ACC Must Win Now
By Matthew Osborne
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An agreement with the Orange Bowl and the potential for a team to reach the new playoff have done nothing to improve the reputation of the ACC as a whole.
With the new college football playoff system set to include the top four teams in the nation, regardless of conference affiliation, the ACC theoretically has as much of a chance to send a representative institution to the playoff as any other conference in the nation.
When you combine that knowledge with the news that the ACC just recently inked a 12-year deal with the Orange Bowl, the conference has undeniably set itself up very nicely for the foreseeable future.
The agreement with a major bowl and the potential for an ACC team to reach the new playoff, however, have done nothing to improve the reputation of the conference as a whole.
The problems with the ACC have been numerous over the past ten years, as it has been nearly a decade since the ACC last produced a legitimate national championship contender. The conference has also struggled mightily in their high-profile contests against non-conference opponents, and a 2-13 overall record in BCS games has done little to alleviate the heckling against the ACC either.
The ACC seems to be in very good shape in regards to remaining a relevant college football conference for the foreseeable future, but even conference commissioner John Swofford admitted at his press conference Sunday afternoon that the ACC’s teams must start performing at a higher level.
Opportunities for high-profile victories will certainly be abundant this season, as some of the teams included in this season’s non-conference slate are Notre Dame, Auburn, South Carolina, Stanford, Florida, Georgia, BYU, West Virginia, Kansas State, Tennessee, Penn State and TCU.
Playoff inclusion and an Orange Bowl deal are a great start, but there is more to becoming a premiere football conference than simply the opportunity to play for a national championship or a prestigious bowl game. The nation’s top recruits and the majority of college football’s revenue always fall in the hands of the nation’s top conferences; just ask the SEC.
The ACC has long been thought of as a basketball conference, but Swofford and the powers at hand are fighting hard to change that perception.
Even with television deals, playoff opportunities and excellent bowl tie-ins, the success of the ACC still falls squarely on its member institutions.
The ACC has a golden opportunity to become a football power. In order to do so, however, the conference must start performing when it matters most.
If you are looking for a storyline to follow in the ACC this season, just be sure to keep note of how the conference’s team perform against the top teams from some of the nation’s other premiere conferences.