This week we are hosting this week's installment of the ACC Blogger Roundtable. This week's roundtable discussion centers on the conference's play in non-conference action through this young season's first four weeks. With apologies to our esteemed Miami representatives The 7th Floor, who haven't gotten to play a non-conference opponent yet this season.
If you'd like to participate in this week's roundtable, take the questions below, answer them on your blog, and leave a link to your post in the comment section below. We will try to post a roundtable roundup by late Thursday night.
Now that most ACC teams’ non-conference schedules are winding down and we are starting league play, it’s time to take the vitals of the ACC’s play in non-conference action. Here is how the ACC fared against the rest of college football through 4 weeks (based on my back-of-the-envelope math):
|vs. Big East
|vs. Pac 10
|vs. Big XII
|vs. I-A Indep. aka Army
|vs. Conference USA
|vs. Sun Belt
|vs. Mountain West
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?
As a program, BC has done just fine in non-conference play through four games. We took care of the easier of our two non-conference opponents by a combined score of 88-7 and nearly pitched two straight shutouts. The toughest part of our non-conference schedule, however, lies ahead. A road trip to South Bend and a home tilt with Central Michigan will prove to be much tougher outs for the Eagles. Right now, it's perhaps even a toss-up as to which of those two remaining non-conference games will be the tougher opponent for the Eagles.
As a conference, those results speak for themself. 19-13. Wow, just ... wow. If the conference's record against BCS conference competition wasn't bad enough (4-7), what is even more egregious is that we weren't even able to take care of the little guys. Two losses to I-AA teams, a loss to a Sun Belt team (thanks, Maryland) and a loss to Conference USA (thanks, Virginia) were certainly black eyes for the conference. The head-to-head record that jumps out the most to me, however, has to be our 1-2 record vs. the Mountain West. Sure, Florida State traveled to Provo and pummeled BYU's national title chances, but I don't think ACC athletic directors will be rushing to schedule TCU anytime soon. The Frogs pulled off the ACC sweep this year with wins in Charlottesville and Clemson. At this rate, we should just stop scheduling MWC and SEC teams and schedule strictly the bottom half of the Big Ten.
(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??
We're not just saying this, but I think if you take the ACC and the Big East's top 8 teams and stack them up against one another, the ACC would still come out on top this season. I know the Big East has a better non-conference record than the ACC does right now (21-7), but most of those wins came against the little guys - 7-0 vs. the MAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, WAC and I-A Independents and 9-0 vs. FCS. The Big East also has a losing record against BCS conference competition.
Beyond wins and losses, I just don't see the same depth of talented programs in the Big East as you do in the ACC. Cincinnati - who we very high on - is a very talented program and could very well run away with the conference and be a BCS National Championship Game threat. But outside of that, who is there? South Florida? Perhaps. We'll see how their backup redshirt freshman performs in league play. Pittsburgh? No pass defense. West Virginia? No Pat White? Then the bottom drops out a little more quickly than it does in the ACC, with teams like Rutgers, Louisville, Syracuse and Connecticut.
The ACC has Virginia Tech leading the way, followed by Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.) and North Carolina in the Coastal. In the Atlantic, still maybe too soon to tell, but Clemson and Florida State (?) seem to be the early favorites, and don't sleep on Boston College or NC State either. Those 8 teams top to bottom still have to be considered much more talented than the Big East as a whole.
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 season, I would give our AD a solid 8. Opening with an I-AA school followed by a weak MAC school was the perfect opening to this season given all the off-season turmoil. I won't go higher than an 8 however since GDF doubled down on scheduling MAC teams this year. If you are going to do that, maybe we shouldn't schedule arguably the best team in the conference that already has an upset win over a BCS conference school under their belt? Notre Dame worries me somewhat, but my early impression is that they have been winning close games against mediocre Big Ten opponents. I might be more concerned with Central Michigan and LeFevour than I am about Notre Dame, to be honest, given that the Eagles always get up to play the Irish.
Going forward, I would say that I am a little less satisfied with our non-conference schedule. I'll give Gene a 6 overall, but give him a 2 for the 2011 lineup of Northwestern, UMass, Buffalo and Central Florida. Syracuse opted out of the BC-Syracuse ten year series in 2011 and 2012, and that leaves us playing Northwestern in a home-and-home as the only team from a BCS conference. However, Gene makes up for it with the 2013 lineup and for that, I'll give him a 9.5. In 2013, the Eagles host Syracuse and Northwestern, travel to Southern California to play USC and play Army at New Yankee Stadium.
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.
Obviously we are biased in this question, but the move to me makes some sense. There aren't a whole lot of compelling matchups this weekend that would take GameDay out of Chestnut Hill. The matchup of the week is LSU-Georgia, but ESPN/ABC wouldn't want to hype a game televised on a competing network (CBS). Also, doesn't GameDay show up at an SEC venue, like, every week?
There are also a couple of problems with hosting the game in Berkeley (USC-Cal) or Coral Gables (Oklahoma-Miami). For one, both Cal and Miami (Fla.) are coming off crushing losses to conference opponents. Two, both Berkeley and Coral Gables have logistical issues when it comes to hosting ESPN's College GameDay. For Cal, you'd be asking their fan base to get at the GameDay set at 7am. I can't imagine the Cal Bears faithful would be so energetic at 7am for a game that starts at 5pm Pacific Time. For Miami, since LandShark Stadium isn't on campus, ESPN fears broadcasting the show in front of an empty LandShark Stadium parking lot.
While this might not be the most sexy ACC matchup of the season (the GameDay crew probably should have been in Blacksburg this past weekend for Virginia Tech-Miami and not in Austin), I am happy for Boston College and for the ACC. This might be just the type of publicity our much maligned conference needs. And since the GameDay crew hasn't shown up for an ACC league game in nearly 3 years (October 21, 2006 when #12 Clemson hosted #13 Georgia Tech in Death Valley), I would say it's about damn time. Send some love the ACC's way and take a break from the weekly rotation of SEC, Big XII and Big Ten campuses.