A Case for the ACC (or Anyone Other Than the SEC)

Alec Lemon and the Orange Were Not Intimidated by the SEC

First, let’s be clear, the SEC is the most talented football conference in the nation. However, just how much better the SEC is than everyone else is less clear. Many people have bought into the notion of SEC superiority so wholeheartedly that they are now unable to seriously consider a team from another conference as a legitimate national title contender.

Playing in the national championship is not a birthright, it is something that teams earn. Right now though, it seems like the SEC is all but guaranteed a spot in the title game. Assuming Notre Dame beats USC, they are in, and will play the winner of the Georgia vs. Alabama game — so long as neither of those teams lose their regular season finale (go Jackets!). Georgia and Alabama are both talented one-loss teams; but it is wrong how one loss SEC teams are favored so strongly by humans, and thus computers too,  just because of their conference.

Why not a one-loss ACC team? Consider Florida State. FSU is currently ranked 10th in the BCS standings, behind five SEC teams. Two of these SEC teams, LSU and Texas A&M, both have two loses. FSU’s one loss this season came relatively early in the season on the road vs. NC State. Usually it is better to lose early in the season, yet Alabama lost just two weeks ago and is second in the BCS. FSU’s best win of the season came against Clemson, another one-loss ACC team wrongly buried behind SEC teams. FSU has two remaining regular season games: against rival Florida, and ACC Coastal Division Champion Georgia Tech. Should FSU win these two games, that would mean two more quality victories. Compare this to Georgia, who has a clear route to the national title available to them. UGA’s only signature win was a sloppy victory over Florida, whom FSU will have a chance to beat too, and their only loss was a beat down by South Carolina. Georgia is 1-1 in premiere games this season and has the 46th-ranked strength of schedule according to the Sagarin ratings. Other SEC teams mirror this pattern of one quality in-conference win, and one or two in-conference losses.

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Georgia Tech Football: Time for a New Option?

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Enough is enough. I have turned the corner today as a Georgia Tech fan, and like many other fellow Tech fans, I am now ready to move on from the Paul Johnson era. This is not an condemnation of the option offense, it is an indictment of Johnson. Johnson won early and often in his Tech career with Chan Gailey’s recruits. In recent years Johnson has not recruited particularly well, does not appear able to inspire players, has had a number of inexplicable losses, is 0-4 in bowl games. Johnson’s personality often comes off as too proud or stubborn, he often fails to make necessary adjustments (such as throwing the ball on occasion) and his teams are too prone to flatness and emotional mood swingsnot
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Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest, lets take a look at some hypothetical replacements for Johnson. Of course this list is pure speculation on my part, but here it is.

Ken Whisenhunt, Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals: Whisenhunt is a Georgia Tech Alumni and a recognizable name. If the Cardinals struggle and Whisenhunt begins to worry about his job security, then perhaps Tech can capitalize on the opportunity.

George Godsey, Tight Ends Coach New England Patriots: Godsey is also a Georgia Tech Almuni and former QB. He had great success at Tech, and is still beloved by fans for beating archrival Georgia 3 times. He also coached under former head coach George O’Leary at UCF. Godsey is not well known and lacks experience, but might be worth a look.

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ACC vs. The World (Week 4)

Wake Forest’s Tanner Price played well against Army in Week 4

Week 4: 9 games (6-3)

Continuing the trend from last week, the ACC posted a winning out-of-conference record, but failed to win in games against foes from the other major FBS conferences. Luckily, the league grabbed the nation’s attention this week with a great game between two quality top-10 teams, and produced a legitimate national title contender in Florida State. That game may have distracted casual viewers from the continuing parity elsewhere in the ACC.

vs. Big Ten (0-1): Syracuse continued to underachieve and fell to Minnesota on the road.

vs. Big 12 (0-2): Maryland played West Virginia tough, and lost by a respectable 31-21 margin.

Highlight: NC State is quietly making a comeback from their week 1 disappointment against Tennessee, and handily beat the Citadel this week, 52-14.

Lowlight: Virginia continued its slide and could not get going in their loss to TCU

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ACC vs. The World (Week 3)

Randy Edsall and the Terps Had a Rough Saturday

Week 3: 8 games (5-3)

It was another week with a winning record against non conference foes for the ACC, but the numbers do not tell the whole story. All-in-all it was a rough week for the ACC out of conference, but teams also lost all of their non-conference games against other major conferences. And although Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh is an ACC matchup in the eyes of this blog, the Hokies loosing to a woeful Pitt team certainly did not make the ACC look al that well.

vs. Big East (0-2): North Carolina played well, but took a tough loss against a good Louisville team

vs. Big Ten (0-1): Like UNC, Boston College did not look bad, though still lost to a quality Northwestern team.

