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Dec
16
2015

To change football perception, ACC must do more than win big OOC games.

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The ACC is 4-1 in Big 6 Bowl games since 2012, with 3 straight Orange Bowls wins, by FSU, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. Florida State won the national title in 2013, and made the playoffs in 2014. Clemson has made the playoffs this year. In 2014 the ACC finished the year with 4 ranked teams. This year they have 3 teams ranked in the top 10 going into bowl season. Since the end of the 2012 season, the ACC has 12  wins over non-conference top 15 opponents.

Top 15 Non-Conference Wins since Bowl Season 2012 

#14 Clemson 25 #8 LSU 24

 Top 15 Non-Conference Wins 2013 

#8 Clemson 38 #5 Georgia 35

Miami 21 #12 Florida 16

#12 Clemson 40 #7 Ohio State 35

#1 Florida State 34 #2 Auburn 31

Top 15 Non-Conference Wins 2014

#16 Georgia Tech 30 #9 Georgia 24

Boston College 37 #9 USC 31

Virginia Tech 35 #5 Ohio State 21

Florida State #1 31 #5 Notre Dame 27

#12 Georgia Tech 49 #7 Mississippi State 34

Top 15 Non-Conference Wins 2015

#12 Clemson 24 #6 Notre Dame 22

#13 Florida State 27 #12 Florida 2

 So why can’t the ACC change it’s football perception? This is from Stewart Mandel of FoxSports. 

I don’t think you’re skeptical of undefeated teams; I think you’re skeptical of undefeated ACC teams. Despite the conference’s recent success — particularly against its SEC rivals — it clearly remains fifth out of five in terms of national respect.

Isn’t winning big OOC games, the most important criteria to improving football perception? Well yes, it should be. The ACC has done that, and they have to continue to do that, but what else needs to happen?

Remember the ACC during one stretch lost 13 out of 15 BCS games, and didn’t have a national title contender for over a decade. That’s a lot of bad football, fair or not, to over come. It shouldn’t, but nationally that will take years change. Winning big OOC games is a continued must.

The game ending officiating controversies have to stop. The end of the Miami/Duke game was an officiating debacle that got the ACC skewered across the country, but it didn’t stop there. The end of the Clemson/UNC  game overshadowed what should have been a celebration of the ACC’s third straight season with a national title contender. Only the SEC can match that.

The ACC must one way or the other clean up these controversies. It is a bad look for the conference to get ridiculed for officiating controversies. I suggested recently the ACC should take the lead nationally for what is an epidemic of bad officiating across the country.

The lack of a conference network is a black eye. It just is. When 3 of the 5 Power Five conferences have one and you don’t, it looks like you are lacking something. It just seems to matter more with football, than basketball. This isn’t an ACC Network article though, it’s a perception one.

Someone needs to sustain success besides Clemson and Florida State. 2 years ago Duke won 10 games, and finished in the top 25. We’re still waiting for the Blue Devils first signature non-conference win. They are better, but is Duke better than 2013? Georgia Tech won 11 games last year and an Orange Bowl, this year they went 3-9. UNC went 11-2 this year, and may finish in the top 10. We will know next year if they can sustain their success. I think this is huge actually. Even though the ACC has been 3-4-5 teams deep the last few years, the teams outside of Clemson and FSU keeps changing. It’s time for another team or two to put together a series of top 25 finishes.

Get more compelling brand name coaches. The ACC gets’s an A here for their off-season hires of Justin Fuente, Bronco Mendenhall, Dino Babers, and Mark Richt. All 4 have have brought a renewed sense of enthusiasm to their teams, and were universally hailed as good hires.

Winning big OOC games is clearly #1 when trying to change football perception, but it’s not the only thing.

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