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Inter-Division ACC Rivalry Games at Season End? and the Big Finish

Brian: On Monday at the ACC Media Kickoff, Tom O’Brien was quoted as saying he doesn’t like playing cross division rival North Carolina on the last weekend of the season.

"I think it's a dumb game to play at that time of the year, because you're crossing divisions," O'Brien said Monday at the ACC media kickoff."

"Certainly you don't want them or you don't want us again playing in the championship game (the next week)," O'Brien said. "We'd be much better served as a conference, I think, to work games within the Coastal Division or Atlantic Division the last game."

However, James C. over at YANCSSB has a very different take, and argues that a scenario where UNC and NC State meet at the end of the year in a game that may determine who goes to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte would only be good for the ACC and North Carolina football.

Imagine for a second that Gene didn’t have the Syrac use game ear-marked for the annual football game after Thanksgiving starting in 2010. And imagine that Virginia Tech vs. Virginia isn't annually scheduled over the last weekend of the regular season. Then the ACC comes in and schedules Virginia Tech as the last game of the season for the Eagles.

What side do you come down on? Inter-division ACC rivalry games at the end of the season ... yea or nay?

Jeff: I am 100% on Tom O'Brien's side on this one. Boston College vs. Virginia Tech playing in the final game of the regular season and then possibly meeting in the ACC Championship Game a week later would've been absolutely terrible and I hope the ACC fixes the problem before they land in any such situation.

Brian: I also agree with Tom O'Brien, but find it hard to imagine a North Carolina vs. NC State ACC Championship Game. Ha. Besides, the one Championship Game the league brass have been praying for post-expansion - Florida State vs. Miami - has happened all of 0 times in the last four years, so how much more of a long shot is NC State vs. North Carolina in Charlotte?

If the league wanted to make games like NC State vs. North Carolina - which I'm told is the best football rivalry in the state - mean something more, then they should have placed the two programs in the same division when the ACC expanded to twelve and had them play the last game of the regular season annually. How satisfying was it for Hokie fans to defeat in-state rival Virginia on the last game of the season in a "winner-take-all" sort of game for the right to advance to the ACC Championship game?

What did the Eagles knocking off the Hokies in the regular season the last two years mean for BC? Other than another league win that did have an effect on who won the Atlantic Division, not a whole lot, since the Hokies won the rematch and consecutive trips to the Orange Bowl. The argument that pro-BCS proponents (me not one of them) hold close to their chest is the assertion that college football has the best regular season where every game counts. With scheduling these inter-division rivalry games for the end of the season, they are at least opening themselves up to the possibility of having teams face each other in consecutive weeks which, in my mind, can cheapen the value of the first matchup.

If the ACC wanted to further fuel the NC State vs. North Carolina rivalry, they should have placed them in the same division. Since they didn't do that, I'll also agree with Tom O'Brien here and say keep these inter-division rivalry games away from the last weekend. You will get more out of these matchups playing within the division on the last weekend of the year. Or the next-to-last weekend of the year, with reserving the final weekend for non-conference rivalries like Florida vs. Florida State, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, South Carolina vs. Clemson. The league could probably more benefit from ending ACC play a week earlier, reserving the final weekend for a non-conference rivalry game, and giving programs an extra week to sell tickets to the ACC Championship Game.

Big Finish

Jeff: The Orlando Sentinel ranked the salaries of all FBS head coaches. Spaziani came in tied for 66th with a $1,000,000 salary. Who would you say is overpaid and underpaid in the ACC?

Brian: Taking Spaz and Dabo off the table because they are new, Friedgen and Groh seem to be overpaid (Fridge in particular as his post-expansion ACC record is, shall we say, lacking at 18-22) and Grobe is massively underpaid.

Brian: On Wednesday the ACC announced its 2009 preseason All-ACC football team. On the offensive line, both Castonzo and Tennant represent Boston College on the team. Anything stand out to you about this year’s selections?

Jeff: Shouldn't Herzlich be on on this list? He hasn't missed a game yet. Isn't he still technically a part of the team, university, and the league?

Brian: The omission of Herzlich didn't bother me as much as the fact that BC didn't land a single defensive player on the first team. For a team that prides itself on its defense, that's a scary thought.

Jeff: Speaking of Mark Herzlich, there were several articles out on him this week. Any new news?

Brian: The Kevin Armstrong Sports Illustrated article is a must read and last night was BC's Lift for Life event which sounds like an awesome fundraising event.

Brian: The Georgia Tech boys over at From The Rumble Seat took a look at ACC and SEC football parity in 2008 and determined that the ACC league games were closer than in the SEC. They also note that ACC teams tend to not run up the score against other conference opponents like the SEC likes to do. Surprised?

Jeff: No, not surprised by either. First of all out teams at the top are not the level of the top SEC teams most years. Additionally, if you throw out Duke, the bottom teams in the ACC might be better than SEC programs like Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State.

Jeff: At least one writer thought the ACC media kickoff lacked controversy. Agree?

Brian: Obviously, any other conference media day will pale in comparison to the SEC's in terms of controversy. But do I really care if someone left a player off the All-conference team ballot? Or whether Tim Tebow is still a virgin? These are manufactured headlines to fill the dead period of college football coverage.

Brian: HD interviewed Spaziani regarding the availability of BC linebacker Mike McLaughlin. It looks like now McLaughlin might not be ready to go before the start of the season. What are your expectations on when McLaughlin will return?

Jeff: I really hope he is ready on September 19th. Otherwise maybe before the Florida State game.

Jeff: Did you hear Dominique Davis is going to community college?

Brian: I did. Perhaps he'll resurface in a year on an FBS roster. Maybe not. Regardless, he has my "best wishes."

Brian: Last one, Boston College recently ranked ninth in the "Students Pack the Stadiums' category and 14th in "Great College Towns" category of a recent Princeton Review annual nationwide survey. Your thoughts?

Jeff: The students show up for football games, that's for sure. But is Chestnut Hill really the 14th best college town in America?