The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the category “ACC Network”

Clemson Fans, Be Thankful

Thanksgiving is almost here and most people are busy thinking about the massive amounts of turkey they will be eating come Thursday. Clemson fans on the other hand, have one thing on the mind. Chicken. Garnet and Black chicken. Every year with Thanksgiving comes the Clemson Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks* rivalry game, and every year, we are thankful.

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Clemson and FSU will set Reputation of ACC for 2013

I can hear the comments now from the four letter network’s talking heads: “The ACC loses more BCS conference match ups….”  The presumption is that the ACC is a weak football conference if they lose lopsided match ups like unranked Virginia Tech vs. #1 Alabama.  I’m not convinced.  Conferences should not be judged by the performance of middle or bottom tier teams.  Would an Illinois victory over Kentucky indicate that the Big 10 is a better conference than the SEC?  No way.

The biggest game this weekend for the ACC is Clemson vs. Georgia.  As a matter of fact, it is the only game that really matters on the national front.

A Clemson victory would likely catapult them into the Top 5, put them in the national title conversation, and set up a nationally relevant game against Florida State on October 18th.  Florida State, the other ranked ACC team, has it’s own responsibility for carrying the ACC flag.  The Noles need to win their games against inferior competition and continue their presence near the Top 10 for a majority of the season.

How many years has it been since an ACC football team has been in the national title conversation in November?  It’s up to you Clemson and Florida State to buck the trend.

Non-Conference Schedule

How many non-conference ranked opponents will be played by conferences this year?

ACC:  11

Big 12: 2

Big 10: 4

Pac 12:  8

SEC:  who cares

Winston Debut

As Florida State finishes up preparations for the Pittsburgh Panthers, most fans are eagerly anticipating the debut of freshman QB Jameis Winston.  Winston has generated a significant amount of hype since his MVP winning Elite 11 camp in 2011.  The hype reached epic proportions after Winston’s spring game performance highlighted by a 58 yd strike against All-ACC conference corner Lamarcus Joyner.

The ACC & Texas

To the average pro-imperialism Big 10 fan, the ACC is ripe for colonization.  Indeed, there is a certain sense of “Well, the grant of rights is nice, but we’ll be back for Virginia, North Carolina, and a few other schools soon enough.”  Just take a look at the comments over at Frank the Tank.  The only issue for them is whether the Big 10 goes to 16 or 20 or 24.  Let’s assume, however, that the Big 10 was able to take Kansas and Virginia (as they predict) in the next round of expansion… do not be surprised to see Texas in the ACC.  Consider this…

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…And the Real Carolina Prevails!

In a season full of extra innings, postponed contests and 57 wins (so far), the North Carolina Tar Heels have always found a way to come out on top. After torrential rain caused Game 3 of the Chapel Hill Super Regional to be moved to Tuesday afternoon, the boys in blue showed their neighbors down south who the real Carolina is (recognized by 49 states), defeating border rival South Carolina 5-4 at Boshamer Stadium.

But what’s so amazing isn’t that the team’s postseason hopes are still alive. After all, they’ve been ranked #1 in the country almost the entire year and were the #1 seed in the tournament. No, most remarkable is the streak that the Tar Heels take with them as they set off for their sixth College World Series since 2006, and tenth overall- they haven’t lost two games in a row all season. That’s not just tough to do, it’s nearly impossible.

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Unlimited ESPN on your Smartphone/Tablet?

Several months ago, there was a discussion in the comments of the Confidential regarding the profitability of broadcasting sports over the internet. Specifically that conferences who rely solely on airing sports content on TV via cable subscriptions, cough**B1G**cough, may be selling themselves short as more-and-more viewers are ditching the big screen for their handheld devices.

It seems that ESPN may be exploring the same topic. ESPN has been at the forefront for developing the infrastructure for watching content over the internet, with the creation of ESPN3 (nee ESPN360) as well as the development of the ESPN App which allows you to watch live games on your handheld device.

But, this becomes problematic as more-and-more carriers are no longer allowing unlimited data packages on your phone. Read more…

Seminole Territory: ACC Meetings and Andrew Wiggins

The ACC ‘s annual meetings began in earnest yesterday and there are several topics of interest for Florida State fans:

1.  Bowl tie-ins for football:  We should learn the bowl lineup for the post BCS era this week.  Here’s hoping the addition of Notre Dame results in an appealing slate.  After the first day of meetings ESPN’s Brett Murphy has mentioned the potential for the Russell Athletic Bowl to host the #2 ACC team.  Most FSU fans would be disappointed with this result.

