ACC: Looking Ahead to 2009

David HedlindAnalyst IIMarch 4, 2009

There was no conference that had more balance than the ACC in 2008.

No team was safe and the “any given Saturday” cliché was never truer than in the ACC.

It seemed like every time a team got ranked, it lost within a game or two.

The conference set an NCAA record by sending 10 teams to bowls. Nine of them finished the regular season above .500. Six teams finished at .500 in conference play.

Getting 10 teams to bowls was an amazing thing. Now they just need to win a few more of them.

Ever since the expansion to 12 teams in order to have a conference championship game, the divisions of the ACC have never made sense to me.


Go ahead pick who you think will win this division.

Are you willing to put money on it?

I would not be all that surprised to see each and every one of the six teams in the division with a chance to win the division at some point during the year.

Florida State and Boston College were tied at the top last season at 5-3; the other four were all 4-4. The division was decided by a tie breaker for the top two who only had a one-game lead.

All six realistically had a shot at the division. It was just a matter of who beat who—and by how much—late in the season that opened and closed doors for the other teams.


Give this one a try, too.

Most would probably pick Virginia Tech. Given the history of the conference and the Hokies, that’s probably one of the safer bets.

I still don’t know that I would put a lot of money on it.

Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech actually both had a 5-3 conference record. North Carolina and Miami were at 4-4. This division was also decided by tie breaker.

That’s all a bit to close for me.

Go ahead. Look back over who you picked to win the divisions.

Do you feel like you are making a good bet?

Looking Ahead

Picking this conference isn’t like picking Boise State in the WAC or even a fairly safe bet like Oklahoma in the Big 12. Sure, they have some competition but I would still feel better with money on the Sooners than any team in the ACC.

Virginia Tech is not only going to be one of the favorites to win the conference, but the team that holds the best chance to regain some credibility to the ACC. Last season, A highly ranked Clemson team lost to Alabama—not only lost, but pretty much got blown out.

I don’t think I see that happening with Virginia Tech. I think they will put up a bit more of a fight. Who wins however, well I don’t feel ready to make a prediction yet.

There are a few other games around the conference that would gain respect for the ACC.

These games are all played in the month of September:

Maryland at Cal

North Carolina at Connecticut

TCU at Virginia

Nebraska at Virginia Tech

South Florida at Florida State

Rutgers at Maryland

Pitt at North Carolina State

None will have the early impact that a win over Alabama could, though. Cal would be a good win, but it still won’t be as big an impact as Alabama.

I like that the ACC is so up in the air. It truly makes it fun to watch when every game can go either way.

There was no one dominant team in the conference and I don’t know that there will be in 2009.