The University of Miami has decided to self-impose sanctions and skip the postseason for the second straight year. The threat of the coming NCAA penalty, and hopes of softening the blow, has the Hurricanes' bowl-eligible football team staying home, again.
This is great news if you're a Miami fan who believes the team will come out better due to this decision.
This is terrible news if you're the ACC. After a season that's just been brutal on the conference, save for Clemson and Florida State, this is another major blow to the league's core.
As Carlos Pineda at the Sun-Sentinel reported this morning, Miami has elected to stay home for the holidays.
The University of Miami has made the decision to withhold the football team from bowl consideration for the 2012 postseason, UM announces
— Carlos Pineda (@_cfpineda) November 19, 2012
That's not good for the ACC on more than one level. With its release, the University of Miami is impacting the league's championship contest and, more importantly, the conference's bowl future. The Miami decision puts the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets into the ACC Championship Game. If you're Florida State, that's not a good thing.
Yes, Florida State should beat the Jackets in Charlotte, but 60 football minutes of the triple option, cut blocks and only a week to prepare is not a situation any coach would ask for.
On the flip side, perhaps the ACC sees a plus from an attendance standpoint in the championship game. Georgia Tech fans traveling from Atlanta to Charlotte is the lone positive proposition to come from the 'Canes staying home.
The rest of the fallout, from a league standpoint, is downright bad.
Right now, the ACC has just six teams that are bowl-eligible: Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Miami and Duke.
North Carolina, at 7-4, is serving its own postseason ban. Now, with Miami's decision, the league has five teams that are assured of postseason spots heading into the Thanksgiving weekend.
Wake Forest and Virginia Tech have the ability to become bowl-eligible with wins this Saturday. For the Hokies, that means beating in-state rival Virginia. Given Frank Beamer's success against the Cavaliers, expect Virginia Tech to be the sixth eligible team from the conference.
In the case of Wake Forest, don't be so optimistic. The Demon Deacons have had a rough go of it in 2012 and their date with Vanderbilt does not look promising. The Commodores bring a five-game winning streak into the game and, after blowing out Tennessee, should be riding high Saturday afternoon.
We'll assume the Hokies take care of the Wahoos and Virginia Tech becomes the sixth ACC team eligible for the postseason. That's still two short of the conference's eight bowl commitments. Missed bowl slots matter for more than one reason; they mean missed money and decreased negotiating power when it comes to growing a league's influence.
If a conference cannot fill its requirements, it loses a bargaining chip. With the way this ACC season has gone—Florida State, Clemson and a bunch of very middling teams—the league is looking less attractive than ever to potential bowl moves.
A conference that just lost the Gator Bowl in 2010 to the SEC and Big Ten can ill afford another awful outing in the postseason.
Traveling to bowls, ticket sales and, ultimately, bowl wins count. Unfortunately, the ACC is not even going to get an opportunity to do any of those things in several of its bowls.
This is good for Miami on the micro level. But it's bad for the ACC, and that includes Miami, on the macro level.