ACC Football Chat: Discussing Non-Conference Rivals and the Evolving Recruiting Landscape

Florida and Miami Have No Intentions on Renewing Their Rivalry Past 2013

Florida and Miami Have No Intentions on Renewing Their Gridiron Rivalry Past 2013

Earlier in the week, our own Hokie Mark started up a conversation surrounding three- and four-way rivalries over on SB Nation’s Every Day Should Be Saturday. The basics: there are several three-way rivalries being played out this season, and some of them are going away for a long time after that. Some due to disinterest, others due to scheduling. But what Mark was getting at was the unique setup for three- and four-way rivalries, and which are some of the most- and least-heralded in the country.

Of course, this turned into a jumping-off point for an email conversation between he and I, which I’ve compiled below for everyone. While the main topic focused on non-conference rivals, we also branched out into what’s become an increasingly year-round discussion for everyone: recruiting. Check it out:

Mark: Hello again, John! Only 100 days until the football season begins — a very special one for Syracuse and Pittsburgh, to be sure. For the Orange, the season essentially begins and ends with old rivals: Penn State and Boston College. How do you feel about renewing those rivalries, and are there other rivalries for ‘Cuse that you’d like to see reawakened?

John: I’m about as excited as you can get, considering we’re still about 100 days out. Rekindling the rivalry with Boston College has been one of my favorite aspects of the ACC move, since it easily addresses our crisis of football identity (though much of the media doesn’t think so). Penn State, while arguably our oldest and most storied rival, hasn’t filled that role in over 20 years. It’s nice to play them when we can, but I think most fans have kind of moved on from the Nittany Lions — especially those of us who aren’t old enough to remember when SU and PSU were rivals to begin with.

As far as other rivalries worth rekindling, only two come to mind, and one’s not necessarily a “rivalry” at all. West Virginia‘s always been among our most-hated opponents, and with Syracuse beating the Mountaineers the last three times out (including last December’s Pinstripe Bowl), it’s only created a more hostile tension between the two fan bases. I was at the game in December, and ‘Neers fans were not what you would call “friendly” toward the Orange contingent, by any means. The other aforementioned opponent was Virginia Tech. While never traditionally considered one of Syracuse’s rivals, the Hokies and SU played plenty of heated games toward the latter years of the original Big East football conference that are worth rehashing. Of course, the ACC’s divisional setup won’t do much to help us play Tech more often, so that one’s also kind of off the table.

What about you, from a VaTech perspective? Any rivalries you’d like to start back up — feasible or not? Have any ill will left toward Syracuse from the Big East days?

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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #70-61

Boston College Pays a Visit to Los Angeles to Face the Trojans This September

Boston College Pays a Visit to Los Angeles to Face the Trojans This September

The 2013 ACC football schedule has officially been released, meaning we finally have some clarity as to whom the conference’s 14 teams will face-off with from week-to-week next season. So with that in mind, we thought it would be an entertaining undertaking to rank all 112 ACC football games for 2013 because, well… it’s the offseason.

Today, we take a quick glance at numbers 70 through 61; the majority of which are in-conference games. As for the non-conference matchups, we certainly see some high-profile contests, though at the same time, it’s tough to gauge just how competitive any of them will actually be. Regardless, we roll on…

#70: NC State Wolfpack at Florida State Seminoles (Saturday, October 26)

#69: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Miami Hurricanes (Saturday, October 26)

#68: Syracuse Orange at Florida State Seminoles (Saturday, November 16)

#67: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Clemson Tigers (Saturday, September 28)

#66: Pittsburgh Panthers at Navy Midshipmen (Saturday, October 26)

#65: Syracuse Orange at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Saturday, October 19)

#64: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Boston College Eagles (Friday, September 6)

#63: East Carolina Pirates at NC State Wolfpack (Saturday, November 23)

#62: Navy Midshipmen at Duke Blue Devils (Saturday, October 12)

#61: Boston College Eagles at USC Trojans (Saturday, September 14)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • The 10 games appear on nine different dates
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent leagues: Independent (2), C-USA (1), Pac-12 (1)
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent home states: Maryland (2), California (1), North Carolina (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: Two service academy, one public, one private

