ACC Media Days is Generating No Buzz, and that's the ACC's Fault
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
If you missed the beginning of the Atlantic Coast Conference's Media Days, you were not alone. Day 1 of ACC Kickoff began on Sunday, July 21.
It is not being televised live. Instead, video coverage of the two-day event is being shown on its official website, quiet microphones and all. So yeah, that is a little underwhelming when you consider the in-your-face-for-three-days SEC Media Days' live coverage by ESPN in the preceding week.
Starting on a Sunday makes no sense. Phil Mickelson was owning the British Open, although there was no way of knowing in advance that this would occur. Still, Sunday was the final round of a major PGA Championship. Families were out and about trying to escape an oppressive heat wave.
Sundays are for the NFL, PGA and NASCAR. Sundays are not about college football. Not a good move for a league trying to return to its glory days.
There was no buzz about this event. And there should have been. Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech all are conference title contenders. Miami may be bowl eligible unless it decides to self-sanction itself for a third year (not likely) or the NCAA comes to a decision after a multi-year investigation over widespread violations alleged by convicted felon and Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro.
The ACC looks much stronger this year. But football fans away from a computer could not watch what its coaches or players had to say about the upcoming season. They were left in the dark. And apparently, they were not the only ones.
Every year media representatives fill out a preseason ballot by ranking each team in order of how they will finish in the Atlantic and Coastal divisions. The ACC provided ballots to media members with six blank lines under each division. But there are 14 teams in the ACC this year. The math does not add up.
Apparently, new members Pittsburgh and Syracuse were forgotten by the conference. Commissioner John Swofford is well respected but this gaffe by his staff added another Rodney Dangerfield moment for the league.
The lack of disrespect was not limited to just the ACC's actions. The Duchess of Cambridge Katherine gave birth to a boy late Sunday night. Twitter and the networks were all over the coverage of the royal birth. England stole the ACC's thunder.
ESPNU was airing an interview with Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen while North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren was speaking live from the podium. It also aired Alabama head coach Nick Saban discussing Xs and Os while new Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer was introduced. That was a mistake by ESPN's college sports channel because Shafer was very impressive in his debut.
ESPN has an exclusive television rights deal with the ACC. More from ESPN:
ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference have agreed on a rights deal that extends through the 2026-27 season and will mean additional football, men's and women's basketball and Olympic sports coverage on a variety of platforms.
Live coverage of the ACC's Media Days—a long-awaited event for football-starved fans—is apparently not that important to the network.
The SEC is a tough act to follow. We are still awash in the afterglow of Johnny "Football" Manziel's entrance into the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Birmingham—The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama at SEC Media Days.
But instead of starting off with a bang, the ACC started out with a whimper on a Sunday. Without live television coverage or hype. Without remembering all of its member schools on a ballot.
The final day of ACC Media Days is on July 22. Big 12 Media Days also begins on the 22nd so the ACC and the Big 12 will be overlapping their conferences.
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