Welcome our newest contributor Ted Jackson who will be sharing his deep insight into Clemson Athletics from time to time.
As Clemson fans, we are all very aware of the football stigma associated with the ACC. We’ve all heard the jeers from fans of other conferences, including “all cupcake conference” mantra.
If we’re true to ourselves, it is sometimes difficult to get excited about playing a game against a team that your backups would likely win most of the time during the regular season.
Bill Connelly’s S&P+ metric even graded the ACC one peg lower than the AAC with regards to competitiveness. I don’t get to attend Clemson games as often as I would like, but I was there in person when Clemson played Georgia Tech and they filmed part of the movie “Safety” at halftime.
After witnessing that first hand I was so excited to see it mentioned on ESPN, so I anxiously tuned in to watch the College Football Final. Clemson was mentioned, but not in the manner in which I anticipated. Instead, what they were laser focused on was how bad the ACC was.
The commentary was, and I quote, “Top 5 in the ACC 1) Clemson. 2) Clemson’s 2nd string. 3) Clemson’s 3rd string. 4) Clemson’s practice squad. 5) Actors that played Clemson at halftime.”
Gone are the days of the Bowden Bowl. Gone are the days of Florida State vs Miami being a Top-10 matchup. Gone are the days of the ferocious Virginia Tech defense under Bud Foster. Gone are the days of Deshaun Watson vs Lamar Jackson.
However, not all is lost, and when one door closes, another tends to open. Miami seems to be improving under the direction of Manny Diaz and QB D’Eriq King. UNC has a national championship caliber head coach Mack Brown, and it shows.
But what does the ACC do to keep this momentum going? Absolutely nothing. You know, Covid 19 taught many of us lessons that we will remember the rest of our lives. That includes individuals, businesses, and organizations alike. Apparently, the ACC slept like Rumpelstiltskin throughout the pandemic, because apparently they didn’t learn a thing.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Remember last year, when Notre Dame joined the conference for only one year? What did the ACC do? Pull out the red carpet for Notre Dame.
Clemson was scheduled to meet Notre Dame during the regular season, so they eliminated divisions. Why? To ensure that both teams would be eligible to meet in the conference championship, regardless the outcome of the regular season game. How did that decision work out? Spectacularly, considering both teams made the College Football Playoff, the pinnacle of college football greatness.
To tie all this together, the solution to the problem that the ACC has is obvious; ELIMINATE DIVISIONS, schedule epic matchups of teams that are projected Top-25, and make the conference exciting once again.
Want to see regular season games with Clemson vs UNC, Miami, or even an outside possibility of Notre Dame? It’s all possible. And that will make the conference championship that much better. Let us hope that the ACC comes to it’s senses and takes that head out of the sand.