Tuesday, December 7, 2010
ACC roundtable, postseason
Welcome to ACC-oholics Anonymous, where we have a problem. The problem is ACC sports. We have no interest in a cure. This week's host is BC Interruption, at which a roundup can be found on Friday. P.S.: Sorry to jerk you out of basketball and back into football for a bit, but you know how addictions are.
1. Virginia Tech and Florida State seemed to acquit the ACC Championship Game well this year, turning in an entertaining 44-33 game in front of a crowd of 72,379 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Assess the success of the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte in year one. How much of the success can be attributed to the host city, and how much can be attributed to the matchup? A little of A, a little of B?
A little of B, but a lot of A. It's time the ACC stopped trying to be something it's not and can never be: a Florida-centric conference. Some might complain of too much Tobacco Road influence by having it in Charlotte, but facts are facts: there's a geographical and population center of the league, and that's probably in North Carolina somewhere. Charlotte is a day trip for the vast majority of the conference. True story: When UVA went to what used to be called the Tire Bowl in Charlotte, against Pitt, I was visiting relatives in Atlanta. My brother and I drove to Charlotte for the game and were back in time for dinner. That's how you get people to go to your game.
2. Would you like to see Charlotte become the permanent home of the ACC Football Championship? Or would you be in favor of some alternate Championship Game format? (continuing to rotate the location, move to campus a la the Pac 12, etc.) Explain.
Charlotte. Forever. Period. No debate about this. Let's continue the discussion from above. Here is something else I will not debate because it's true and people who believe otherwise are delusional: Fans will not make multiple trips for postseason football. They're happy to make one. Beyond that you're asking too much. Why was the 2007 game in Jacksonville so embarassingly empty? Because people viewed that as basically another bowl game, which they couldn't afford to go to. It's right after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. People have already used up or otherwise budgeted their vacation time and their paychecks. Flights and motel rooms are expensive. Family demands to be seen. Gifts must be exchanged. People can't drop what they're doing and book it off to Florida - but they can convince themselves to take a day trip. Florida is a full-fledged vacation. Charlotte is doable for the vast majority of ACC fans. (Sorry, BC, you're ages from everything, but nobody held a gun to your head and made you join.)
On-campus games would solve this too, but I have my suspicions the Pac-10 (12) went this way because they couldn't come up with a suitable solution in time. They're a little more geographically spread out. Besides, the ACC is Parityville and I'd hate for a tiebreaker to determine which team gets home-field advantage, which is a big deal.
3. On to the ACC's 2010 slate of bowl games. How happy are you with your program's bowl placement? Did your team's bowl destination exceed or fall short of preseason expectations? (No, I didn't forget about you, Wake and Virginia. You can speak to general season results relative to preseason expectations here).
Gee, thanks for the consolation question. I dunno. "Preseason expectations" implies we had some kind of generally accepted win/loss number below which the season would be a failure. 4-8 doesn't register on any pass/fail metric. Some things (the offense, Miami game) were better than expected, some things (the defense, Duke game) were worse. I don't see the point in bothering to evaluate the season based on expectations. Better to ignore expectations and evaluate what happened rather than what should have happened, because there's a new coaching regime and nothing "should" have happened.
4. Looking at the conference's bowl schedule as a whole, how many games do you have the conference winning? Is this the year the conference has a breakout year come bowl season?
I don't see any games where the conference is outmatched, so that's a plus. I think we're looking at about a .500 year for the conference, because there are a lot of toss-ups (GT/AFA, Clem/USF, BC/UNR, Miami/ND, FSU/USC-East.) UNC and Maryland got very friendly draws. I don't see a breakout year, but the conference won't embarrass itself.
5. Clearly, there are many factors other than on-field performance that go into bowl selections (travel rep, ticket sales, travel distances). Pretend for a moment that the ACC placed teams in our conference's bowl games 1-9 based solely on their on-field performance this season (you can rank 1-9 anyway you see fit). Holding our bowl opponents fixed, how does your answer to question 4 change? Does the ACC then win more or less bowl games this year?
Eh, ok, let's see. That would line them up like this:
Orange: VT vs. Stanford (same)
ex-Peach: FSU vs. South Carolina (same)
ex-Tangerine: NC State vs. West Virginia (same)
Sun: Maryland vs. Notre Dame (actual: Miami)
ex-Tire: Miami vs. South Florida (actual: Clemson)
Music City: UNC vs. Tennessee (same)
Independence: BC vs. Air Force (actual: Georgia Tech)
Military: Clemson vs. ECU (actual: Maryland)
Hunger: GT vs. Nevada (actual: Boston College)
Sun: Chances go down; Maryland's record is better than Miami but I think Miami's the better team, despite UVA's results against the two.
ex-Tire: Chances up: Miami would win a rematch against USF.
Independence: Chances up: BC has a defense.
Military: Chances same: ECU isn't so hot.
Hunger: Chances down: GT would get murdered.
Two up, two down, one the same. No change for the ACC.
6. Last one. The home of the ACC Champion has been the redheaded step child of BCS bowls the past few seasons. The Orange Bowl has been awarded either the Big East champ or a BCS at-large leftover the past few seasons and the casual fan has responded with some of the lowest TV ratings in BCS bowl history. Did the Hokies/ACC dodge a bullet not drawing an 8-4 Big East champ UConn in the Orange Bowl? Or would you have rather have had the Hokies face an easier opponent to improve on the ACC's 2-10 record in BCS bowls?
Fuck that, I'd rather have the Hokies playing the New England Patriots to improve their chances of getting their asses kicked. An improved ACC record in the BCS is simply the consolation prize for a Hokies win.