The only thing worse than being a fan of ACC football these days is being a fan of mid-major football, and even that has the benefit of reveling in underdog culture.
The days ahead are sure to be long for ACC football teams. Even for the elite programs like Miami, Boston College and Georgia Tech, there’s more to love in the SEC and emerging Big East than in the conference every associates with basketball.
There’s really five reasons that contribute to the malady of ACC football mediocrity, and unfortunately, there’s very little that can be done to reverse their effects.
5. The ACC is a basketball conference - Why would a football player of any repute play in a conference when they know the TV network cameras and NFL scouts are at SEC and Big 12 games. For basketball players, its much different. But in football, it’s just a smart business decision to play as far from the ACC as you can get.
4. The ACC’s biggest underachievers are it’s biggest draws - When Miami and Florida State are in the discussion for best recruiting classes from year to year, it hurts the conference.
When Va. Tech and Ga. Tech aren’t in the discussion for the national title, it hurts the conference. There is no team the ACC can really brag about that can legitimately back up any talk.
3. The worst teams in the ACC are universally horrible - Maryland can’t beat anybody. Virginia can’t beat anybody. Duke can’t beat anybody. How can the top tier of teams take their RPI anywhere by beating these squads?
2. The Big East is way more intriguing – Yeah, Big East football largely sucks, too. But with South Florida, Rutgers, Louisville and UConn regularly in position to upset someone early on in the season, the Big East is far more of an attractive television destination for college football.
1. Unkind geography – Most of the schools are located in places that just aren’t football hotbeds. And for the programs that are, they are regularly trumped by nearby SEC peers (Florida, Georgia).
Sorry ACC. There’s not a lot that can be done outside of rampant cheating and scandal. But the good news is that March Madness is far more beloved than the BCS.