Thursday, November 13, 2008

ACC Roundtable #4

This version of the ACC Roundtable is hosted by.....yours truly. Which basically means I write the questions and the ensuing roundup. Other roundtable members are...

BC Interruption (Boston College)
Block-C (Clemson)
The LegacyX4 (Georgia Tech)
Tar Heel Mania (North Carolina)
College Game Balls (Virginia Tech)
Gobbler Country (Virginia Tech)

....and you should definitely go find out what they have to say on these burning questions.

1. Take a trip back in time, as far back as you like. If you could change the outcome of one game in your program's history, what would you change and why?

It's pretty tempting to go back to 1990 and make Georgia Tech not knock us off our #1 perch. But seriously, they won the national title that year, and we would lose three more games. So, at severe risk of making our hated rivals cackle with glee, I want last year's VT game back. True, the reward would be to play for the ACC title in front of 275 fans, but I don't care, who knows when we'll have that chance again?

2. What non-ACC program does your team most resemble?

I've always thought we're a lot like Iowa. In our best years we're a threat to win the conference championship that never really materializes, and in our worst, we're still not really that bad. We have the same number of trips to the automatic BCS conference championship game, which is zero. And you can't ignore the George Welsh-Hayden Fry similarities: coaches revered for bringing their respective programs out from the dregs of their conferences and into respectability, starting in the early '80s.

3. Which do you prefer? The ACC of 2008: in which the conference isn't well-respected nationally, but three-quarters of the teams can legitimately say they have a shot at the conference championship with just a few games to go? Or the ACC of 1998: a respected conference, but dominated by a hegemonic superpower that we all hate?

To me the answer is 2008 and it's not even close. I don't care if the ESPN-types scoff. We all have a shot at the ring. Lee Corso can't take away the ring. Dennis Dodd can't take away the ring. The ring stays put. I like looking at the conference schedule and not having to instantly mark down a loss somewhere. Of course, my preference would be actually to be the hegemonic superpower that everyone hates. But failing that, the parity is far more interesting than riding the coattails of some superpower and paying the price by getting our ass kicked by them each year. Hell, I'm sitting here watching a game between two teams I hate, because it has conference championship implications....for my team. That's not happening in 1998, and not just because these teams were in the Big East back then.

4. Hey, it's basketball season! What are your expectations for your team? What kind of season would make you happy?

This looks like another one of those seasons where you start off by taking down a bunch of mid-major schmos (this year, VMI, Radford, Liberty, etc.) and then the real competition hits and your season goes tthhhppbbbttt. Frankly, when you lose one of the best players ever to put on the school uniform - second-best ever, in my estimation - you take a step back. And we didn't exactly rock the world last year. I'll settle for a postseason bid, even the CBI again. The real expectations come next season when Dave Leitao's best recruiting class ever has a year of experience under their belt.