Previously: #112-101, #100-91, #90-81, #71-80

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Conference Realignment: ACC Adds Louisville to Replace Maryland

It’s Official: Louisville Is Headed to the ACC

The big news this morning is the ACC‘s unanimous vote to add Louisville as its 15th member, replacing Maryland, which announced its departure a week ago. While Louisville was certainly added for its football prowess, the school also adds an impressive basketball pedigree, along with a well-rounded and growing athletic program in a new geographic market for the ACC. Obviously, details still have to be worked out in terms of their departure from the Big East, however, one would expect the Cardinals’ arrival to coincide with the Terrapins’ exit.

Though the ACC was in contact with schools such as Connecticut, Cincinnati and Navy — some of which may have been a better traditional “fit” — in the end, they made the most strategic move available. Louisville was an in-demand property, drawing interest from the Big 12 as well. The rest, while desirable programs, were not going anywhere and could be available down the road if necessary. And again, Louisville had the best combination of basketball, football, new markets and growth potential. The school has made significant investments in academics and athletics in recent years, and now, that’s really paid off with an invite to the ACC.

So now what? Well, with luck, this will be the final move for the ACC, barring defections of course. Between adding the strongest program available in Louisville, and the lawsuit filed yesterday to pursue the full exit fee from Maryland, the conference appears to be on much more stable footing (knock on wood). The fact that all 11 current voting members, plus the three additions all backed the lawsuit is a positive sign going forward. No school would get behind enforcing a full $52.5 million-payout if they themselves intended to leave (conceivably, at least). And after the statements from charter members Virginia and North Carolina denouncing any talk of their departures, and the big win for the “football” schools in grabbing Louisville over UConn, things really do seem to be looking up.

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Conference Realignment: Navy Joins UConn and Louisville at the Top of ACC’s Expansion List

The ACC Could Look to Add Navy, as a Bargaining Chip for Notre Dame’s Full Football Membership

With ACC expansion movement seemingly at a standstill between the “football schools” and the “basketball/academic schools,” it doesn’t look like the league is set to add UConn or Louisville any time soon. So of course, a new name — this time from the Big East‘s future ranks — has entered the fray: Navy (source: @ACCSports).

Currently slated to start playing football in the Big East for 2015, the U.S. Naval Academy delivers at least a portion of the Baltimore/Maryland market the ACC loses with Maryland‘s defection to the Big Ten in 2014. But most importantly, it adds yet another reason for Notre Dame to come on-board for all sports. The Irish and Midshipmen already play one another every year in football, and it’s a major priority for both schools to keep it going. If Navy joined the ACC, that would then give Notre Dame six games against league competition every year (if they weren’t simply worked into the rotation). The ACC only plays eight conference games. At that point, what’s really stopping the Fighting Irish from adding two more contests and just joining full-time? It’s understood that they value their independence, but do six in-conference games really fit that designation? While the league is happy with their Notre Dame partnership as-is (and the school is too, especially given their success this year), it can’t hurt to nudge them a little closer to a full membership, can it?

Additionally, what would happen to Navy? If ND finally comes on as a full member of the ACC, then no big deal to have Navy just play football, while the league adds another all-sports member (UConn or Louisville to fill the 16th spot). But if Notre Dame remains independent, things start to get unwieldy (and rather Big East-like). You’d have Notre Dame playing Olympic sports and a partial football schedule, while Navy would only play football, without Olympic sports (beyond lacrosse, they wouldn’t stand much of a chance in the ACC). Those other sports could likely remain in the Patriot League, but what if they push for full membership?

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College Football’s Most Overrated and Underrated Teams of the Past Decade

Unfortunately for the ACC, Members Such as Florida State and Miami Rank Among College Football’s Most Overrated

Over on SB Nation, Bill Connelly brought up an interesting point the other day: Has Florida State underachieved this year? It’s a fair question when looking at the overall weakness of the ACC, coupled with the talent FSU possesses on both sides of the ball and their continual refusal to dominate weaker in-conference opponents. The bigger issue here, however, is in the question itself. How do we define “underachievement” in college football? The best measure would likely be the polls, despite obvious flaws. How does a team annually stack up against its expectations that are set by preseason polling? And better, if we want to get a significant sample size, how does a team stack up to expectations over the span of a decade (2003-2012)?

