This website has been pretty harsh on the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In fact in its formative years, we used to refer to it as the “Anybody Can Compete” conference. And just last month we referred to said “competition” derisively we wrote about “Wake Forest dry humping Maryland up and down the field in front of 35,000 not-so-screaming fans.”
Pretty funny, huh?
Sure … unless you’re an ACC fan. But the numbers don’t lie.
Like “7” – which is the number of consecutive Bowl Championship Series titles won by the mighty Southeastern Conference. The ACC has just one BCS title – and has recently been singled out as undeserving of its automatic BCS bowl slot. In fact it was thoroughly undeserving of that spot in 2012, when West Virginia rewrote the postseason record books with a 70-33 dismantling of Clemson.
This week ESPN’s Heather Dinich has a column chronicling the ACC’s difficulties – and the strides conference leaders say they have made in overcoming them. While her piece focuses mostly on the ACC’s big first week (North Carolina plays at No. 6 South Carolina, eighth-ranked Clemson hosts No. 5 Georgia and Virginia Tech goes up against top-ranked, two-time defending national champion Alabama), it also provides some historical context.
“Since 1953, in the history of the conference, the ACC has had only two seasons in which it finished with a winning record against nonconference opponents ranked in The Associated Press Top 25,” Dinich writes. “In each of the past three seasons, the ACC has won only two games against ranked nonconference opponents (2-11 in 2012, 2-8 in 2011 and 2-12 in 2010). The conference deserves credit for its aggressive scheduling, though, as nobody lines up against the SEC more than the ACC.”
Wait … “aggressive scheduling?” Last time we checked the ACC was preserving traditional rivalries, not so much scheduling aggressively. Oh, and speaking of rivalries, the conference got its hat handed to it last year on “Rivalry Weekend.” Don’t believe us? Ask Phil Steele …
The ACC’s best hope in 2013? Clemson. The Tigers have one of the best offenses in America – led by Heisman Trophy candidate Tajh Boyd. Thanks to Boyd’s heroics, Clemson earned a measure of respect for the ACC when it captured a thrilling come-from-behind victory over SEC powerhouse LSU in last year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl. A win over SEC powerhouse Georgia – which boasts its own Heisman candidate in first-team All-SEC quarterback Aaron Murray – will firmly establish Clemson as an “elite program.”
And give the ACC something to crow about for the first time in a long time …