Welcome to the ACC: The All Conspiracy Conference
When it was announced that Syracuse was joining the ACC, I was immediately excited. Having grown up with a number of front-running Carolina and Duke fans, I couldn’t wait for the Orange to storm into the conference and make the blue bloods on Tobacco Road rue the day they invited Jim Boeheim and company to the ACC basketball party.
When the conference schedule was released, there was much hand wringing among Orange bloggers I know about how Swofford and his cronies were going to try to screw the newcomers. Sure, they had to be happy a top-tier program like Syracuse was coming into the fold. But the ACC has also lived for decades on the myth that it’s a deep basketball conference, when in reality its been the ‘Heels and the Dookies running things for the better part of the last two decades. Surely they would want the yankees to be put firmly in their place during the first outing.
I’ll admit that when I first saw Syracuse’s path through its inaugural ACC season, I wasn’t crapping myself. Home and home series with Boston College and Miami didn’t seem daunting (little did we know). Series with Duke and Pittsburgh would be tougher tasks, but the Orange faced both in the Carrier Dome first, which eased the burden somewhat. And only one date with UNC, in the Dome at that. There was no way to know that the Tarheels would be the mercurial mess that they are this season, so having to play them only once at home seemed like a blessing.
I’ll also admit that I failed to closely examine the season ending gauntlet that the Orange will face, starting with this Saturday’s rematch with Duke at Cameron Indoor. Four of Syracuse’s last five games are on the road. Two of those are against the other teams in the top three of the ACC standings (Duke and Virginia).
Of course, no one has a crystal ball. Most people expected the Duke, Syracuse and Virginia to be good. But I don’t think anyone expected the Orange to be 25-1 when they played Duke at Cameron. I don’t think anyone expected the Orange and Cavaliers to be deadlocked for the ACC regular season title with two weeks left in the season. But, man, it seems like the powers that be in the ACC had it out for the Orange when they laid out the schedule. It started out relatively easy; a lot of home games against largely bottom third teams, plenty of time between games, for the most part. It’s almost as if they wanted to lull Syracuse to sleep before hitting them hard.
So, what’s Syracuse to do? In the words of the late Al Davis, “Just win, baby.” Despite what is unquestionably a bad loss to BC, Syracuse is still one of the tops teams in the country. They can beat every team left on the schedule. They still control their own destiny when it comes to the ACC regular season title. Duke’s loss to UNC on Thursday night leaves the Devils with four ACC Ls and a relatively comfy 2.5 game cushion separating Syracuse (2nd ACC, .5 games behind UVA) from Duke and the rest of the pack. Even if the Orange were to falter down in Durham this weekend, they’d still hold sole possession of 2nd place in the league with a date against the leader still upcoming. Win them all, and the ACC belongs to Syracuse in its first time out.
It’s a tough task, but one the Orange can fulfill. They can beat any team, any time, anywhere. Sometimes you just have to beat the guys in the league office too.
What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Leave your comments below.
Chris Daughtrey is the creator and author of Bleeding Orange. He is a contributor at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and at Atlantic Coast Confidential. You can connect with him on Twitter @OrangeBlood 44 or search #OrangeBlood.
You were just going to complain about the schedule no matter what…..right? Seems like you are reaching a bit. The guys in the league office have it out for you? You got two highly hyped match ups against Duke your first season in. How would you have defined a fair schedule for Syracuse? If you didn’t get those matchup would you have also complained? I mean, I am sure the league office was only thinking about how they could screw Syracuse when they put the schedule together because they didn’t have 14 other teams to worry about. Laughable.
Look, no offense. Your arrogance of saying the ACC wasn’t a good conference and was only about Duke and UNC is just false and short sighted. You guys in the big east were located in the media capital of the U.S. And we’re hyped as the best due to a completely biased attitude. There have been a lot of good ACC teams and a lot of good ACC teams, undeservingly, left out of the NCAAs year after year due to a general northeast bias. There is already a ton of quality and depth in the conference that happens to be your home now. You should really quit complaining and learn to recognize when a red carpet has been rolled out for you.
It’s not arrogance. Its just truth. Look back as who’s won the ACC over the last 25 years. Most often it’s either Duke or UNC, and very often it’s those two playing each other for the crown. Now, if there was a consistent third or forth contender vying for the title, then I’d be willing to chalk it up to the Heels and the Devils just being flat out better than everyone else. But it’s not. The third ACC banana is always a different team, and there’s always only one. No consistency from the field. It’s just Duke, Carolina…then everyone else. That doesn’t make for a good overall league.
In the same 25 years, the ACC has won 8 National Championships, to the Big East’s 5. The ACC’s were by 3 teams (Duke, North Carolina and Maryland), and the Big East’s were by 3 teams (Connecticut, Syracuse, Louisville). Pretty negligible as far as ‘results’ go (or, in the ACC’s favor if you look at quantity). Plus, two of the three Big East teams are in the ACC now. As I said below, it’s fun to talk about this kind of stuff, but let’s just accept the reality of how things are NOW. The ACC is OUR league.
Pingback: The Morning After: Jim Boeheim Fouls Out | Bleeding Orange
Glad to see that another school is competing for the “conspiracy king” label with NC State! Let’s just all agree that the ACC is great how it is, and that both the league, AND the Big East, have probably been overrated and underrated at times. It’s everyone’s natural tendency to like things ‘the way they were,’ and it’ll probably be that way forever. A lot goes into the scheduling, and unfortunately, with such a large number of teams, nothing is balanced.
It’s still the first season of the ACC-Cuse partnership, and it’ll take more time to get used to it. Syracuse fans miss the Big East, remembering it for being larger than life. ACC fans remember the OLD ACC, feeling the same way. Fans of BOTH leagues probably remember the other league as being overrated and over-hyped. It doesn’t matter now.
At least for the time being, this IS the ACC. This is MY league. This is YOUR league. Let’s just be happy with that.
The only thing that I’ll agree to is that even the ACC hasn’t been as overrated at the Big XII. Kansas just won it’s 10th straight regular season title. All the credit in the world to the Jayhawks for being damn good all the time, but 10 in a row is ludicrous. The rest of the conference should be ashamed that they let KU walk all over them year after year.
And, a point of clarification, I completely agree that the addition of the old BEast schools makes the ACC a stronger league. I’m not holding onto any “I wish we were still in the Big East” feelings. That league was a sinking ship and I’m glad the Orange were able to land in the ACC instead of that thing they’re calling The American. ACC basketball has a bright future and will legitimately considered one of the best leagues in the country for a long time to come. I’m just saying that, prior to the new additions, the ACC was essentially a two team league. They facts back that up. And I’m not trying to claim that SU, Pitt and/or L’Ville are some saviors coming to revive the leauge. Just that to be a truly good league, you need legitimate competition from the field. The ACC lacked that before. The arrival of the new teams adds that.
Pingback: The Morning After: Tough Turtles | Bleeding Orange