ACC fans were probably feeling pretty good the other day when I posted the ACC’s 10 best out of conference football wins since 2008.
There were wins over power programs like LSU, Georgia, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma among them. That’s sounds real good. Unfortunately on the other end of the spectrum are the ugly Out of Conference losses. These are the kind of losses that ACC teams must avoid in the future if they are to improve their national football perception. It isn’t just about just about wins, it’s about losses too.
Keep in mind these aren’t always losses to bad teams, but some of these also were national stage games where the ACC team… well simply didn’t show up.
Look away if you have a faint heart.
1. #13 Virginia Tech 16 James Madison 21 – September 11, 2010
On so many levels this was a humiliating loss for Virginia Tech and the ACC. There’s no question the Hokies were the conference’s best team in 2010. They beat all 9 of the ACC opponents they faced, 8 of them by double digits, but they couldn’t defeat a FCS team that lost 5 games in the Colonial Athletic Association. These same Hokies got blasted in the Orange Bowl 40-12 by Stanford in a game that just missed this list. If they were the ACC Champions in 2010, what did it say about the rest of the conference that year?
2. #14 Clemson 38 #22 West Virginia 70 – January 4, 2012
How does a loss to a top 25 team get ranked higher on this list than being beat by a FCS team? When the result becomes a national punchline for the next 8 months. Good grief 70 points? The Clemson Tigers were the 2011 ACC Champion, but there were embarrassed in the Orange Bowl by West Virginia. To the Tigers credit, they put the game behind them by knocking off, at the time fringe top 25 team Auburn in the opening game of 2011.
3. Virginia 14 William & Mary 26 – September 5, 2009
This is the game that set the wheels in motion for Al Groh to get fired at Virginia. William & Mary had 11 victories in 2009, so they were actually a decent team, but losing at home to an FCS program is just terrible. The 7 turnover nightmare of game was something the Cavaliers never recovered from as they went 3-9 in 2009.
4. Duke 21 Richmond 23 – September 3, 2011
Duke has long been considered the ACC’s worst program. David Cutcliffe has brought a certain level of respectability back to the Blue Devils in the last few years. There was even a bowl game last year, but when they lose most people don’t really notice. Well except when you lose twice to the same FCS opponent. This loss to Richmond was Duke’s 2nd in a row to the Spiders following a defeat in 2009. Come on Dukies…
5. Boston College 31 Army 34 – October 6, 2012
How far had the Boston College program fallen by 2012? So far they lost to an Army team than went 2-10, with a 20 point loss to something called Stony Brook. It’s doesn’t take much to figure out why Steve Addazio replaced Frank Spaziani as head coach at the end of the year.
6. Boston College 3 Central Florida 30 – October 10, 2011
Boston with their 2nd entry on this infamous list. Don’t worry Eagle fans you’ll have company in a minute with Maryland. Boston College went on the road and lost by nearly 4 touchdowns to Central Florida. This was a team that went 5-7 (3-5) in Conference USA. That’s Conference USA, not to be mistaken with the SEC.
7. Georgia Tech 28 Middle Tennessee 49 – September 29, 2012
This game was particularly embarrassing, because just the year before Georgia Tech won at Middle Tennessee 49-21. In the return game, the Yellow Jackets looked disinterested and lethargic in getting routed on their home field. It was one of the lowest points of Paul Johnson’s tenure at Georgia Tech.
8. Maryland 14 Middle Tennessee 24 – September 6, 2008
You know I think the Maryland/Louisville swap is going to work out fine. The ACC gets a team that beat Florida in the 2012 Sugar Bowl while a team with 2 of the conference’s 10 worst losses in the last 5 years departs. This game was the first of two losses in a row to Middle Tennessee for Maryland. This one got the edge because this was an 8-5 Maryland squad that lost to a 5-7 team from the Sun Belt.
9. Maryland 7 Temple 38 – September 24, 2011
…and here’s game number two on the list for the Terrapins.
Maryland lost at home to Temple by 31 points…. I repeat Maryland lost at home to Temple by 31 points. To be fair Temple did go 9-4 with a bowl win and the Terrapins were awful, but I remember when this game was played. You couldn’t defend the result. It’s didn’t help Maryland or the ACC, that the Terps barely competed against a program that got kicked out of the Big East just a few years before.
10. #18 Florida State 7 South Florida 17 – September 26, 2009
When you are supposed to be one of the ACC’s flagship football schools, you don’t get as much slack as other teams. Following an impressive win at top 10 BYU, the Seminoles came back to Tallahassee and got dominated by a Bulls team that lost 5 of their last 8 games and had a losing record in the Big East. FSU lost to all 3 teams they played from the state of Florida in 2009.