The Daily Press’ David Teel brought up an interesting point last week about how well the ACC would fare if college football playoff revenue were distributed based on previous BCS performance. The catch, as has been rumored elsewhere as well, is that it would count everything from 1998 through today, and your league would be evaluated on membership in 2014, with no regard to previous alignments. So any team that’s joined the ACC since 1998, so long as they’re still in the conference, those numbers count for the ACC. This is where the power five conferences have a monumental advantage over everyone else. But can the ACC really count on previous success to help out its financial future?
While we get all worked up about the league’s issue of parity for the past five seasons or so, looking at the overall BCS figures do tell a slightly different story. Florida State and Virginia Tech appeared in eight and 10 final BCS rankings, respectively — each showing a remarkable amount of staying power over the 14-year time period. Additionally, in nine of the 14 seasons accounted for, the ACC had at least one team in the top 10. In 2000, they had three of the top five, and in 1999, they had the top two teams (again, remember that all current schools count, so VPI’s title game appearance vs, FSU that year is two tallies for the ACC). The team-by-team numbers, indicating appearances in the final BCS rankings, and average rank in those seasons:
Virginia Tech: 10 seasons, 9.7 average
Florida State: 8 seasons, 10.88 average
Miami (FL): 7 seasons, 7.29 average
Georgia Tech: 4 seasons, 16.25 average
Boston College: 4 seasons, 20.75 average
Clemson: 3 seasons, 15 average
Virginia: 3 seasons, 16.67 average
Pittsburgh: 3 seasons, 19.33 average
Maryland: 2 seasons, 16.5 average
Wake Forest: 1 season, 14 average
Syracuse: 1 season, 15 average
So back to parity: while there is a definable upper crust (FSU, VPI, Miami) and lower crust (Duke, NC State, UNC), everyone else hovers in a very shallow measure of “success.” That is, each of the other eight teams has between one and four appearances in the BCS rankings. Keep in mind that from 1998-2002, they only published the top 15 (not 25 as they did in later years), but in the end, you can see there’s inequity amongst the teams.
A quick glance at the figures above seems to indicate the league will be collecting a fat paycheck from the new playoff model. While they may not have the high-profile contenders year-in and year-out, and the hefty collection of championships some other leagues may possess, placing 11 of the ACC’s 14 teams in the rankings at one point or another is no small feat. Without diving into the numbers, a more varied number of ACC teams (percentage-wise) appear to have made the final BCS rankings than can be said for any other conference. when considering the conference also boasts three schools that have appeared in at least half of the rankings, suddenly, we’re on pretty excellent footing (or so it appears).
If the playoff committee dives in and determine each league’s weighted cut one-by-one, of course the ACC doesn’t compete with at least two of its counterparts. But at the same time, we’re talking about a league that regularly had at least three times present in the final rankings until the last two seasons. It’s a league that had five of the top 15 in 2000, and five of the top 25 in 2005. We don’t have to sit here and thank the three schools that led the way. It was a group effort. The ACC just has to hope it’s viewed that way when the checks are signed.