In the wake of Aaron Hernandez's controversy, I got to thinking...could this scandal be a clue as to why the ACC lags behind the power conferences in football? What is it you might ask? Well I'll present it in the form of a question....

Is the ACC's attitude toward scandal and controversy the reason why it lags behind? Is there a relationship between acquiring elite, next-level talent and the occasional off-the-field mishaps associated with a few of them (not all of them).

I would say, Yes! For a large chunk of ACC programs, there seems to be a squeamish and panicky attitude toward anything that might taint the perceived image of the university. Conversely, the SEC has player issues all the time yet they never jump out of their skin when players get in trouble the way ACC schools do. Their alumni don't get up in arms and decry the downfall of the institution. Yet somehow whether it's a traffic ticket or allegations of dealing with agents, SEC walks away with a cleaner image than their ACC counterparts.

*"Losing teams don't have time to act up, but winning teams are filled with egos to manage."*

For all of the players that get arrested at SEC schools or pulled over, they never get labeled as a Thug Conference. Yet when player from an ACC school gets in trouble....EVERYONE FREAKS OUT AND GOES INTO QUITE AN EMBARRASING PANIC instead of calmly dealing with the issue as any grownup institution would.

For this reason, I believe all sorts of elite talent (both the coaches and the players) have turn their attention away from a great deal of ACC schools, both the good citizens and the troublesome few. Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech seem to be a bit more mature than UNC, Duke, UVa, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech when these incidences arise and carry-on in a highly professional manner. FSU, Clemson, Miami and VT don't have much trouble hiring capable coaches to run their programs.

I don't know what it is exactly but these SEC, B1G & Big XII schools seem to have the playbook down pat in how to handle crisis and move forward in ways that would make the athletically challenge members of this conference wet their pants. Take for example the Notre Dame and the kid who died filming practice controversy....a winning season later and the world forgot that it even happened or much less cared. Had the same situation happened in the ACC among the weaker football programs, you wouldn't hear the end of it. I suspect the ACC's adaptation of UNC's "Carolina Way" could be the root of it all.

Let me know what you guys, think. I'm not advocating for "few bad citizens" in the famous words of the former Notre Dame broadcaster, but I am asking for a more mature crisis management response from our member institutions.

Are ACC schools, outside of the football-first crowd, afraid of success on the football field? Does that explain their "safe" hires and relatively shameful on-the-field performance?

When will the ACC let it's hair down and get down with the best of college football's elite programs and repair it's weak image outside of it's Football-First Committee?

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