While the college football world waits to see what happens next in the conference realignment sideshow, everyone’s weighing in on what the ACC‘s primary “malcontents” — Florida State and Clemson — should do next. As our own Joel Penning mentioned yesterday, for the Tigers, the main concern is television dollars, and how they can stack up to in-state rival South Carolina. For Florida State, however, it comes from a place of much more arrogance (or so its appears based on the rumors and reports floating around. The ‘Noles faithful believe themselves to be above their ACC brethren, and are looking to cash in on the rewards they’re supposedly entitled to as a result of a decade of football dominance.
“… Oh, wait. You mean they didn’t run roughshod through the ACC since the conference expanded to 12 members in 2005? Well I’d like to see some numbers concerning on-field performance over the past seven seasons, just to see what all the fuss is about.”
If you’ve had the above conversation with yourself, your friend, your dog, blog and forum commenters, or even the nearest tree, we have some good news for you: Actual statistics to take a deeper dive into the issue, and see what FSU’s gripe is all about. Now, of course, these should not be considered “scientific” in any way. However, given the data at our disposal (wins, bowl berths, etc.), they’ll definitely do just fine.
First question: Who has been the winningest program in the ACC since the start of the 2005 season?
Take a look at this table below:
Averaging out wins over the past seven years, the Virginia Tech Hokies are by-and-large the league’s winningest squad, racking up a stunning 10.57 victories per season — almost four full wins over the league mean of 6.95 wins per season. In total, six teams finished above that mark: Virginia Tech, Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Miami (in that order). While it’s just part of the argument, BC average 8.29 Ws per season, versus 8.14 for FSU. And that’s counting last year’s 4-8 debacle for the Eagles, too. Just as a point of reference when the Seminoles refer to Boston College as freeloaders. Moving on…
But non-conference schedules can skew those results. How did the teams fare against one another over the same time period?
Again, take a look below:
In league play, VPI once again led the way, this time with an average of 6.57 wins per season, with Georgia Tech (5.29) as the only other school to average over five per year. Reiterating again, the group above the mean (four per year) consists of the five schools most rumored to be departing to greener pastures, and Boston College.
And what about the postseason? Who gets to bowl games most often, and do they win those games?
As the total bowl berths chart explains, the “average” is the percentage of seasons each team appears in the postseason, with the ACC’s mean percentage coming in at 69 percent for each team. Here, the “big four” own a clear advantage on the others, making a bowl game in each of the seven seasons.
In terms of bowl wins, Florida State actually blows away everyone else here, winning 71 percent of the games they appeared in. Next closest? A four-way tie at 43 percent. Advantage: FSU.
Did those postseason appearances come with conference titles? How’d all that play out since 2005?
Well, since the league expanded to 12 teams, it’s pretty much been the Virginia Tech show (as indicated by some of the other numbers above). They’ve been to five of the league’s seven championship games. Next best is two.
Florida State is one of five teams to claim an ACC football championship since 2005, though only one of those schools (VPI) has taken home more than one. Again, bringing up those pesky “freeloaders” FSU was quick to point out, the ‘Noles and Wake Forest have the same number of ACC titles.
And again, just to hammer the point home, Florida State has just one BCS berth since 2005. Same as Clemson, Georgia Tech and Wake.
So, to recap, here’s where Florida State stands when considering on-field results:
Overall Wins: T-3rd
Conference Wins: T-5th
Bowl Berths: T-1st
Bowl Wins: 1st
Division Titles: T-2nd
Conference Titles: T-2nd
BCS Bowls: T-2nd
So yeah, not the worst in the league by any measure, but also, not the juggernaut the team’s fans believe it to be. If any team were to actively try to leave based on on-field performance, Virginia Tech has the best argument by quite a bit (though don’t get any ideas, guys!).
But what do you think? Should on-field results play a factor here at all, or at this point, is it all about the money and we can just drop the discussion of actual football achievement? Viewpoints contrary to this point are openly welcomed below.
Comment, share this post, follow the blog and follow @JohnCassillo on Twitter.