We decided to take on that question, by digging through the last 10 years of the ESPN/USA Today Coach’s Poll. For each season, we took a look at every team’s preseason and postseason rankings (except for 2012, where the most recent rankings are used), and measure the distance between expectation and reality. To get even more data, we also included teams that “also received votes” and listed them in order, as if the polls continued past 25. If a team appeared in the preseason poll (let’s say there were 50 teams altogether), and not the postseason poll, that team’s postseason rank would be 51 — one past the total number of teams. This is repeated for each additional team in that situation so we can get the differentials, even for teams that fail to be included in both polls. Lastly, we averaged the differentials for each team based on however many years they appeared in the polls, and that gets you a picture of just how “overrated” or underrated these teams may be. In general, if it’s within five full spots or so on the poll, a team can be considered “accurately” ranked.

We’ll start with the “underrated” teams, before the yelling starts later on for the “overrated” ones:

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ACC Football Chat: Conference Realignment Rumors — Florida State, Clemson, Big 12, etc.

Is There Any Validity to the Big 12-ACC Expansion Rumors? And Who Do We Think the ACC Should Target Next?

In our weekly chats, Mike and I discuss different topics pertaining to ACC football and then post the conversation up here. Disagree with us? By all means, share your thoughts below. Happy to continue to the debate.

This week’s topic: Everyone’s favorite — conference realignment!

John: So conference realignment — people are starting to mutter about Florida State and Clemson potentially leaving the ACC for the Big 12. I call bull. Your thoughts?

Mike: I agree. No matter what anyone says, conferences are still based heavily on geography. That’s why I’ve always said that Notre Dame belongs in the Big Ten. The SEC for Clemson and FSU could make sense.

J: Well speaking of geography, do schools really care about it anymore? I mean, Syracuse & Boston College are still a bit out of place in the ACC. And Boise State‘s in the Big East.

M: Same with West Virginia going to the Big 12.

J: Agreed. So are we now agreeing that money’s most important? And if so, how much of it would it take for FSU and Clemson to leave sure shots at a BCS game and regional rivalries for a tougher road and slightly more money in the Big 12?

M: I don’t know. Longer distances between games means more jet lag and tougher matches, which could result in more losses, etc. And less time to study (hahaha). The money would have to be pretty good.

J: Yeah. And I’m unsure if the amount of money a league focused on that states of Texas and Oklahoma would get by adding the state of Florida and South Carolina’s second-most popular teams would definitely make the TV deal THAT much larger than what the ACC will have with Boston, New York, Washington, Charlotte, Raleigh, Pittsburgh and Atlanta all under its umbrella. Continue reading

ACC Expansion Rumor: Notre Dame Plotting ACC Move With Scheduling?

Could Schedule Constraints Just Move Notre Dame Right Into the ACC Without a Fuss?

As we’ve discussed countless times before, the ACC wants Notre Dame to join up (bringing either Rutgers or Connecticut with them). But, what hasn’t been talked of as much is Notre Dame’s own desire to join the league, independent of the standing invite. Sure, the Irish have repeatedly stated they “value their independence in football,” but realistically, how many years do we have until they’re forced to join a conference? Once Pittsburgh and Syracuse join the ACC, the league will move to a nine-game league schedule. All five of the other “BCS conferences” have either discussed making similar moves, or have already done so. Given that, with just three slots available for the types of schools ND prefers scheduling, how are they supposed to fill out that schedule? And even more importantly (for them), how can they maintain their respective AQ status as an independent (and lucrative TV deal) when half their slate consists of lower-rung FBS squads by 2015? Here’s where a full-time membership in a conference comes in, and believe it or not, the Irish may already be well on their way.

Take a look at Notre Dame’s schedules from 2008 to 2012, and how many ACC teams have been included: Continue reading