The ACC actually has a lot of make-or-break out-of-conference games this year, a big deal for a conference hoping to live up to their new TV deal. As an ACC fan, let me tell you a lot of folks in this conference (especially from the “southern wing”) suffer from what I call “SEC-envy”. Unlike many of these folks, I don’t think the media is actively biased against the conference. That said, sometimes the conference doesn’t really help itself. But with the nation’s 2nd toughest OOC schedule as a group (with a “legit average” of 0.3177) the ACC will have its chances to show its mettle. Let’s get started.
Oh, I should note that in some cases, schools were tied with the same rating, in which case the tie is broken first by the number of DI-AA teams on the schedule and then completely arbitarily.
- Florida State (2.5 legit, 1 DI-AA): Samford, @Oklahoma, Brigham Young, Florida. Hope of getting back to the ACC forefront abounds in Tallahassee this year, and this schedule can help with 3 pretty legit teams on the slate. Florida is of course a rivalry game, but Seminole fans have to be hoping Christian Ponder can show Sooner fans what they’re missing this year. If FSU can win two of the big three of these they will finish the season ranked, provided their defense doesn’t catch fire within the conference again.
- Miami (1.75, 1): Florida A&M, @Ohio State, @Pittsburgh, South Florida. Okay, this isn’t, your, um, older brother’s Miami team, but a rematch of a national title game is always fun.
- Clemson (1.75, 1): North Texas, Presbyterian, @Auburn, South Carolina. Well, it’s not Clemson-Georgia but Tigers vs. Tigers is always fun.
- North Carolina (1.5, 1): N-Louisiana State, @Rutgers, East Carolina, William & Mary. Well, the biggest thing here is the season kick-off neutral site against LSU. Most ACC partisans feel LSU is ripe for the pickin’ in this game, but then they turn around say that UNC themselves is extremely beatable. So we’ll see. I will say that if there’s year that LSU seems vulnerable, to me, this is it.
- Georgia Tech (1.5, 1): South Carolina State, @Kansas, Middle Tennessee State, @Georgia. Well, we get post-Mangino Kansas in Lawrence. Um, outside of that, there’s not really much to say about this slate, other than that the MTSU series is a 2-for-1 and I think the trip to Murfeesboro is next year.
- Boston College (1.25, 1): Weber State, Kent State, Notre Dame, @Syracuse. I have no idea what to say about this schedule. They’ll be favored to win all of these except ND, and even then they should have a pretty good chance. Oh, and it just gets worse from here.
- Duke (1, 1): Elon, Alabama, Army, @Navy. Let’s be clear here: two of three are on the schedule because this is Duke, which is also the reason they’re on Alabama’s joke of a schedule.
- Maryland (1, 1): N-Navy, Morgan State, @West Virginia, Florida International. The Navy game is in Baltimore, which should be fun except that I think Navy is probably going to win. I wish Maryland could play Colorado in the “battle of coaches who probably should have been fired a year ago” bowl.
- Virginia (1, 2): Richmond, @Southern California, Virginia Military, Eastern Michigan. The only ACC team playing two DI-AA teams, they probably need it the most. At least their new coach probably shouldn’t lose to Richmond.
- Virginia Tech (0.75, 1): N-Boise State, James Madison, East Carolina, Central Michigan. I don’t know if the VPI-Boise State game is THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME IN ACC HISTORY, but it is a big deal for the conference. Once again, VPI can use their opening game as the kick off to a darkhorse national title run, while this is the most important game on Boise’s schedule. So that is one to watch. The rest of this schedule? Not so much.
- Wake Forest (0.75, 1): Presbyterian, @Stanford, Navy, @Vanderbilt. Let’s see… anything clever to say about this? Well, um, both Vandy and Wake have gold and black as their primary colors. Um. Yeah, I got nothin’. Oh, well, yes, Stanford is still only worth 0.5 points, one year does not grant you legitimacy.
- North Carolina State (0.5, 1): Western Carolina, @Central Florida, Cincinnati, @East Carolina. Who is the AD at NCSU? How did you end up scheduling two mid-majors away in the same year? There are a lot of schedules worse than this one. But there are also a lot of better ones. But then again, NCSU has been pretty solidly “mediocre-to-bad” since 2003, so if the same AD has been there the entire time (I’m too lazy to look) they should have been fired a long time ago anyway.
Join us next time, for the Big East!