT, UVA, BC, Pitt, and Cuse.

        • As far as “Kings” are concerned, FSU, Miami, and Notre Dame, yeah I know partial, are all “Kings” with Clemson on its way, if they can continue the success. VT is considered a “Baron” with BC, GT, NCS, Pitt, Cuse, And UVA are all Knights. Any of these schools could and should be able to compete the SEC schools in their same ranking.

        • My thoughts:

          Kings: Florida State & ND
          King in jeopardy: Miami
          Princes: Clemson, Virginia Tech
          Baron: GT, Pitt, BC, Cuse, NC State, NC, Louisville
          Soon-to-be-Baron: Duke
          Barren: Wake Forest, Virginia

        • I’ll play….

          Kings: Florida State, Notre Dame;
          Princes: Clemson, Miami;
          Barons: Virginia Tech, UNC, Louisville, Georgia Tech;
          Knights: Boston College, Pitt, Syracuse, Duke, NC State;
          Peasants: Wake Forest, Virginia

        • To rank Duke as a “Soon to be Baron” after 2 years of success and UVA as a “Barren” after 2 years of woe is a disservice, yes UVA has had 5 losing seasons to 1 winning since 2007, which is exactly what Duke has except Duke’s is this year. Also has Duke EVER been ranked number 1 in the nation in football? Quick answer NO.
          The article is about how many people are familiar with a schools football identity by just their helmet.

        • It was a joke–a play on words. I consider all ACC schools at least a Baron. In my scheme, it goes King, Prince, Baron, Serf

          Here is a different person’s analysis from 2011:

          http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/stewart_mandel/07/11/kings-barons-knights-peasants-mailbag/

          As for Duke, it may be two years, but Cutcliffe has them headed in a great direction. Virginia has yet to even play in an ACC Championship game, despite being in the non-FSU, non-Clemson division.

          Virginia has a great recruiting class. Is it enough to save London’s job with another non-bowl season? Prob not. Someone else will take over a lot of talent if there is no bowl in 2014.

        • I totally agree with your assessment of the coaching situation, Mike is a great recruiter but I haven’t seen that much in the game. By far Coach Welsh was our high water mark contending for conference championships and being a co-champion with FSU in 1995. I thought Al Groh would continue that streak but he insulted the 757 coaches and they started routing all the talent to VT. If there was 1 event that hurt UVA the most was Curry backing out of his commitment so late that Mike Vick had already committed to VT. Would love to see UVA get someone of Franklin’s talent.

    • I believe the point was made earlier in this post, and I will reiterate it. Expansion is all fine and dandy, but you should not discount the role academics plays in these decisions. If you go back to when Miami joined the ACC, the president at that time said the decision came down to sports and academics. Many people have speculated that Virginia would join the Big Ten, but I would not think that Virginia would want to leave the company of UNC, Duke, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech over sports. There are too many academic connections you would have to break to get that to happen. I’m not saying it can’t be broken. I was surprised to hear that Maryland left for the Big Ten. But I think that while the likes of Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech have helped the ACC in football, you can’t deny that they have benefitted greatly from an academic standpoint by their association with the ACC schools.

      • Agreed with academics, the average ranking for the ACC with Notre Dame and Louisville better than the Big 10.

        • That is arguable though. Michigan, Wisconsin, and NW are great schools. Rutgirls and Maryland help too. Johns Hopkins in an associate context with CIC could change the analysis. The CIC is major. That is a money maker.

          The good thing is that any gap between the conferences is negligible. That is not the reason to move.

          Only have to worry about the $$$. “Only.”

        • Duke at 8 N’western at 12
          ND at 17 UM at 29
          UVA at 24 Wisky at 41
          WF at 27 Illinois at 46
          UNC at 30 PSU at 46

          The average ACC is 55.7 compared to 58.4 for the Big 10. L’ville is a boat anchor for the ACC academics.

  2. it hasn’t been that long ago that UVA was winning consistently. If Duke after 2 winning season is a Baron in waiting then UVA hasn’t drop yet as the article that I found that list in was in 2011.

    • excuse me, that was 2012 and UVA was a solid Knight at that time check the SI article on NCAA FootballKings.

  3. We haven’t arrived as a football conference as long as Bleacher Report sticks us in Around the Nation section below B1G, SEC, Big12, and Pac12.
    ACC has been a one team conference and it still will be until another team step up and win a national championship.

