ACC Can Compete in New Playoff Era
By Brandon Rink
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"FSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech and the rest can play for a national title from this ACC if they handle their business. Period."
Realignment talk is exhausting.
One site says Clemson and FSU have an agreement with the Big XII already. Another site says there’s nothing close to a deal in place, and those aren’t necessarily the teams involved.
Oh, did you hear the SEC is getting a network? Obviously, Virginia Tech is going there now – it goes with the whole expanding the geographic footprint thing, right?
I don’t know what’s going to happen, and most folks don’t. Surveying the scene, I’ll step out on a pretty sturdy limb in saying very few people know the scope of what’s going on behind the scenes from school-to-school and conference-to-conference.
I said last week on Twitter that if the Tigers and Seminoles are Big XII-bound – good for all of the sites that had this story before national or even local media did. In fact, I’m rooting for them.
I want to believe that there’s still some credibility in reporting information crediting sources, because if all this talk is for naught, I could’ve spent the time writing this column on actual football talk.
Unfortunately, much of today’s reporting seems to have an angle – either a person in power floating stories for leverage or fan sites/message boards creating a story to push an agenda.
Maybe in some respect this is how it’s always been in sports media, in different mediums over the years, but especially in the case of college sports realignment, the stench rising from all of this is ruining college football.
I’m all for capitalism – you want to get paid FSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech and whoever else? Go get paid. The ACC will survive in some form or fashion.
But don’t say you can’t get to the new four-team playoff with how the ACC is now, because that’s ridiculous. Under the conference-champs-only four-team playoff proposal (almost universally supported by conferences), the Hokies would have easily made it just last season if they hadn’t laid an egg in Charlotte against Clemson. And in the Tigers’ case, the ACC certainly wouldn’t have affected their path – ranked in the top-5 of the BCS in late October after starting the season unranked – if they hadn’t stumbled to the finish (lost three of their final four regular season games).
To a certain extent, I get the argument – the teams around you are stacking money in conferences with guaranteed marquee bowls for their champs and next-best teams (if the champion is in the playoff final four) in a new territory for college football with two more teams involved in the national-title picture starting soon. I’m not saying it’s an even-playing field, but this really isn't anything all that new. It has been, and is now even more, an uphill climb for the ACC to move up in conference prestige, but it can be done.
I’ve said here on Southern Pigskin before that the ACC should’ve brought a football-geared school like West Virginia in the fold when they wanted to come, but under the current leadership, that was never going to happen due to academics. Instead, the conference added two schools (Syracuse and Pittsburgh) that fit the profile of the majority of their member schools and ensured some sense of security (at least at the time) in this odd age of college sports we live in.
But bottom-line, FSU, Clemson, Virginia Tech and the rest can play for a national title from this ACC if they handle their business. Period.
Let’s just be honest here with why teams want to leave the ACC. For some, the motive is money, and as much so power – looking good now in relation to your rival or other successful programs. There’s no room for patience and growing a product – it’s all about getting paid and powerful and making it happen quick. For others, it’s deep-seated resentment of the ACC’s power-base on Tobacco Road, coming from years and years of perceived bias towards UNC and the like, which certainly isn’t helped by Tar Heels’ alum John Swofford being in the charge. Infamously, FSU board of trustees chairman Andy Haggard combined the two recently to stoke the Seminoles-to-Big XII talk, bringing up some salient points and also some misinformation in his reasoning for Florida State considering the jump.
All we have solid to go on right now – not from varying sources, but from random sites – is that the main players from across the ACC have affirmed their commitment to the conference and denied contact with anybody else. When this all kicked up a couple years ago, the 12 teams stuck together with a similar party-line – maybe, just maybe the same thing happens this time around. FSU president Eric Barron has gone far enough to cite weak academics as a reason not to opt for the Big XII.
I just want something to happen one way or the other and football season to get here faster. To the teams involved in the rumors: stay in the ACC – improve your program and therefore the conference, propose reform in leadership or policies in the ACC if you feel that’s the issue. Or leave the conference – make money and new friends and be done with it.
How many days to kickoff?