Recently we had an article discussing how the ACC was in the midst of a golden age for it’s major sports. That piece got me thinking in those major sports – football, baseball, basketball (men’s and women’s) what were the 3 biggest moments for each ACC school the last 5 years? We’re going to to take three ACC Schools at time, as we go through all 14 including Notre Dame.
I’m going to stay away from in-conference moments, because I think it’s what you do OOC that enhances your teams and conference national perception. We’ll start things off with Georgia Tech, Virginia and North Carolina.
Best Major Sports Moments of last 5 years.
1. Georgia Tech wins Orange Bowl -December 31, 2014
The biggest non-Clemson non-Florida State football moment came from Georgia Tech in 2014 when they beat a top 10 ranked Mississippi State team in the Orange Bowl. The ACC has won 5 straight Orange Bowls, but that doesn’t happen without Georgia Tech winning the 3rd game in the streak. The Yellow Jackets finished the year in the top 10.
2. #16 Georgia Tech 30 #9 Georgia 24 – November 29, 2014
Before the ACC overtook the SEC as the nation’s best football in 2016 (Ok at least for 1 year), the conference was in a constant battle for football respect. Georgia Tech went to Athens, Georgia and knocked off a top 10 ranked Georgia team in a stunning victory. It’s was the shining star in a 4-0 ACC/SEC rivalry weekend that opened eyes around the country.
3. Georgia Tech 21 USC 7 – December 31, 2012
Why does a a Sun Bowl win over a 7-5 USC Team standout so much? It was a part of 4-2 Bowl season, with results that started to the turn the tide of ACC Football. That’s when the media started taking notice that ACC football was on the upswing. USC was the pre-season #1 ranked team and were the heavy favorites despite their ranking. The Jackets ended up with a double digit victory.
1. Virginia wins baseball National Title in 2015
Virginia 2015 baseball national title hasn’t got nearly the notoriety it deserves. Regarded as an elite baseball conference, the ACC hadn’t won a national title since the 1955 Wake Forest team. The conference coaches and teams year after year dealt with questions about this decades long run of futility. Virginia was the baseball program that finally broke through.
2. Elite 8 2016
The ACC had a historically great NCAA tournament with 6 Sweet 16 teams, and 4 Elite 8 team. It’s was the greatest NCAA tournament a conference has ever had. Virginia played a huge role in that by reaching the Elite 8.
3. Sweet 16 2014
If not for Virginia in 2014, the once great basketball conference of the ACC would not have had a team reach the Sweet 16. It’s seems like eternity ago when this almost happened as the ACC spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons setting NCAA tournament records, and had a team winning titles in 2015 and 2017.
1. North Carolina wins men’s basketball National Title in 2017
It doesn’t get better or bigger than winning a national title. North Carolina a year after losing in the National Title game to Villanova, came back 1 year later to beat Gonzaga for the Men’s basketball championship.
2. North Carolina reaches men’s basketball National Title Game in 2016
The historically great ACC NCAA tournament 2016 was led by the North Carolina Tar Heels who made it all to the national title game. The ACC won 19 games in the 2016 Tournament.
3. North Carolina wins 2016 Maui Invitational
The best basketball I saw any team play in 2016 was North Carolina at Maui Invitation. They destroyed a field with several future NCAA teams. The Tar Heels 3 tournament wins were by an average of a whopping 30 points.