ACC Needs Old 'Canes
By Eric Russell
Nearly 10 years ago, Miami and Virginia Tech kicked off a process that has now turned Big East, a one time power conference, into an unnamed, amped up version of Conference USA.
Back in 2004 when the schools became members of the ACC, it was supposed to shift the balance of power among the football conferences. For the most part, Virginia Tech has held up its end of the deal. However, Miami hasn’t made any significant waves in the conference since their arrival. For the sake of both the ACC and the Hurricanes football program, that needs to change.
In the Hurricanes’ last four seasons as a member of the Big East, they finished with double-digit win totals in every season and earned a BCS bowl birth as well. In the time since they haven’t won more than nine games in a single season.
The reasons the Hurricanes need to return to championship form are obvious.
Last year’s BCS standings highlighted the need for another good ACC team. The computer rankings docked the conference’s top teams, Florida State and Clemson, in the standings. The computers use strength of schedule as a major factor in their rankings.
In Week 12 of the BCS rankings, Florida State earned a No. 6 ranking from the Harris Poll and USA Today, but due to their computer ranking of 17, they found themselves 10th overall. To put it in perspective, Florida State, a one-loss team, was at the time behind every one-loss SEC team in the only national standings that matter until a playoff is implemented. To make matters worse, the Seminoles were behind two-loss South Carolina and LSU.
Granted, non-conference scheduling plays a role in this dynamic, but a few more formidable ACC teams would help more.
Everybody loves parity
If the current college basketball season has taught us anything it’s that competitiveness is a plus. The ACC’s Coastal Division has lacked this characteristic since the conference split in 2004.
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech have been the only teams to win the Coastal crown and compete in the ACC Championship Game.
It may seem like Clemson and Florida State have a stronghold on the Atlantic Division, but Wake Forest and Boston College have also represented the Atlantic in the Championship.
Notre Dame stirs nostalgic feelings
Yes, the Fighting Irish have found their way into an ACC football column. Last season Notre Dame reminded us of what it was like to have one of the dormant giants back in the national championship conversation. Perhaps now would be a good time for the Hurricanes to do the same.
The 2003 season was the last time the Hurricanes have been anywhere close to a BCS bowl. The idea of meaningful rivalry games against Florida and Florida State would be a welcome occurrence.
Last season made one thing clear: die-hard college football fans love anything resembling the good ol' days.