2. ACC Network:  Can the ACC really generate enough interest at ESPN to support another college oriented network?  If the answer is yes, then how much money will it bring to the conference?  FSU fans are anxious to fill the conference money gap as soon as possible.

3. Basketball Tournament Sites:  Will the ACC  consider a geographic rotation of sites for the ACC basketball tournament to better represent the geographic foot print of the conference?  Can the new ACC programs influence the other non Carolina schools to become less Carolina centric?  The selection of future sites for the ACC tournament could shed some light on the future direction of the conference.

Other potential topics of interest:

4. Geographic Division Alignment:  it’s time to make North and South divisions to create meaningful geographic rivalries.  Surely, FSU was able to work a deal “under the table” to enhance their ACC slate by adding Georgia Tech to their division in exchange for the Grant of Rights.  I can’t imagine the Seminoles signing themselves over for a 15 year commitment to the conference without some assurance of immediate benefit for the football program.

FSU fans are mostly tired of hearing about Swofford’s endless amount of promises for an improved revenue and an enhanced league.  It would be nice if the ACC could start to flex it’s muscle regarding the topics above so we can all sleep better at night.

Andrew Wiggins

The most disappointing part of Andrew Wiggins’ recruitment is also the most endearing.  He does not like the spotlight.  Unfortunately, there is no “inside information” available for fans to debate and dispute.  FSU fans are hoping for the best.  This could become the biggest day in the modern era of Florida State basketball.

New Cable Bill–Would it Impact Sports?

John McCain is in the news for introducing a “TV Consumer Freedom Act” bill–the essence of which is to prevent “cable” from mandating certain bundles.  There is also a provision that would preclude sports blackouts in publicly-financed stadiums.  While sure to win points among populists, the bill has little chance of actual passing.  Many special interest groups–led by the cable companies–will be banding together to oppose same.

The bigger question is whether bundled cable services impacts sports.  We all recall that the Big 10 Network (BTN) ran into issues with obtaining a suitable price in the markets for some of its schools.  Without knowing all the details, it is guesswork–but it can be assumed that the BTN demands more money per month from Nebraska than in Oklahoma.  And, most importantly, the BTN demands to be part of a “basic cable” that people “must” have, rather than on a sports tier that people must choose.  The difference is twofold–both in terms of quantity of folks adding it (everyone) and the cost that can be charged.  The BTN wielded its power to receive that.

And ESPN has had similar battles with each new spinoff channel.  ESPN will likely face similar battles with the SEC Network and any potential ACC Network.  It’s good to get $1.00 per month to be part of basic cable.  It’s not good to be on the Sports Tier or only obtain a few cents per month.

But what would happen if everything was a la carte?  Presumably, the BTN and the SECn would be purchased by sports fans–perhaps even for more money per month.  On the other hand, those sports fans could dump the channel in the off season–April to August.  Still, if 25% of the people paid four times as much, the same revenue would be generated.  It is just hard to conceive of someone opting to voluntarily pay to see a few meaningful games per year.  The conference networks seem to benefit greatly by coercing the cable companies into “playing ball.”

That being said, the Confidential loathes the blackout rule.  It is particularly absurd when taxpayers fund a stadium.  No tears should be cried if that legislation ever passes.  Frankly, the owners might not get it.  Television is what will drive viewers into becoming future in-stadium fans.  Keep wooing your audience.

Nevertheless, as the bill is not likely to pass, do not expect anything to change.

What do you think–are you generally in favor of this bill?

 

 

 

ACC’s-Posure

OK, that was a stretch.  But it was an attempt to demonstrate how much exposure the ACC is getting on ESPN.com these days.  It seems like ESPN is going out of its way to lead with articles touching on ACC teams.  Or SEC teams.  In any event, ESPN is certainly promoting its partners.

Just look at the top half of the college football articles on ESPN.com at 7:52 pm EST:

  • Notre Dame eyes additions to football stadium
  • NCAA suspends rule change on unlimited texts
  • SEC Network set for ’14; ESPN extends deal
  • Pinstripe, Gator likely for ACC, source says
  • FBS schools spending more than they make
  • Kelly: Notre Dame in Texas attracts recruits

That is ACC, general, SEC, ACC, general, and ACC.  And Louisville, soon to be an ACC team, is featured in the main article on the page.

How about college hoops?

  • Parker signs letter of intent to play at Duke
  • Rodriguez transfers from K-State to Miami
  • Iowa to play in Bahamas instead of Alaska
  • Rutgers lands first recruit since Rice’s firing
  • Chol leaving Arizona after sophomore season
  • SEC Network set for ’14; ESPN extends deal

That is ACC, ACC, B1G, B1G, Pac-12, and SEC.  A lot of ACC and SEC.

