The Demise of ACC Football

Inane utterances from the local media, gross inaccuracies perpetrated by the national media, and glaring inadequacies of State’s athletic department frequently provide topics to address here. But every so often, someone in one of the organizations that we often ridicule will absolutely nail an issue. Such is the case with an article today by Pete Fiutak at

I liked his entire commentary, but he “stole” my idea that I was saving for next summer at the onset of pre-season football hype. Since Pete started the ball rolling, we might as well finish it off. Let’s look at the last point from his article:

ACC disappointed when it counted most:

On the flip side, it’s disaster time for the ACC. Its star, Virginia Tech, lost, making the league zero for its last six in the Orange Bowl

Boston College struggled to get by an average Michigan State in the Champs Sports, Florida State fought well considering the circumstances, but lost to Kentucky in the Music City, Maryland lost to Oregon State in the Emerald, Georgia Tech got pantsed by Fresno State in the Humanitarian, Clemson lost to Auburn n the Chick-fil-A, and Virginia lost late to Texas Tech in the Gator.

Only Wake Forest really came through with a good win over Connecticut in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, but that’ll be little solace for a league that now has to be considered fifth, at best, among the BCS leagues. Yes, when it comes to national perception, and respect in the polls the following season, these things do matter.

It wasn’t that long ago that I summarized the ACC’s successes in bowl games. (Warning, SFN’s recent transition has messed with the tables in my old entry.) I would hate to go back and update those numbers to include the last two years.

At the first of November, I highlighted the woeful state of the ACC offenses. The offensive numbers are so bad that they bear updating:

– 10 of 12 ACC offenses rank in the lower half of Div 1 FB
– 8 of 12 ACC offenses rank in the lower 25% of Div 1 FB

I decided to compare the national ranking of the ACC offenses with the Sagarin ranking of the conferences to see what I could find. See if you detect any correlations:

2003 (9 teams)
ACC Sagarin Ranking – #1
Total Offense – Median rank: 43
Scoring Offense – Median rank: 48

2004 (11 teams)
ACC Sagarin Ranking – #1
Total Offense – Median rank: 76
Scoring Offense – Median rank: 73

2005 (12 teams)
ACC Sagarin Ranking – #2
Total Offense – Median rank: 66
Scoring Offense – Median rank: 66.5

ACC Sagarin Ranking – #4
Total Offense – Median rank: 92
Scoring Offense – Median rank: 76

2007 (Not final)
ACC Sagarin Ranking – #5
Total Offense – Median rank: 95
Scoring Offense – Median rank: 85

While not a perfect correlation, it’s pretty clear that the demise in ACC FB on a national level has happened as the ACC offensive production has dropped out of sight low. In 2004 and 2005, you can build an argument that the ACC defenses were so good that the offensive numbers are misleading. However over the last two years, that line of reasoning breaks down.

The Sagarin rankings and the bowl results show that the ACC teams just don’t measure up on a national level over the last two years. Last year the ACC was 4-4 in bowl games, losing the three biggest bowl games (Orange, Peach, and Gator)…and this year was even worse.

The total scope of off-season issues will vary from team to team…but it’s clear to me that offensive improvement needs to be near the top of the list for nearly every ACC team.

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

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29 Responses to The Demise of ACC Football

  1. dawgitall 01/05/2008 at 1:45 PM #

    “State and UNC have shown no indications of becoming a big time football program, and have slipped so far that Wake Forest is now CLEARLY the best PROGRAM in the State of NC.”

    Actually I think that would be that Appalachian State is now clearly the best PROGRAM in the state of NC. Wake Forest would be the best FBS program in the state right now but ASU is the best NCAA program over the last ten years.

  2. highstick 01/06/2008 at 5:02 PM #

    I know all the App State “bandwagon” group will jump all over me, but they are certainly not the best NCAA football team in North Carolina. In the last 3 seasons, they have beaten 1 Div 1 team and lost 2(including 1 to NC State). That would seem to mean to me that they have not beaten a Div 1 football team in the State of NC.(unless my stats are wrong, they beat Michican, lost to NC State and Kansas over the past 3 seasons.)

    Now, granted, they’ve had more success in their division than any of the NC teams. But remember, that’s a different world than Div 1. I would agree that Wake has the most sucessful program over the past 3 years in NC)

  3. rodtheman 01/06/2008 at 6:57 PM #

    Tha ACC should officially be designated as an ‘opponent’ in the bcs games.

  4. highstick 01/06/2008 at 7:19 PM #

    Phillip Rivers has definetely picked up the momentum in the second half! Go Chargers!

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