Jan 6

ACC 2009 Season Recap

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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This is Amanda. As a Florida State University student, fan and Miss Fans25 representative for her 'Noles, Amanda has probably had an up and down season. Her favorite team had a couple of big wins. But they also had some times on the field that they would rather soon forget...The same can be said for the entire ACC. There were some shining moments for sure, but in the end, the league is still waiting on a breakthrough type season. Here is your ACC 2009 season recap. Other leagues to follow in the coming days...

A bad start to the season came quickly. South Carolina defeated NC State, 7-3, in one of the uglier games I have seen in quite some time. Two days later, Alabama beat Virginia Tech, 34-24, in the Georgia Dome. To make matters worse, Wake Forest lost to what turned out to be a cruddy Baylor team, 24-21, and Cal pummeled Maryland, 52-13. The VT loss was a fun and exciting game to watch, but was a loss for the league regardless. But despite this horrific first weekend, there were better days ahead...

The league play got started off with a bang as Miami and Florida State played a classic in Tallahassee in week one. The game was back and forth all night until Miami found a way late to steal the win, 38-34. It was the kind of game that made us all think that both of these teams would be division favorites. These two teams were loaded with athletes, and the game reminded all of how quick they could be "back." But neither the Seminoles nor Hurricanes won their respective divisions, and "back" will have to wait and try again in 2010. Still, a game with this much intensity and big plays was good for the ACC as it was on national TV on Monday night. 

As the season moved into weeks two and three, the ACC picked up some nice early season wins as Stanford went down to Wake Forest, 24-17, and VT bounced back to take down Nebraska, 16-15. Another good win was UNC beating UConn, 12-10. Considering the good seasons the Huskers and Huskies would eventually have, these were two good wins. Another good win on this weekend was FSU going out West and pounding BYU, 54-28. The league lost another game too, however, as TCU beat Virginia, 30-14.

Also in weeks two and three, eventual conference champion Georgia Tech played two critical games back to back. The regular season version of what would later be the conference title game was first as they defeated Clemson, 30-27, on a late touchdown in a very exciting game. CU came back from a 24-3 deficit to take the lead before losing. The following week, Tech lost to Miami, 33-17 - their only conference loss of the season.

In week four, Clemson lost at home to TCU, 14-10, in an absolute down-pour. The Tigers missed two field goals and were held scoreless in the second half. The Horned Frogs would go on to have their best season in recent memory. Also in week five, NC State defeated Pittsburgh, 38-31, which was a good win for the conference. But just as that was a good thing, Maryland lost to Rutgers, 34-13 and Florida State lost to South Florida, 17-7. Ouch.

In week five, there was just one ACC out of conference matchup, and it went the ACC's way. Miami defeated Oklahoma, 21-20, to somewhat get revenge for the loss the year before. Two weeks later, in week seven, the Hurricanes would win OOC again, beating Central Florida, 27-7.

Also in week seven, Boston College beat Central Michigan, 31-10.

The only OOC matchup in weeks eight or nine was GT beating Vanderbilt, 56-21.

In week ten, VT beat eventual Conference USA champion East Carolina, 16-3, in Greenville, NC. This is a bigger win than folks want to give it credit for as ECU can ball, beating Houston later on for their league crown.

Inter-conference play could not be found again for the ACC until rivalry week, and that is where things got ugly in 2009. Yes, opening weekend was rough, but in-between the conference picked up ground in the respect department with some nice wins. Rivalry weekend put the league right back in rough waters.

Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State all lost to their in-state bitter rivals that call the SEC home. The Clemson loss hurt, but was not all that surprising as USC talked publicly all week about laying their season on the line for the Tigers, and CU had a conference title game awaiting. Still, it was a beating that hurt none-the-less. The FSU loss was not a surprise at all, as Florida is one of the best programs in America. But the GT loss was unexpected and the most painful of the three. They are dominated annually by the Dawgs, and this was their first chance in many years to go back-to-back on UGA. Didn't happen.

For what it is worth, Miami beat South Florida, 31-10, that weekend, to go 4-0 out of conference for the regular season. The 'Canes did later lose to Wisconsin, leaving no league team with an unflawed OOC record for the entire 2009 campaign.

The final regular season record for the league was 27-15 against teams from other leagues. Against the SEC and Big 12 (who I consider the measuring stick), the ACC was 4-6 for the regular season...

As the bowls came around, the ACC had hope with its matchups, but again, fell just short of the .500 mark for the season. Winners in the bowls were Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech. Losing their bowl games were Boston College, UNC, Miami, and Georgia Tech. The ACC is now 2-10 all time in BCS games after GT's 24-14 loss to Iowa in the Orange Bowl.

Sure, the league fell short of what it needs to do to be considered an elite conference. But this season was jam-packed with fun and exciting games to watch. I know there is good football in this league, and I have no doubt it is close to having that breakthrough season I mentioned above. The league is balanced, and that is good for fun games to watch.

GT played Iowa in the Orange Bowl, but I doubt that is the ACC's best team. Virginia Tech would be my choice to represent the league in the BCS, but that isn't how it worked out after the conference dust settled. Yes, GT won the head to head between the Techs, but I still would have thrown the Hokies at the Hawkeyes (who, yes, I understand finished second in the Big Ten, not first. So I guess it worked out like it should have - the ACC's second best against the Big Ten's second best).

So anyway, I am rambling now, but overall it wasn't as bad of a year for the ACC as folks want to think it was. Some fans like to think that being a fan of a league is a lame idea, and I can certainly understand that side of things. But as a diehard Clemson fan, I think it is important that the rest of the conference find success in its OOC matchups. For one thing, that has an effect on Clemson's strength of schedule. For a second thing, it helps in recruiting when kids see who all is on the schedule, and how intriguing those games and venues would be.

In the end, I give the ACC a grade of "C" for the year. The games within the conference were extremely fun to watch, but a couple of more big OOC games need to be won.

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