It will be interesting to see if this becomes an increasing trend.  ESPN may not be making the ACC filthy rich, but the exposure is really unparalleled.  One way to create demand for an ACC Network is to make sure that people are continuously interested in the ACC.  Off to a good start.

 

Notes from Recent Preseason Polls

On Monday, I noticed two offseason polls of interest: the first one was a post Spring football poll for 2013 by ESPN’s  Mark Schlabach  and the second poll was for college basketball on CBS Sportsline.

Here’s a quick breakdown of each:

Football Top 25

ACC (3) 4. Louisville, 12. Clemson, 14. Florida State

Big 10 (5)

Big 12 (5)

SEC (6)

Pac 12 (4)

Notre Dame was ranked #10.

I’m excited about the GOR signed last week, but I’m embarrassed by the lack of solid football programs in the conference.  The potential is there-I’m speaking about Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, NC State-for the ACC to consistently have at least five teams in the Top 25.

Basketball Top 26

On the other hand, the new ACC received a ton of respect in the Sportline Poll.  Four ACC teams were ranked in the Top 11 and seven were ranked overall.

ACC (7) Louisville, Duke, UNC, Syracuse in Top 11

BIG 10 (5)

BIG 12 (1)

Pac 12 (2)

SEC (3)

Florida State and Louisville were the only ACC schools to appear in both (football and basketball) polls.  FSU will certainly move up in basketball if Andrew Wiggins picks the Seminoles in the next two weeks.

Strength in Basketball Helpful for ACC Network?

Most media pundits have pointed to the direct correlation between football performance and television money.  However, few mention the fact that conference network money is driven by “quality” inventory beyond football.  I believe the number of solid basketball programs with diehard fan bases will make the ACC Network viable for ESPN and profitable for all of the teams that recently made a commitment to the conference.  How many people are going to be watching the SEC network? (FYI: I will not watch.)  All of the notable football games are covered by the national networks.  Are people going to watch Alabama vs. Vanderbilt in basketball?  Meanwhile, the Big 10 has a similar advantage to the ACC with several viable non-football programs to provide year round inventory and interest.

NC State Spring Football Game

Just finished watching the Kay Yow Spring Game on ESPN3. Not sure why Duke gets an HD broadcast on ESPNU and we Pack fans have to watch blocky streaming video, but we will have to wait for the ACC Network to correct that one.

This was definitely a game of two halves.  Both the Red (first string) and White (everybody else) looked sluggish through thirty minutes, with only Nick Sade scoring as the teams were tied 3-3 at the break.

In the second, though, the switch to a running clock brought out the no-huddle and this is definitely the way for the Pack to go.  Both squads had their moments on both sides of the ball with the Red ending up winning 20-10.

The QB battle wasn’t really very close.  Don’t have official stats, but Pete Thomas looked much more comfortable than Manny Stocker. Thomas reminded me of Erik Kramer; not fiery like Phillip Rivers, but cool and calm in the pocket.  Stocker, however, was handicapped as he is more of a mobile guy in a game of touch where quarterbacks are concerned, so it may yet turn out to be a horse race.

The best of the batch was Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett.  Even with the no-tackle restriction, his speed allowed him to get outside once and get a few yards, and he was the most accurate of the group.  Of course, he cannot play this season and will have to wait until 2014 to be a factor.

In this kind of game, you look for the unexpected player.  In this one, it was Jr running back Milton Hall.  The White squad went down the field in the second half largely on his shoulders. It was Hall up the middle and Hall up the middle again until they moved inside the Red five yard line.  There Stocker rushed a throw into the end zone and the drive ended in a pick.  One more handoff and the White team would likely have scored.

The coaches must have felt the same way.  When the Red team moved downfield deep into White territory on the ensuing drive, they were joined by Hall in a red mesh covering the white jersey and he got his TD after all.  He has a strong ability to find the holes combined with speed and should give Shadrach Thornton and Tony Creecy a run for their money once the season starts.

On defense Freshman CB Cole Burroughs was impressive.  Every time Thomas tried to throw the deep ball to Quintin Payton, Burroughs was there, as he was on several other occasions.  The defense as a whole looked good, but Burroughs was the bright spot.

Another thing that impressed me was the sideline interviews with several members of the new staff, particularly DCoordinator Dave Huxtable.  They were energetic and enthusiastic, and not in a Chuck Amato kind of way.  Of course we will need to see them in adverse situations before we can really judge, but frankly, first impressions were…wow.
So that’s it.  This correspondent has gone from cautious optimism about the 2013 season to the feeling that if this team does manage to claw their way up the Atlantic Division standings, they might not fall back down like other recent Pack teams.

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