While the March Madness of college basketball is almost upon us, the ACC football schedules also came out this week. There has also been discussion lately about favortism in the ACC both here on the blog and the forums.
With that in mind, let’s fast forward to the early part of the football season and that first conference game. Perhaps your team has played some tune up games against 1-AA teams or maybe you’ve played a barometer game against a BCS power. But now comes that first conference game, a chance to see how you stack up against your peers, establish your position early within the division and generally get the season off to a good start.
Starting off ACC play within the friendly confines of your own stadium with the home field advantage is certainly a plus. Since the ACC has expanded to 12 teams in 2005, the road team in their opening conference game has a record of 14-23 (.378). You would certainly like to open ACC play at home every year, but reasonably you can’t expect to do so every season.
And you certainly can’t expect that if you’re NC State. In 2012, for the 6th straight season the Wolfpack will open ACC play on the road.
Ratio Of Home ACC Openers To Road ACC Openers
In the 8 seasons going back to the beginning of the 12 team schedule in 2005 through the upcoming 2012 schedule, let’s take a look at the ratio of home to away games for the opening ACC game.
5 Home Games & 3 Away Games
4 Home Games & 4 Away Games
3 Home Games & 5 Away Games
The ratios of 5/3, 4/4 and 3/5 seem pretty reasonable to me. But you’ve probably noticed 2 schools are missing from that list. One of course is the Wolfpack with 2 ACC home openers and then 6 straight years on the road. The other is Boston College with 7 ACC home openers and only 1 on the road.
Maybe there are legit reasons for the schedule to work out this way but I’m not sure what they could be. Maybe the weather is a factor in Boston and they want to BC to play at home more earlier in the year. But with State I can’t think of any, especially when we’re usually on the road in October anyway because of the State Fair.
As I’ve already mentioned, the Wolfpack will now have a streak of 6 straight ACC road openers. In the previous 5 games the Pack has a record of 1-4, the lone win against Georgia Tech in Atlanta in 2010.
Miami will currently have a 4 game ACC road opener streak and Duke’s will be at 3. Maryland and Wake Forest have also had to open on the road 3 straight years in the past.
Compare that to the fact that North Carolina, Boston College and Georgia Tech have never opened ACC play on the road 2 years in a row. This year Maryland will open ACC play at home for the 4th straight season. Boston College in their 1st 4 years in the conference got to open ACC play at home.
Maybe in the big scheme of things this isn’t a big deal and this whole post is much ado about nothing. I’m not really sure myself one way or the other. Although it was enough for TOB to make mention of it last year in a press conference. Maybe there are legit reasons why the schedule is the way it is. But doesn’t it seem a little bit wrong to send the Wolfpack on the road to the start the ACC season for 6 straight years? Especially when no other school in the conference has had to do the same and some (including the Tar Heels) have never even had to do it twice?
When so many State fans these days are at odds with the ACC front office about officiating, Karl Hess, expansion, losing the home and home with Carolina in basketball, etc, etc, they’re not helping themselves by adding one more log to the fire. Or with us State fans, maybe more like one more jet fueled track drier to the fire.