ACC Roundtable time!
BC Interruption is hosting this edition of the roundtable, which gives us a good postmortem of the 2010 ACC Championship Game and preview of the bowl season.
1. Virginia Tech and Florida State seemed to acquit the ACC Championship Game well this year, turning in an entertaining 44-33 game in front of a crowd of 72,379 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Assess the success of the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte in year one. How much of the success can be attributed to the host city, and how much can be attributed to the matchup? A little of A, a little of B?
I don't think we'll be able to judge Charlotte as a host until at least after a second game there. The first ACCCG saw the same matchup at a site that favored Florida State and it was also a success. The proximity of Charlotte to Virginia Tech's fan base combined with the Hokies having two weeks to buy tickets led to a successful game at the box office.
However, we won't really know how well Charlotte can host the game until it gets an unfavorable matchup. The good thing about Charlotte is it's less likely to get an unfavorable matchup like Jacksonville and Tampa were because it's in close proximity to so many teams. In addition to the Hokies and Tobacco Road teams, Clemson and Georgia Tech fans can get there easily. It's if we ever got a Miami-Boston College matchup that we'll really be able to judge Charlotte. Then again, a Miami-BC ACCCG probably wouldn't sell out in Miami or Boston.
2. Would you like to see Charlotte become the permanent home of the ACC Football Championship? Or would you be in favor of some alternate Championship Game format? (continuing to rotate the location, move to campus a la the Pac 12, etc.) Explain.
I'd like to see it move on campus because it would guarantee a sellout in most cases and there's a good chance Blacksburg would end up hosting it at some point. A lot of people would have it just be hosted by the team with the best record, but I'd also be in favor of just alternating which division's champion hosts. That way you don't have to worry about how you break a tie between two teams with the same record that haven't played.
3. On to the ACC's 2010 slate of bowl games. How happy are you with your program's bowl placement? Did your team's bowl destination exceed or fall short of preseason expectations? (No, I didn't forget about you, Wake and Virginia. You can speak to general season results relative to preseason expectations here).
Virginia Tech wound up exactly where I thought it would. I'm very happy to be heading to the Orange Bowl.
4. Looking at the conference's bowl schedule as a whole, how many games do you have the conference winning? Is this the year the conference has a breakout year come bowl season?
I think we've drawn a pretty challenging slate of bowls, which is fine. I've got us at 5-4, but in a lot of those games a loss doesn't hurt the conference that bad. If we can get wins from FSU and UNC over those vermin from God's Conference and not suffer an embarrassing loss to a non-AQ school we should be OK. It's not going to be a "breakout season," though.
5. Clearly, there are many factors other than on-field performance that go into bowl selections (travel rep, ticket sales, travel distances). Pretend for a moment that the ACC placed teams in our conference's bowl games 1-9 based solely on their on-field performance this season (you can rank 1-9 anyway you see fit). Holding our bowl opponents fixed, how does your answer to question 4 change? Does the ACC then win more or less bowl games this year?
You're making me put a lot of effort into this. [15 minutes later] OK. This little exercise changed all of four matchups: Maryland vs. South Florida, Boston College vs. Tennessee, North Carolina vs. East Carolina and Clemson vs. Nevada. And with these new matchups I have us going ... 5-4.
6. Last one. The home of the ACC Champion has been the redheaded step child of BCS bowls the past few seasons. The Orange Bowl has been awarded either the Big East champ or a BCS at-large leftover the past few seasons and the casual fan has responded with some of the lowest TV ratings in BCS bowl history. Did the Hokies/ACC dodge a bullet not drawing an 8-4 Big East champ UConn in the Orange Bowl? Or would you have rather have had the Hokies face an easier opponent to improve on the ACC's 2-10 record in BCS bowls?
All of my Oklahoma friends wanted to play UConn because they were "afraid" of Stanford and wanted Bob Stoops to have an easy game in which to end his BCS losing streak. I wanted Virginia Tech to play Stanford because I'm not a wuss. I don't want the easy way out. I want the team that's going to give us the best game, both on the field and in terms of national interest. Stanford was the better team in both cases. I'm pumped about this bowl matchup. UConn? Meh. Sure, we probably would have won that game but no one would have watched or cared.