Highlight: Clemson took care of business with Furman without allowing for any unwanted drama.

Lowlight: Maryland lost to UConn, and things continue to get worse for Randy Edsall.

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ACC vs. The World

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Georgia Tech backup QB Vad Lee hit WR Jared Green with a long touchdown pass as GT unveiled cool new uniforms again and racked up 721 yards on offense

It’s the ACC vs. The World, or at least the world of college football.  As one of the major FBS football conferences, it is important for the ACC to see how it stacks up against the competition. The public perception of conference strength influences everything from pride to money for TV deals and more. So let’s take a look to see how the ACC (including Pitt and Syracuse of course) has fared against other conferences so far this year.

Week 1: 10 games (7-3)

vs. Big 10 (0-1) Syracuse lost a close game to Northwestern 42-41, but QB Ryan Nassib showed that the Orange are dangerous on offense.

vs. SEC (1-1)

Highlight- Clemson beat a quality SEC foe in Auburn at a neutral site (The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.). QB Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington had the Clemson offense rolling.

Lowlight(s)- Pitt lost to Youngstown St. NC State faced a tough test in Tennessee, but did not show up on game night and live up to lofty preseason expectations.

Week 2: 12 games (8-4)

vs. Big East (2-1) NC State bounced back to grab a win over UConn, and Maryland got the win over Temple. But Pitt found themselves embarrassed by former/current conference-mate Cincinnati on Thursday night.

vs. Big 10 (1-0): Virginia was outplayed by Penn State for virtually the entire afternoon, yet found a way to score a big victory nonetheless.

vs. Big 12 (0-1): Miami looked horrible against Kansas State, as QB Collin Klein had a field day against the ‘Canes. However, Miami was saved from being the lowlight of the week.

vs. Pac-12 (0-2) Syracuse lost, but played a respectable game against the number two-ranked USC Trojans.

Highlight- UVA’s victory over Penn State in Charlottesville, Va. Cavaliers QB Michael Rocco connected with Jake McGee late in the 4th quarter to grab the lead for good.

Lowlight- Pitt…again

Breaking News: ACC and Orange Bowl Reach 12-Year Agreement

12-Year Agreement Looks Like Good News for the ACC

The Discover Orange Bowl will be played annually on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m. ET, and will feature the ACC champion. The agreement is set to begin in 2014, the same year as the new playoff system. If the ACC champion is selected to play in the 4 team playoff, then a replacement ACC team will compete instead.

The ACC champ has played in the Orange Bowl every year since 2006, so this may not seem like much of a story, but believe it, it is. The ACC joins the other major conferences with a tie-in with a major “BCS” bowl. The Orange Bowl has seen some lackluster matchups in recent years, but is still one of the premier bowl destinations. If you also consider that the Orange Bowl anticipates it will be one of the alternating playoff destinations, then this partnership looks even better for the ACC.

“The Discover Orange Bowl has a rich history of prestige, is located within the league’s footprint and is a great destination for our student-athletes, alumni and fans. In addition to our continued partnership, we are very pleased to be playing annually on New Year’s Day” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. Translation: tune in and see us in prime time, at the same time, every year, just like the big boy conferences.  Undoubtedly, more news and analysis will come on this partnership; but for now this looks like a nice move by the ACC.

Rising Star: Georgia Tech WR Jeff Greene

With Star Wideout Stephen Hill Off to the NFL, Can Jeff Greene Be Georgia Tech’s Next Standout Receiver?

Georgia Tech has managed to produce a nice string of NFL wide receivers in recent years; a list that includes current and future excellent pros such as Calvin Johnson, Demarius Thomas and Stephen Hill. All have been a similar breed of athlete — tall, lean, and exceptionally quick for their size.

After the latest Tech receiver, Hill, was drafted by the New York Jets this April, the stage is now set for the program’s next great pass-catcher: Jeff Greene. Greene, a rising sophomore from Peachtree City Ga., fits a similar build to his predecessors — 6’4″, 200 pounds, and all with a 40-time clocked at 4.6 seconds. No, he may not be as fast as Hill (who was freakishly fast at 4.36 seconds), but he certainly fits the mold of Georgia Tech’s big and fast WRs.  Greene’s competition to be QB Tevin Washington‘s number-one target will be redshirt senior Chris Jackson. Even with a senior (Jackson) in the race, head coach Paul Johnson has still admitted that he has high hopes for Greene to take the starting job. “Jeff in particular is a guy that I’m going to get on because he’s got ability … He needs to separate himself,” said Johnson during spring practices. Continue reading