One of the interesting items in yesterday's ACC press release was the new ACC/Big Ten Challenge selection procedure. The league voted to include the top 12 programs with the best RPI from the previous season. This new rule may not sound too promising for programs like Boston College, but was that always the case?
Let's jump in our hot tub time machine to see which ACC programs would have competed in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge had Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse moved over in time for the 2005-06 season and the top 12 RPI selection criteria been in place.
Based on previous season's final RPI (in order of final ranking)
In: North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Maryland, N.C. State, Miami, Virginia, Clemson
Out: Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Florida State
In: Duke, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Syracuse, Boston College, Maryland, N.C. State, Florida State, Clemson, Miami, Virginia, Wake Forest
Out: Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech
In: North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Duke, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Florida State, Clemson, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Virginia
Out: N.C. State, Wake Forest, Miami
In: North Carolina, Duke, Pittsburgh, Clemson, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest
Out: N.C. State, Virginia, Boston College
In: Duke, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Syracuse, Florida State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Maryland, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame
Out: N.C. State, Virginia, Georgia Tech
In: Duke, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State
Out: Miami, Boston College, Virginia
In: Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Florida State, Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Miami, Maryland, N.C. State
Out: Virginia, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest
In: Syracuse, North Carolina, Duke, Florida State, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Virginia, Miami, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson
Out: Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Boston College
Let's go to the ACC/Big Ten Challenge appearance leaderboard, Mo! (missed Challenges in parentheses)
7 -- Duke, Clemson (!), Maryland, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Syracuse
6 -- Florida State (2005)
5 -- Miami (2007, 2010), Notre Dame (2005-06), Virginia Tech (2005-06)
4 -- Boston College (2008, 2010, 2012), N.C. State (2007-09), Wake Forest (2007, 2011-12)
3 -- Georgia Tech (2006, 2009, 2011-12), Virginia (2008-11)
Six programs -- Duke, Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Syracuse -- would have qualified for all eight ACC/Big Ten Challenges from 2005-2012. Four of those programs are givens. Maryland is somewhat of a surprise but even in the Terps down years, they were still in the middle of the pack. Clemson is much more of a surprise.
Boston College is towards the bottom of the conference, where the Eagles would have missed playing in the Challenge in three of the last five seasons (2008, 2010, 2012). While the Georgia Tech and Virginia programs may be on the upswing, had this rule been enacted eight seasons earlier, it would have been disaster for the Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers when it came to participating in the Challenge.
Other fun RPI facts from this analysis:
-- Boston College's highest season ending RPI (11) over the time span was from the Eagles' final year in the Big East (2004-05)
-- While 2011-12 was an extreme outlier for BC, only three programs -- Virginia (96), Wake Forest (100) and Georgia Tech (104) -- had a higher average RPI ranking over the time period. BC's average of 83 was one higher than N.C. State (82), three higher than Miami (80) and four higher than Virginia Tech (79)
-- 2010-11 Wake Forest edged out 2011-12 Boston College for the worst RPI mark (256 to 236)
-- Four programs -- Duke (1), North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Syracuse (2) -- finished in the final top two of the RPI
-- Duke's worst season, RPI-wise (16 in 2006-07) is better than these program's best -- Clemson (19), Georgia Tech (28), Virginia Tech (55), Miami (34), N.C. State (35) and Virginia (55)