ACC: America's Conference of Comedy

Ben GunbyAnalyst IJanuary 4, 2008

Is there a worse BCS conference in America than the Atlantic Coast Conference? You'd be hard pressed to prove that one comes close.

Yes, I know, Wake Forest beat UConn, supposedly the second best team in the Big East, but at this point in the season, an argument can be made that Wake just might be the third or so best team in the ACC, so it's not like an ACC lightweight (and I use that term relatively here) beat a Big East heavyweight.

Take into account the ACC hasn't won a BCS bowl since Florida State's win in the Sugar Bowl in 2000, following the 1999 season. No ACC team besides Florida State has won one of the big bowls, which I'll include the Cotton, at least thru 1994, as a part of, since Clemson won the 1982 Orange Bowl. Granted, this could be somewhat skewered by the fact that the 1990 National Champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets played in the Citrus Bowl while Virginia accepted an early invite to the Sugar. Even so, it's been over 25 years since a team from the ACC not named Florida State has won a BCS bowl. Can you be any more putrid than that?

So why does the ACC have an automatic berth in the BCS? What has the league done to deserve it? The only bit of credibility the ACC has on the football stage no longer exists, that credibility being the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles descent to mediocrity, and ascension into a program full of off-field scandals has the ACC with absolutely no program to hang their hat on. It's not bad enough that for the duration of the 90's and the early part of this decade they were a one team league, now they've become a zero team league.

When the ACC snatched Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College away from the Big East it was supposed to signify the ACC's coming of age, and becoming a power conference. These additions were supposed to drastically alter the landscape of college football. Well, those additions did alter the landscape of college football, but certainly not in the manner the ACC and it's presidents and its schools had hoped. While the Big East has won a BCS game in each of the past three years (beating the SEC, ACC, and Big XII champions in doing so) the ACC is still searching for it's first BCS win since January 4, 2000. Just imagine how bad this league would be without Boston College and Virginia Tech. Who would have been ACC champions this year? Clemson? Wake Forest again?

While Wake Forest was a nice story last year, there is a reason you don't see many stories like that in college football. It's that in the majority of major conferences, for the majority of seasons, the play within the conference is at too high of a level for such a team to shock everyone and win the conference. While they may pull off a shocker or two over the course of the year, being able to do so over the course of an entire season just proves too difficult. Take Kentucky in the SEC for example. They had a team very much like Wake Forest last year, but yet, in each of the last two seasons they've played in second or third tier bowls because of the level of play of the conference they call home. Were they in the ACC, they'd probably have been to Jacksonville at least once in the past two seasons.

So while West Virginia was off thumping the Big XII champion in the Fiesta Bowl, Virginia Tech was losing to a team who didn't even qualify for the Big XII championship game. While the final score of that game said the Hokies lost by just three points, Kansas really dominated that football game. Just as Louisville dominated Wake Forest the year before.

The ACC champion hasn't finished the year ranked higher than 10th since Florida State was in the top 5 following their loss to Oklahoma in the national championship game following the 2000 season. That was the last time an ACC team finished in the top 5.

So why does this league have an automatic berth in the BCS? What have they done to deserve it? The league champion of the ACC time and time again comes up short in comparisons to the champions of the other BCS conferences, so why do they deserve to have this champion guaranteed a spot among the nation's elite bowl games? It's clear that the ACC champion isn't among the nation's elite teams.

Something else to think about is this: Florida State's win in that Sugar Bowl came against Virginia Tech, now a member of the ACC. Just a bit of irony that only adds to the gloom and doom that is ACC football.