On Wednesday, SI's Stewart Mandel revisited his August 2007 "Program Pecking Order" Mailbag that divided up the "conferences formerly known as AQ" into a four-tier feudal society. The goal was to rank college football programs not by winning percentage, national championships, bowl wins or recruiting stars. Rather, it was to rank schools by how the program is perceived by the public.
Based on the last five seasons of results, Boston College held serve in the Knight designation. Knight designation, you ask? Knight designation.
This is the landing spot for recent BCS crashers and upwardly mobile Boise State, TCU and Utah, as well as ever-consistent, now independent BYU. While no one would argue that Boise has been far more successful lately than, say, UCLA, it will take many more years of sustained success for the Broncos to be viewed as the same type of "big boys" as the history-laden Bruins. Oklahoma State and/or Stanford could be the next to move up, while Washington State is now too far removed from its last run of respectability to avoid the bottom rung.
BC is joined by newcomers Boise State, BYU, TCU and Utah, while Washington State was the only program to get booted from this designation (to the lowly Peasant designation). Really can't argue with this designation for BC. The Eagles shouldn't be included in the higher band (Barons) but they really aren't to the Peasant level, either. At least not yet. Give it a few years?
Over the last five years, Mandel found that three of the 71 schools moved up, four moved down and six joined AQ conferences, reaching the conclusion that it's easier for newer programs to improve their lot in life than it is for program's with well over 100 years of history.
Here's how the ACC+ breaks down on Mandel's updated program pecking order.
Kings (2): Florida St. Seminoles, Miami Hurricanes
Barons (2): Clemson Tigers, Virginia Tech Hokies
Knights (7): Boston College Eagles, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Maryland Terrapins, N.C. State Wolfpack, Pittsburgh Panthers, Syracuse Orange, Virginia Cavaliers
Peasants (3): Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
This is more of the distribution I'd expect to see for the ACC. Now if we could only go ahead and realign the conferences in this way and implement promotion and relegation in college football, we'd be set.