The ACC had a great year this year. They really did. It finally seemed as if the ACC would stand up to its big brother and finally live up to the conference it was supposed to be when it expanded back in 2002.
The fact the ACC is now 3-5 this bowl season completely goes against the grain of what has happened the entire season this year for the ACC. It is either that or the ACC had everyone fooled. You pick. Personally, I think it is the latter and not the former.
Proponents of the ACC will mention to you they faced off with the SEC 10 times this year, and won six of those contests. They will also tell you the ACC had a winning record against every other conference in college football. There were many people, including myself, who thought the ACC was the deepest conference this year.
The ACC picked up two of those six SEC wins against a Vanderbilt squad during a span in which Vanderbilt lost six out of its last seven regular season games. They were clearly headed downhill fast after a fast start.
The ACC picked up another one of its wins against a struggling Ole Miss that lost four of its first five games to BCS teams. Since then Ole Miss has not lost a game.
While winning a majority of the games against the SEC is quite an accomplishment for a conference that had a terrible reputation coming into the season, the elite SEC teams proved to be far superior to anything the ACC had to offer.
Alabama ran Clemson out of the Georgia Dome at the start of the season and Florida showed Florida State they are still far away from competing against Gators.
So what does all of this mean? It means the ACC is a conference full of decent teams that have no business being anywhere near the top 10, and were rightfully scheduled to play in early December bowls rather than later bowls.
That point is proven further by the two losses to unranked SEC teams today.
Vanderbilt is not a great team, just a decent team. The fact a decent Vanderbilt team beat one of the two teams in the ACC championship game is very telling about where the top of the conference currently stands.
Furthermore, LSU was a quarterback away from being at a level to compete with the SEC elite. Well it seems as if LSU improved that weakness very quickly with the month or so off they were given before their bowl. It was no fluke Georgia Tech got waxed off the field today. Jordan Jefferson added a missing piece for LSU and they became an elite team overnight just because they improved dramatically at the QB position.
This is why bowl season is great for college football. Teams and conferences get exposed, and ACC fans, your conference got exposed and shown for what it really is: a bunch of decent teams that do not belong anywhere near the top ten.