Sunday, September 06, 2009

ACCelerated Decline

No matter the outcome of Monday night’s Miami – FSU match-up, the ACC will start the season with 5-7 record.

Winners include –

Georgia Tech over Jacksonville State 37-17
Boston College over Northeastern 54-0
Clemson over Middle Tennessee 37-14
North Carolina over Citadel 40-6
The Winner of UM-FSU

Losers are –

South Carolina over NC State 7-3
Alabama over Virginia Tech 34-24
California over Maryland 52-13
Baylor over Wake Forest 24-21
William & Mary over Virginia 26-14
Richmond over Duke 24-16
The Loser of UM-FSU

Omitting the game with a “neutral” result (UM-FSU), the ACC comes out the gate 4-6.

Sure NC State, Virginia Tech and Maryland chose decent opponents (and all lost). But the first weekend is about taking care of the creampuffs when you choose to schedule them.

In the SEC’s case the conference members did exactly that, going 10-1 (Mississippi plays Memphis tonight). The sole loss was Georgia at Oklahoma State.

I’m not saying that, absent Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina (and maybe LSU) the SEC played some impressive group of opponents. I remain nearly ashamed of who the Gators played. But our teams took care of business where it had to be done. Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Mississippi State got their wins.

It was the same in the Big 12, as the conference went 10-1 with only the notable Oklahoma loss. The Big Ten went 10-1 (Illinois lost). Even the Pac Ten, with losers in Oregon, Washington and Washington State, ended up 7-3.

At 4-6 the ACC ranks with perennial “warm-up game” conferences like (after Saturday) - –

Sun Belt: 3-5
WAC: 4-5

And behind (after Saturday) –

Mountain West: 5-2
Conference USA: 8-3
Big East: 5-1

With conferences like the Mountain West on the rise the argument for blowing up the current BCS system continues to gain strength, especially when fading powers like the ACC get automatic BCS admittance for their conference champion. I have little doubt that teams like BYU, TCU, Utah and Boise State would be competitive in most any conference, and likely champions in the ACC.

It is going to be an interesting year.


Chris said...

We can crap on the ACC all we want this year, but I maintain that the Big East is the worst of the BCS conferences from top to bottom. If Pitt is the preseason pick to win your conference, then something's wrong. FSU and VT will still fare well enough in the ACC, and the champion team from that conference will demolish the Big East champion in the Orange Bowl. Count on it.

Jams said...

This is ridiculous. On the same blog that constantly dumps on teams for playing creampuff nobodies, you're also dumping on a conference for scheduling high-quality opponents? The two worst teams in the league lost games they should have won. But that has happened in the not-too-distant past to plenty of other conferences, SEC included.

If anything, the ACC should be rewarded for having scheduled far more games against level competition than anyone else this early in the year. If NC State, VTech, Maryland, and Wake Forest had scheduled Sun Belt and I-A teams, then they likely would have all gotten wins, the ACC would have opened 8-2 non-conference, and you would be lamenting the terrible lack of decent week-one games, rather than hounding the ACC for having the courage to schedule them.

I know it pays to slant the coverage to your constituent SEC fans, who love to read anything they can about how bad other conferences are, but please, this is below the quality that Saurian Sagacity normally puts out.

Mergz said...

Jams -

Read first. THEN be critical, if mertited.

I conceded that VT, NC State and Maryland played quality opponents, and was critical of the Gator’s opposition. (I do not, however, concede that Baylor of 4-8 record last year is worth a damn).

What I said was exactly this – “But the first weekend is about taking care of the creampuffs when you choose to schedule them.”

ACC teams lost to Richmond and mother-lovin’ William & Mary. That is LOWER DIVISION Richmond and William & Mary. People made a huge deal of Michigan losing to Appalachian State. Well, the ACC just did it – twice.

If the ACC teams playing quality opponents had all lost, then they would be 7-3, and hardly the point of a blog post. Instead they lost every decent game, and 3 bad ones. Based on your argument we ought to praise the Sun Belt type conferences for scheduling tough opening games even though they lose the same.If so, fine. The ACC is every bit as good as the Sun Belt.

Chris -

I agree totally, the Big East is craptacular.

The real point here is the total absurdity of the BCS system. There are certain favored conferences (and a team, in ND's case) based on historical reputation while other conferences of more recent accomplishment are shut out entirely. It doesn't produce anything worthy of being called a "national champion". You have Big East and ACC Champions (and occassional Notre Dame) playing in, and losing ugly, games that better opponents can't particpate in (Well we had the 9-4 ACC champ beating the Big East champ last year in a BCS Bowl - what a total waste).

There has to be a better way.

Rob said...

The ACC didnt lose to lower level teams - Duke and UVA did. Teams play games, not conferences.

Oh, and of course the BCS is a joke and there has to be a better way. Its a 16 team playoff with all 11 conference winners getting an automatic spot. Which puts the Sun Belt on equal footing with the SEC and other BCS conferences as far as auto bids.

Ian said...

I don't see any reason to be ashamed of who the Gators schedule for the first few games of the year. I'd be ashamed if Florida were in a conference consisting of a level of competition with the likes of the Mountain West or Big East. Other schools better schedule tough out-of-conference opponents. If they didn't there is absolutely zero chance they would even be a part of a BCS discussion. If Oklahoma somehow wins the Big-12, which is unlikely to happen now, then an undefeated BYU absolutely should be ahead of Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

A 16 team playoff is not a better way, it is rife with far too many problems. I think the best thing that could currently be fixed without causing any real problems, get rid of this whole automatic qualifying conference. Six auto qualifiers seems to be a good number, well make it the top 6 conference champions. The #7 (or 8) highest ranking conference champion could still make it in as an at large bid, but would have to beat other conference's #2 teams.

Jams said...

Okay, I officially redact my comments about the ACC. They again struggled mightily with lower-division teams. My apologies.