Category Archives: ACC Football

The road to the CFP

… is paved with a regular season schedule so weak Ohio State can mock it.

Granted, they’ll likely pick up either Miami or North Carolina in the ACCCG, but still, that leaves a lot to be desired.  (Although it’s not Clemson’s fault the ACC’s depth blows this season.)

46 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake

The haves, have-nots and playoff expansion

This piece about the new ACC commissioner is from the end of March, but there are a few telling points made in it that I believe reinforce what we know about the sport we love.

Start with this quote:

And with men’s college basketball powerhouses Duke and North Carolina being close to the ACC’s base in North Carolina, some coaches and administrators have long suggested it skewed the league’s priorities away from football, which provides the overwhelming bulk of revenue.

“Everyone’s thought for a long time that our league trended toward the bouncy ball rather than the pointy one,” one coach said, “but college basketball is not what it was as a franchise 10 years ago. Does that hurt us? Has our league ever really looked at pushing football as the future?”

Phillips doesn’t see it as a zero-sum decision but suggested the ACC must prioritize its biggest revenue stream across all schools — football.

“We can have it all,” Phillips told ESPN. “We’ve had our moments in the ACC, but we all want to see more sustained excellence because those two sports are important to the commitment we have as a league.”

Okay, we can have it all is a laughable concept, but it’s also dangerously ironic.  Let’s face it, the ACC was a basketball conference for years.  Not that there was anything wrong with that.  But as the NCAA tournament expanded, the value of the basketball regular season eroded.  That’s certainly reflected in regular season revenue, which is largely driven by television these days.  I’m not sure if it’s the case now, but just a few years ago, the only program in the conference that received more money from basketball than football was Louisville.  That’s why ACC football coaches are getting traction now with the same suggestion that would have been laughed out of the room 25 years ago.

The irony I refer to is that college football is poised to repeat the same mistake — and why wouldn’t it, since it’s run by the same folks who brought you a devalued men’s basketball regular season?

Speaking of having it all, this is precious.

Another ACC athletic director offered similar thoughts on spending. Sure, the SEC has more money coming in, he said, but several SEC schools are spending that revenue before the checks have cleared. A smarter approach to spending — investing in assets with a financial return over gaudy new facilities, avoiding massive buyouts after bad coaching hires — can help offset some of the gap between the ACC and the SEC, he said.

Good luck sticking to that, fellas.

Nearly all of the athletic directors and coaches we spoke to suggested the massive gaps in revenue present extensive challenges for their schools, affecting the ability to retain assistant coaches, hire support staff and placate fans and boosters when the SEC and Big Ten have far deeper pockets.

“I’m under no illusion that we’re going to close the gap and catch up with the SEC or Big Ten,” another ACC AD told ESPN. “I’m optimistic that we can maintain the gap at the same level of increase that the SEC just got and what the Big Ten will get in their next go-round. If we cannot let the gap get bigger and can cut into the gap in some other ways, that will be success to me.”

But there is not yet a consensus among the league’s athletic directors on the right strategy.

If it were me, and I was forced to think outside the box, I’d embrace player compensation as a means to level the playing field.  I’ve got the feeling there are plenty of players who’d prefer a check over a shiny new waterfall.  But maybe that’s just me.

In any event, this appears to be the bottom line:

“If we don’t get our TV contract in the ballpark of [the SEC and Big Ten], there will be no level playing field in the Power 5,” said one ACC coach, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “There will not be a Power 5 anymore, in my opinion.”

If that’s how they feel, there’s an argument to be made that playoff expansion helps that concern.  The more money that shifts to a bigger postseason, the more it gets evenly spread among the P5.  Plus, a shift away from regular season relevance eventually means less regular season money for conferences like the Big Ten and SEC.  Think of it as a form of college football inflation.

Ten years from now, I suspect this is going to be a very different world than the one we’re watching now.  Different doesn’t mean better, in case you’re wondering.

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Filed under ACC Football

Cruisin’

Tell me, what does it say that Alabama, with the stronger SP+ rating, has less than half the chance Clemson does of going through the regular season undefeated?

