Is This The ACC?

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Is This The ACC?

When the Atlantic Coast Conference expanded to include Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame I was under the assumption that men's basketball would benefit the most at the expense of football.  However, the first year of the new conference has been the opposite.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse had good basketball seasons and both added strength to the league.  Pittsburgh was a ninth seed in the NCAA tournament while Syracuse was a number three seed.  But the conference was down in roundball this year.  Only six ACC teams made the NCAA tournament.  Virginia was a number one seed but the Cavs were the only ACC school to make it to the Sweet 16.  No ACC team made the Elite Eight.  Duke was a three seed but lost in the first round.  North Carolina was a six seed that went 1-1 in the tournament while its rival NC State was a 12th seed that won a play-in game only to lose in the next round.

Many years ago the ACC could have been considered the nation's premier basketball conference, but if you only get six teams in and none make it to the Elite Eight it can't be considered the best league.

On the other hand, who would have thought that football would be the bell cow for the league?  That's right.  Football is king in the ACC, at least for the 2013-14 academic year.  Florida State won the national championship.  Clemson won a BCS bowl game.  Those two programs meant the ACC was the only league to win two BCS games in 2013.  The ACC had 10 bowl teams and should get stronger if Louisville and Notre Dame continue on their current pace.

What got me started on this subject was a peek at the RPI in college baseball this season.  The ACC is usually among the nation's premier conferences in baseball but this season has been another disappointment.  Virginia is number one in the RPI and Florida State is currently third, but the conference lacks depth.  Going into yesterday's action Miami was 18th in the RPI.  Georgia Tech was 24th, Clemson was 43rd, Maryland was 47th, North Carolina was 57th, NC State was 59th, Duke was 74th, Wake Forest was 87th, Pittsburgh was 105th, Virginia Tech was 126th, Boston College was 156th and Notre Dame was 205th.

Clemson is sixth in the ACC's standings with two weeks to go and usually that is pretty good standing with the NCAA selection committee.  However this year is different.  The Tigers are 43rd in the RPI and the remaining schedule is weak.  High Point, Notre Dame, Furman and Boston College will not help the Tigers' cause.

In men's basketball Clemson finished sixth in the ACC which is usually good enough to make the NCAA tournament.  However, it was a down year in the league despite more teams and more basketball powers.

I was one of the loud voices against expanding with Pittsburgh and Syracuse because I wanted football schools instead of basketball powers.  As it turned out, year one proved to be a great one for football and a down one for the traditional powerful sports in the league.

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