Today, ESPN's Mark Schlabach graded the overall health of every BCS conference football team 1-5 based on the following criteria:
5: Consistent winner with potential to be BCS bowl contender every season
4: Potential to join the sport's elite in the near future
3: Recent mediocre results but seems to be building momentum
2: Recent success but seems to be headed in wrong direction
1: Below-average program with little success in past or future
The good news for Virginia Tech fans is that the Hokies were one of six programs who were given an overall grade of 5 and the only one in the ACC. The problem for the Hokies' conference comes when you look at the average grade for all six BCS conferences.
Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the ACC came in D.A.L. in average grade from Schlabach. You can debate whether or not the Hokies deserved a five, but if they hadn't, the ACC would be one of two conferences lacking a "5" team and the conference's average would dip to 2.33.
Should the ACC be ranked below the Big East? The conference's biggest problem is the perceived gap between the top teams and the rest. Meanwhile, the Big East is in an odd state of flux where teams that have been doormats (Syracuse and Louisville) are on the rise while teams that dominated in recent years (Cincinnati and Rutgers) are seeing their stock plummet. That's why the Big East stayed very close to the middle with no teams receiving a 5 or 1.
It would be interesting to see how Schlabach would rank these teams at the end of the season. There are some teams whose current health probably deserves a 2, but I think will improve this year. Still, while I'm used to the ACC deservedly receiving no respect from the national media, it's a little disheartening to see three-fourths of the conference's teams receive a 2 or lower.