20 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Alabama, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, SEC Football

Independence Day

This is a development that may be overtaken by future events, but it’s worth noting in the meantime, anyway.

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Monday the elimination of the league’s intraconference transfer rule.

The decision was made by the league’s Board of Directors and was done so unanimously.

The ACC’s intraconference transfer rule was created by the membership in 1996 (excerpt of ACC Bylaws included below).

“The time has come for all student-athletes to have the opportunity to transfer and be permitted to compete immediately,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “This decision is in the best interest of our student-athletes as it allows greater flexibility during their collegiate career.”

Phillips is the former AD at Northwestern.  In that role, he opposed the unionization move that players on the football team spearheaded.  All that makes this quote ($$) all the more interesting.

“The freedom of movement is something that we all appreciate,” Phillips said Monday afternoon. “In your job that each of you have, if you want to move forward with a place who you’re working with, you can. At the higher education level, professors can move from school to school, teachers, instructors, students can move, coaches, ADs, commissioners can move, administrators can move. And a majority of programs can except for these five (football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, men’s ice hockey).

“It’s just time…”

It’s not that he’s saying anything particularly radical there.  It’s just that we’re so used to seeing a complete lack of common sense coming from college athletics administrators that it seems radical.  Who knows, maybe it’ll start a movement.

2 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

“… accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made…”

I don’t know if you heard the news, but Maryland finally settled with the McNair family over the death of their son.

By “finally”, I mean two and a half years later.  Or almost that long since the school’s president acknowledged fault.

And while I understand the ass covering and due diligence that accompanies such a high-profile settlement takes time, I can’t help but shake my head over the comparative dollar signs involved.  McNair’s family received $3.5 million.  His head coach?

Durkin’s contract with the university runs through the end of 2021. Maryland owed Durkin 65 percent of his remaining contract, with half of the buyout paid within 60 days of his firing. According to the Baltimore Sun’s public salary database, the university paid Durkin $4,793,000 in 2018, which also includes earnings that year before his firing, and $860,000 in 2019. After a brief hiatus from on-field coaching, Durkin is the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Mississippi.

Thank goodness lives weren’t ruined because of this tragedy.  At least lives other than McNair’s.

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Filed under ACC Football, It's Just Bidness, See You In Court

TFW you know this year’s draft class is absolutely loaded

Hopefully, this is a message not lost on JT Daniels.

12 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

We’re both part of the same hypocrisy, senator.

Greg Sankey is shocked, shocked to learn that conference commissioners are manipulating schedules to gain favor with the selection committee.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey made a strong College Football Playoff case for his conference on Wednesday, in part by citing that his conference plans to play all if its scheduled regular-season games. This after the ACC this week canceled games for its two best teams in order to make it easier for them to advance to the league title game, and by extension, earn playoff bids.

The ACC’s move Tuesday raised eyebrows around the sport when the conference eliminated Dec. 12 games for its CFP contenders, No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson. The ACC said it made the move to “preserve the integrity” of the league’s championship on Dec. 19.

Sankey had another view.

“I was surprised to see the announcement [Tuesday],” the SEC commissioner told CBS Sports. “It begs one question: If their two most highly ranked teams were, for instance, [ranked] five and six in the CFP Rankings, would this decision have been made?”

Says the man who supports his members scheduling November cupcake games in the good times.

Wait ’til he finds out what the Big Ten’s gonna do to preserve Ohio State’s path to the CFP.

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Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, SEC Football

Down, down, down

Holy crap.  I knew FSU had fallen on hard times, but I didn’t realize how hard.

Sheesh.

9 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Stats Geek!

“Come on, dog. It’s a game.”

Syracuse pulled a Reggie Ball in the waning moments of its game against NC State.

And, yes, to make things even more perfect, that’s former Tech announcer Wes Durham on the call.  He must have had some serious flashbacks watching that go down.

9 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Tech Football

COVID strikes again.

And it isn’t some lowly mid-major backing out, either.

Week 15 just got a little more crowded, methinks.

12 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, The Body Is A Temple