ACC Roundtable Roundup 4: The Non-Conference Edition

I took time away from my trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond to recap this week's ACC Roundtable. Onward.

 

Comment on your team’s (if applicable, sorry Miami) and the conference’s non-conference performance through 4 weeks. As a conference, what head-to-head record against another conference stands out to you most?

We take the second question first. Word-association. ACC's non-conference performance. Go.

  • "Horrible, abominable, putrid and pathetic" ... "unACCeptable" (clever ... see what he did there!) - College Game Balls
  • Two losses [to FCS] teams is "inexcusable" ... "fairly poor" - Block-C
  • "Uneven" ... "a big win [followed up with] an embarrassing home loss" - ACC Sports Journal
  • "Wow, just ... wow" - BC Interruption

Tomahawk Nation is looking for help in this category from the bottom of the league ...

The bottom of the ACC this season, particularly Duke, Maryland, and Virginia, is very very bad.  In past seasons, we could count on them to take care of business and be respectable (except Duke).  That is not the case this season.

When approaching this question, those engineers down at Georgia Tech get all statistical on our asses:

The conference has the top half, but those bottom feeders (We're talking to you Duke, Maryland, Virginia) that need to be respectable have accounted for 60% of the ACC's OOC losses. No matter how much we complain about the SEC and their weak schedules, none of them lose to 1-AA teams.

Ok, ok. So maybe it's not as bad as it would appear at face value, and the ACC's image is being dragged down by a select few bottom feeders this season.

Taking this question in a slightly different direction is From Old Virginia. In glancing over the ACC's record against other conferences, they noticed the lack of Big Ten opponents:

The one that stands out to me is the one that's missing - ACC vs. Big Ten: 0-0. There's only one ACC-Big Ten game this year - ours against Indiana - and it hasn't been played yet.

I dunno, maybe it's just me - my fanhood lands me in both conferences and I constantly find myself defending the Big Ten to ACC fans and vice versa. It seems weird though. The conferences already have a pretty robust basketball relationship, they pride themselves on the academic quality of their schools, and they have an overlapping recruiting base, in part due to the whole academic thing.

And yet only one game this year. Same for last year: Duke-Northwestern. In this past decade, we - that is, UVA - have scheduled Indiana, Penn State, and Wisconsin, played Minnesota in a bowl game, and we have Penn State coming up again in a few years. I think the rest of the conference needs to get cracking - it's very weird that we have all these Pac-10, Big 12, and MWC games and one lone Big Ten one.

A novel idea. The ACC-Big Ten challenge in football. Beat up on a bunch of northern schools and stop getting beat down in the season opening chicken bowl? Probably just the thing this conference needs ...

For the answer to the first part of the question, results are mixed. Certainly the BC, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech representatives are happy with their program's non-conference results so far. Florida State's results are mixed and Clemson isn't too pleased with dropping a home game to TCU.

Our Maryland representative would like to take a moment to apologize to the rest of the conference ...

Sorry, ACC. I know we let you down. First the schellacking from Cal, then sneaking over JMU in overtime, then the MTSU loss, then the five turnovers against Rutgers....our bad. We certainly didn't help matters.

No, no you didn't.

And, of course, our personal favorite reaction to this question comes from the UVA blog From Old Virginia who describes the Cavaliers' non-conference performance simply as this ... 

Vomit_medium

Timely metaphor (Happy October!). Well played, sir.

 

(Because we like to fan the ACC vs. Big East flames …) The only BCS conferences the ACC has a .500 record against so far this year is the Big East (4 games) and the Pac-10 (2 games). Yikes. In a weekend where 2 of 3 Big East teams knocked off ACC teams, we have to ask. The ACC is still > Big East, right? Right??

The general consensus here is that while the Big East is making strides towards respectability, ACC football is still a tad bit better than Big East football. Certainly, however, this roundtable is biased.

Oddly enough, this question seemed to rub our 1.5 MSM roundtable participants the wrong way, who both grow tired of head-to-head conference comparisons. Ovies:

... Who cares? I would like to know the precise moment fans became so concerned over the "Conference Schwartz Measurement(tm)". It’s trivial in the grand scheme of things, especially when every BCS conference hovers just above or below .500 against non-conference opponents. Odd, the SEC isn’t losing sleep over it. Neither is the PAC-10 or Big 12. Bottom line — the ACC needs a couple of national contenders and not 10 bowl eligible teams.

Ditto Jim Young over at ACCSports.com:

Not to parrot Joe Ovies over at Sports Radio 850 the Buzz, but I’m not sure we need to bother making this comparison right now. Obviously the Big East/ACC comparison matters to you guys up at BC probably more than anyone else, as it should. It’s no fun if you have to listen to all your friends and co-workers who went to Big East schools telling you different versions of "Wish you guys were still back in the Big East, don’t you?"

Ok, maybe this question was a bit self-serving, but the ACC had just come off a week where they had hosted three Big East teams at home. So the question was somewhat topical even if you think Jeff and I lose sleep every night thinking of ways to get back at the Big East (we're really quite pleasant if you get to know us) ...

Further, asking whether the ACC's Schwartz is as big as the Big East's is a relevant question. Why, you might ask? Perception. Perception is everything in college football. Until this sport's championship game is decided on the playing field (read: playoff) and not based on the votes of a bunch of dopes that don't even bother to watch college football teams play on Saturdays, asking the question "Is X conference better than Y?" is very important. It shapes public opinion, the pollsters, and ultimately the decision as to who should play for this sport's national championship.

How else can you explain this week's oddities in the coaches and Harris polls? Penn State over Iowa? Oklahoma State over Houston? Cal ahead of Oregon? Ole Miss over South Carolina? Until we stop relying on human voters to determine who plays in the mythical National Championship game, perception and a program's brand image will continue to influence public opinion of team X and team Y. Which is why this question is indeed relevant. End rant.

