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 look at Duke, Pittsburgh, and Miami in this article.
Best Major Sports Moments of last 5 years.
1. Duke wins men’s basketball National Title in 2015
Duke won the men’s basketball title over Wisconsin in 2015, nuff said. Mike Krzyzewski won his 5th national Title, as the ACC re-established itself as the country’s premier basketball in 2015 led by the Duke Blue Devils national championship.
2. Duke Football Finishes in the top 25 in 2013
Duke football finishing in the top 25 was an astonishing accomplishment for the much maligned football program. Duke proved if they could turn around their football team, then anyone could. Head Coached David Cutcliffe guided the Blue Devils to one of their best seasons ever.
3. #21 Duke 48 #24 Texas A&M 52 – December 31, 2013
You won’t see many losses end up on this list, but Duke going to toe to toe with a Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M showed the college football world that the Blue Devils could play with one of the better teams in the SEC. Duke didn’t win, but they proved plenty in this game.
1. James Conner Returns
James Conner returning to play football at Pittsburgh after beating cancer was one of the most inspirational stories of the 2016 football season. I really don’t know what else to add to this. It was just an incredible story.
2. Award Winning Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald was the most celebrated award winning defensive lineman of the 2013 season. Basically he won every major defensive award possible for a d-lineman. He took home the Lombardi Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, and Outland Trophy in a remarkable year.
3. Pittsburgh 42 Penn State 39 – September 10, 2016
This game made our list of top OOC wins for ACC team of the decade so far. This what said about the game.
At the time this Pittsburgh win over Penn State looked like a nice rivalry win, and not that much else. As the year progressed it became one of the best non-conference wins of the 2016 season. Penn State went on to win the Big 10 Championship and just miss the playoffs, but they couldn’t beat the Pittsburgh Panthers. Pitt RB James Conner had 117 yards on the ground.
1. Miami 31 #16 West Virginia 14 – December 28, 2016
When you don’t win a bowl game for 10 years, and you finally do – that’s a big deal. Miami showed flashes of the old U in this blowout win over West Virginia, and the Mark Richt era was off to a solid start.
2. Sweet 16 2016
Miami was part of the ACC’s record setting 6 Sweet 16 teams in 2015 by defeating Buffalo and Wichita State.
3. College World Series 2015
Virginia got the headlines for the winning national title in 2015, but this was the first of two straight College World Series appearances by Miami.