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Jan
02
2013

A welcome change, the ACC shows up during bowl season.

On their way to going 1-5 this Bowl season as predicted by ESPN’s Mark Schlabach  or 2-4 predicted by ESPN’s Heather Dinich , the ACC did something they haven’t done in a long time during bowl season.

They showed up, they played some good defense , and surprised a lot of people in the process. The much maligned conference really needed this. The regular season didn’t go well. Going 0-4 against SEC the final weekend of the regular season only added to the criticism.

Fair or not, the ACC teams get judged not only by their own performances, but to a lesser extent also by the performance of their conference partners. If Florida State had beat Northern Illinois but the ACC lost the 5 other bowls games, as I said fair or not, that result gets further diminished.

That didn’t happen, and the ACC had their best bowl season since 2003-2004. Andy Bitter details the ACC’s recent bowl struggles and also comments on the surprising bowl results. It started with Virginia Tech’s gutty win over Co-Big East champ Rutgers. Bud Foster’s defense controlled Rutgers all game especially upfront defensively. Remember that term “upfront”.

Rutgers started the year 7-0 got ranked as high 15, and won at Arkansas. The Scarlet Knights were a solid if an unspectacular team, but before the final 3 ACC bowl games ended, the conference stood 1-2. Then the  ACC put together it’s best back to back to back bowl wins in recent memory.

Georgia Tech was playing a supremely talented but questionably coached by Lane Kiffin USC Trojan team that began the year ranked #1 in the country. 60 minutes later the Yellow Jackets had rather shockingly handled the Trojans upfront to the tune of a 21-7 win. After that it was Clemson’s turn…

The Tigers long considered a team full of potential, but rarely coming through against the biggest teams, were facing one of the SEC heavyweights in LSU. Again upfront, a common theme that I detailed in both Clemson and Georgia Tech wins already, an ACC squad held their hold and the Line of Scrimmage. Tajh Boyd was unbelievable at QB as the Tigers won 25-24.

That brings me to the final game with Florida State and NIU. Lee Corso actually picked against the Noles. Remind me to not pay much attention ESPN prognosticators in the future… That said there have been bigger upsets than NIU if they had won.

The Noles manhandled the Huskies “upfront”, and despite some uninspired play calling Florida State controlled this game from start to finish. For the Florida State program a BCS win is a BCS win, and after only 2 BCS wins the previous 15 years, the ACC will most defiantly take it.

In all 4 wins the ACC either dominated upfront against weaker lines or held their own against elite units. Defensively all 4 teams played strong games.

Does this mean the ACC has turned their football fortunes around? No of course not. One bowl season doesn’t change a decade of poor results, but you have to start somewhere. Clemson and Florida State may end the year ranked in the top 10. When was the last time the ACC had two teams end the year in the top 10? We’ll see if the ACC can build on this, but for a change the ACC can feel good about how the season ended.

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2 pings

  1. Louisville’s Sugar Bowl win unites ACC Fanbases. » All Sports Discussion says:

    […] « A welcome change, the ACC shows up during bowl season. […]

  2. Louisville’s Sugar Bowl win unites ACC Fanbases. | Sports Blog United says:

    […] future ACC member Syracuse opened some ACC eyes with its bowl over West Virginia. The ACC’s surprisingly successful bowl caught the attention of alot of ACC fans too. but it all appeared to culminate with Louisville’s route of SEC power […]

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