    • Perhaps.

      But here are the BCS National Champions:

      SEC:Tennessee (1998), LSU (2003),Florida (2006), LSU (2007), Florida (2008), Alabama (2009), Auburn (2010), Alabama (2011), Alabama (2012)
      ACC: Florida State (1999), Florida State (2013)
      Big XII: Oklahoma (2000), Texas (2005)
      Big East: Miami (2001),
      Big 14: Ohio State (2002),
      Pac 12: USC (2004),

      #1, interesting that all six AQ conferences provided a winner by the 7th season.

      #2, if you count Miami for the ACC because they are part of the ACC now, that means that two schools HAVE won BCS Championships–more than the Pac-12 and Big 14.

      #3, Granted, Oregon lost a championship. But so did Notre Dame. And Virginia Tech. So that is 3.5 ACC schools with BCS title appearances moving forward.

      All the ACC needs is Miami to return to form and it will be fine.

  4. If you count the addition of PSU and Neb as adding Kingmakers, then then you do the same for FSU. Which means the ACC has no real football powers. Louisville winning the Sugar last year does not establish them as a power, they are a good team but power means they have to have sustained success for at least a decade to be considered a true college football blue blood.

    Clemson does not even fit into this category.

    IN the ACC there is FSU and Miami as the only programs who would have reached that level given their dominance over the last 20 years. Besides FSU, Miami is still down and may never be back to the dominate program of the 80’s and 90’s because the talent pool down in South Florida is diluted.

    As to the Bowl records, you cant count Lou because they are not in the ACC and they beat an ACC school. You cant count ND because they are not in the ACC and will not be a member of the ACC in football. Not now or ever. Playing a few games each year against the ACC does not make you a member of the conference. I assume that with your logic, when ND beats an ACC team in the Orange bowl it will be a win for the ACC?

    Point is that the ACC did better than they normally do but still finished behind the SEC, PAC, Big XII, Big 10 in conference strength. There are just too many bottom feeders holding down the conference and it will have that perception until schools other than FSU start winning championships. (Same is true for the BIG with OSU and even with the loss in the Orange MSU winning the Rose helped their perception)

    Same was true for the PAC 10 years ago when USC dominated everyone, now there is parity and they have been winning on a big stage. Until someone other than FSU does this in the ACC there will be no respect.

    • The rankings that I am using comes from a SI article from 2012, that article listed FSU and Miami as Kings and Clemson and VT as Barons, I believe that the ACC can count them in this category even though they only play 5 games they still are an ACC school in all other sports.
      The rankings are based on the average football fan being able to identify the school just by the football helmet.

      • Kings of the conference is relative. Each conference has their Kings, just like Boise is a King of the Mountain West. Kings of conference are different than King Programs of college football

        • Again this had nothing to do with “Conference” related Kings, but as to who the average football fan could identify just by the helmet as I stated above.

          The Big 10 has 4 schools that is ranked as Kings when using that criteria, the SEC and the ACC both had 3 with the Big 12 with 2 and the PAC only had 1.

          Boise State was considered a Knight and not a King.

    • 11 teams–excluding Louisville and ND–qualified for a bowl. 3 did not. The “bottom feeders” including Virginia (who the Big 10 and SEC covet, and who went to 9 bowls in the BCS era), Wake Forest (who went to the Orange bowl in the second half of the BCS era and bowls in half of the past 8 seasons), and NC State (who went to bowl games 10 times during the BCS era).

      Duke WAS the biggest bottom feeder, but just won the conference and held its own against Texas A&M in its bowl.

    • You do realize that Clemson, Miami, and GT have all won National Championships in football. GT and Miami have both won Championships since the last time the PSU has and in the case of Nebraska, Miami has won a couple since the last time they have won. If you count them into the national stage then Clemson AND Miami should be also. Miami has turned the corner and has a coach in place I believe can take them to the natoinal stage.

  5. Louisville will be more competitive next year with Petrino than we would have been with Charlie Strong. It will be an adjustment year and we no longer have Bridgewater, but the team will still be good. Petrino is an amazing coach and will prove it very quickly.

    Although Louisville is currently a bottom feeder academically, that will also rapidly change. Our previous mission in life was to be a commuter school and our academics showed it. The mission changed in 1997 and the improvements each year have been amazing.

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