Dec 9

Wrong, Just Wrong. The ACC Screws Up Again.

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Wrong, Just wrong. The ACC screws up again.

This league may in fact be a basketball league! Look how UNC blew the doors off of Michigan State in the 2009 Final Four back in April. Now, seven months later, the conference has once again played its way through a totally painful college football season. The league just finds a way to look goofy on the grid-iron, and the latest fiasco isn't even on the field. Not giving a flyng rat's you know what about what it would do to its conference brethren, Bobby Bowden beat the hell out of his conference opponents one last time - this time in his last and final bowl scenario.

When Bowden announced his retirement last week, I was all respectful of the situation. I watched all the TV segments, I read all of the internet tributes (even wrote one myself), I listened to all of the discussion about him on the sports talk-shows, and I was saddened to see FSU fall so far in ten years (1999 national champions). But after I have given this Gator Bowl situation concerning his Seminoles more thought, I don't fell so dadgum bad that he is leaving.

Upon announcing his retirement, Bowden requested publicly that the Gator Bowl take his FSU team as their choice from the ACC. No big deal, I thought, not thinking initially about the trickle-down effect this would have on the conference. Now, after the bowl dust has settled and I take a look at the ACC bowl matchups, it makes me sick. Bowden's 'Noles finished 4-4 in the ACC, resulting in them being anywhere from the ACC's fifth choice to the league's seventh choice. But yet, with the help of some good ole boyin' and some public pressure by way of using the media, Bowden finagled his team into the Gator Bowl - the ACC's number three bowl.

At first news of this, I thought it was kinda cool that he would go out in style in his home state and all of that. And the fact is, it will in fact be a good game. It is all but sold out already, and it pits Bowden against the team he got his start with: West Virginia. But it is still just wrong that Bowden can make a decision in his favor that has an effect on five other schools in the league.

Obviously, the team getting the worst end of it is Clemson. The Tigers went from minutes away from being in the Orange Bowl, to playing in the freakin' Music City Bowl. What a reward for a division title.

Virginia Tech got away ok with the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, but that is their third trip to Atlanta this year (two losses so far). I'm sure their fans would rather go to Atlanta for a third time this year instead of going to Florida. At least they play a decent opponent in Tennessee.

North Carolina also had a better season than FSU. But instead of a Gator upgrade for them and a rematch with West Virginia from last year's bowl (Meinike Car Care), they go back to the same bowl as last year, only to get Pittsburgh.

Boston College had a better year than FSU, but instead of getting the Gator, they got shipped out to the Emerald Bowl. I am sure they will take all of about 500 fans with them, looking great for the league on TV. Heck, they probably wouldn't take much more to Jacksoville, but you get my point.

And finally, Miami. Yes, Bowden even managed to screw his hated in-state rival of all of these years. Sure the Champs Sports Bowl is ok, and Wisconsin is an ok opponent. And yes, they get to stay close to home. But Miami deserevd a Gator Bowl trip to play against their old Big East foe, WVU. That would have been a great game, too.

So anyway, this gets under my skin if you haven't noticed. It is extremely selfish, and is a slap in the face to all of the many people that he has competed with and known for a long time. I will always respect Bowden for his coaching abilities and the amazingly dominant teams he assembled while at FSU. But this was a bush-league way to go out, I will tell you that much.

The ACC.

As for the ACC, I have all of the hope in the world for its future, but at the same time, it is past time to tighten up. For staters, this needs to be a big bowl year. The league cannot use another 3-4 bowl season right now. It needs to go 5-2 or so. VT absolutely MUST beat Tennessee. That is a game the ACC should win where the circumstances have been reversed times before.

Clemson needs to win its bowl. The Tigers have lost to Auburn, Nebraska and Kentucky as of late, and enough is enough. Playing a mid-level SEC team is kind of a lose-lose situation for the ACC's second place team, but Clemson must win this game, anyway.

And UNC really needs to win, as well. The Big East loves to see the ACC disappoint after the two went at each other over Miami, VT and BC four years ago. Last year, the Heels and Mountaineers played one for the ages, but the ACC fell close to the Big East. This year, that needs to change.

Lastly, FSU needs to win their game. They have created a league firestorm over Bowden's decision, so now in this game that is sure to get national attention like mad, they better step up and win one for their retiring legend. West Virginia is a good team, and a win would go a long way after FSU took four ACC losses.

So yeah, the ACC is a mess. But that is fine. I love this league, I grew up in this league, and I like watching it get better. I often get disappointed when it falls in big games. But overlooked often are the good things the conference does.

The ACC overlaps with the best conference in college football in the SEC. Georgia and South Carolina are the two closest schools to where I am, outside of Clemson, which is 30 minutes away. So I hear about as much ACC-SEC back and forth as can be found outside of Columbia, SC. And also, no offense to certain SEC fans, but we are all tired of hearing it.

I keep up with the college football on-line world about as closely as anyone. And I can honestly tell you that no other conference's fans even hold a candle to certain SEC fans when it comes to being arrogant and running off at the mouth about how great they are. Here is what I say: Yeah, fine, you are very, very good at college football as a league. Now quit telling everybody.

The ACC is fine. Nationally, it is just as strong as the rest of the conference's not called the SEC (and not as far behind them as everyone wants to think). I enjoy this league and I cannot wait for the 2010 season. Until then, let's just see if we can bring home another basketball national title. Yeah, I said "we" - does that sound familiar to anyone?

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