 

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is losing to a CAA team and 10 is getting the ACC some much needed street cred by winning the BCS MNC, how satisfied are you with your AD’s non-conference scheduling this year? With the non-conference opponents your program has lined up over the next few years, will you be more or less satisfied?

This will again appeal to the engineers. Here is a graphical representation of the ACC non-conference satisfaction level for this season:

Acc_non-conference_sched_medium

The Virginia Tech reps look at our crude 1-10 scale and laugh at it. CGB:

Y’alls rankings are too domesticated, I’m two chicks at once satisfied. We’re only one of a handful of programs that doesn’t have a I-AA team on the schedule. Furthermore, we had two games against premier schools: Alabama and Nebraska. Finally, we get a chance at revenge on Thursday night against ECU in Greenville. Unfortunately, this amazing schedule, much like two chicks at once, is a once in a while thing. Next year we’re dancing with two groupies (directional Michigans), a booty call (ECU) and the girl next door (Boise State). We’re meeting Boise at a friend’s house (FedExField, Landover, Md) so we’re on common(-ish) ground.

CGB then proceeded to flex his golden pipes and bust out a few bars of Deep Blue Something. Yeah.

Our program-agnostic ACC friends took a look at not one program in particular but the conference's non-conference scheduling as a whole. On The B.Rink:

Overall, the ACC scheduled some big games (Miami/Oklahoma, Virginia Tech/Bama, Virginia Tech/Nebraska, Clemson/TCU, Wake/Baylor, Wake/Stanford), but they still get a 4.5 to me (which is an F if you are scoring at home). I hate beauty pageant scheduling where teams are afraid to schedule to bolster their record. This is why I greatly dislike the current system of deciding championships–teams have to play a string of yuck games outside of conference to make themselves look good for the polls. Give a system where you play the best teams you can out of conference to prepare you for your conference games to a playoff. That would be good football.

Between On The B.Rink and ACCSports.com, the two rated the ACC's non-conference sched an average of 3.5. FAIL, indeed.

How about the future of non-conference scheduling? Well, I learned that Virginia has Penn State on its future schedule, while the Hokies take a break from BCS non-conference play until 2012 when the Wisconsins, Kansas States, Pittsburghs, Cincinnatis and Ohio States roll onto the schedule. Georgia Tech has upcoming series scheduled with Kansas, Syracuse and Bama. Maryland is happy to renew their rivalry with the couch burners. And of course Eagles fans know our future non-conference BCS opponents include Notre Dame (for one more year), Northwestern, Syracuse, and Southern California.

 

Last one, ESPN's College GameDay is heading to Chestnut Hill this week for Florida State (2-2) at Boston College (3-1). Both teams are unranked. Parts of the blogosphere are going completely ape s**t over the WWL's selection. Justify the selection (if you can). If not, tell us why you dislike the selection.

Responses to this question were very mixed. The Virginia Tech guys - led by Gobbler Country - love the selection for BC and for the conference:

I love that GameDay will be at BC this Saturday. Yes, there are better games out there, but GameDay hits enough SEC schools through the year and if they went to Miami, they'd be broadcasting from an empty parking lot. Herzy's story is definitely worth a trip to Chestnut Hill and the BC students will give a good showing for the live telecast.

Block-C doesn't share Gobbler Country's or College Game Balls enthusiam for the selection.

The justification is that ESPN is further milking the teat of the Boston sports market, tying into the ESPNBoston imprint (though they’ve denied this and you can always trust the WWL, right?) to further whore themselves. There aren’t a ton of marquee matchups this weekend outside of the SEC, and you know GameDay will probably be at an SEC venue every other week from here till the end of the season anyway. Additionally, and much more admirably, they will shine a spotlight on BC linebacker Mark Herzlich’s battle against cancer.

Neither does Virginia:

It's mindbogglingly stupid. Sorry, BC fans. If it's my call, I'm putting the show in Berkeley for Cal-USC. Actually Miami-Oklahoma is the game of the week, I think, but it's a constitutional requirement that you have to play your games on campus in a college stadium in order to host College GameDay, and Miami fails at this.

Finally, we check back in with Joe Ovies, who we are still apparently annoying the crap out of ...

Man, if I didn’t already know who wrote these questions before - there would be no doubt a Boston College guy did with the obsessed nature of the queries. And I thought NC State fans had an inferiority complex? Chillax, BC Superfans. The same blogosphere fails to realize the advanced logistics that go into producing the show in the first place. Secondly, ESPN is loathe to repeat locations. Frankly, they could do the show on a green screen and nobody watching at home could tell the difference. Oh, look at the college kid with a clever sign. Check it out, the pep band! Really, how will Lee Corso putting on a mascot head in Chestnut Hill have any impact on your football watching experience?

In the end, though, Ovies articulates well why the WWL is justified in taking their three-ring circus, traveling road show to Chestnut Hill this weekend.

But if anyone has beef with going to Boston College, tell them to shove it. The off-the-field story of linebacker Mark Herzlich is compelling enough. The reigning conference defensive player of the year was diagnosed in May with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in his left leg. Herzlich has been given a medical redshirt and is fighting to get back on the field next season. Overall, an inspiring story and fellow ACC schools have or plan to honor the linebacker when the Eagles visit their stadium. For some, this isn’t a good enough reason for ESPN to bring their production trucks to the Boston area. Those same people also like to kick puppies and kittens.

 

In our opinion, anything to break up College GameDay's heavy rotation of SEC, Big XII and Big Ten campuses is A-OK with us.

 

Thanks to the 11 ACC blogs that participated in this week's ACC blogger roundtable. You can read the full responses of each participant following the links below:

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