Make no mistake, I want the ACC to succeed. I have family in Raleigh and every spring I inevitably find myself on a golf course playing beside three crazy Wolfpack fans with big red headcovers on their Taylormades and more NC State pride than a Jim Valvano “best-of” video.
Your ACC has a team of respected Boston Catholics from the “city upon a hill.” You guys have the team of the 80’s and all the tradition of Vinny, Gino, and Bernie. You have FSU and Bobby Bowden’s 382 wins. You have the pride of Blacksburg holding up the left side of Virginia while the pride of the Thomas Jefferson holds up the right. You have great southern academic institutions like Duke, UNC, and Georgia Tech.
You have Chapel Hill and Chestnut Hill. You have Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan. You have the ‘Canes, the ‘Noles, the ‘Heels, and the Hokies.
And yet, 2009 is shaping up to be the year of yearning for the ACC.
The ACC went 4-6 in week one of the 2009 college football season. Of those four wins, only one came against a bona fide FBS team and that was the Clemson victory over Sun Belt juggernaut Middle Tennessee State, who went 5-7 last year.
Saturday’s losses ranged from the bizarre to the ridiculous.
What now looks like the most respectable loss actually came last Thursday when an average SEC team from South Carolina traveled to Raleigh to beat NC State 7-3 in a game that set offensive football back sixty years.
The ACC bizarre included losses from non-FBS members William and Mary (Virginia) and Richmond (Duke).
The ridiculous included the image of Riley Skinner and the once-rising Wake Forest Demon Deacons losing to Baylor and the California beat-down of Maryland, 52-13.
The most exciting storyline for the ACC on Saturday was that Virginia Tech only lost to Alabama by ten on national television.
To make public perception worse, the 2008 bowl season wasn’t kind to the ACC either. Six teams lost but the more telling information came from the victories. Atlantic Coast Conference representatives beat a 7-6 Wisconsin team, Big Least champ Cincinnati, the third best team in the WAC, and a very average Navy team.
Week two won’t tell us any more than we know now, unless the ACC drops more games to teams like Jacksonville State, Murray State, James Madison, or Kent State. The best news on the horizon for September 12th is that Miami has the week off and Georgia Tech and Clemson have to play each other. That means at least two ACC teams won’t suffer heart-breaking losses.
What's most disappointing is that the ACC represents all that is good about college football in this country.
The Pac-10 commissioner announced this week that they’re dropping the "0" and awarding USC the trophy in a mid-September gathering at Pete Carroll’s private beach house off Sunset Boulevard.
The SEC is getting too big for its britches and Florida, 'Bama, LSU, and Ole Miss need a healthy dose of humility.
The Big Ten is too busy working with Chico’s Bail Bonds (Penn State), the law offices of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe (RichRod), and remedialmathandenglish.org (Ohio State) to pay attention to anybody but their narcissistic selves.
And the Big 12? They’re still deciding if they’re going to allow defensive backs on the field for the ’09 season.
We need the ACC. They’re good, they’re wholesome, and they transcend age, race, and geography. The twelve conference members represent five of the original thirteen states and have historic links to revolutions, presidents, important Union victories, noble Confederate losses, the Puritan ideal, and the southern way of life.
Please ACC, get your act together. Pool your resources if you have to. Make one team from the great states of Florida, North Carolina, or even Virginia. Let Flutie have one more year of eligibility. Somebody find Gino Toretta a scooter to ride back into the Orange Bowl for one more climactic drive. Is Burt Reynolds too busy these days to take FSU back to the Promised Land?
Dude, please find my ACC.