Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We Surrender



Sure, there are two games left in the ACC bowl season, but after the gargantuan pile of dung dropped today, it's quite evident that this has become a lost year for the ACC, impressive regular season be damned. To wit: LSU 35, Georgia Tech 3, halftime, in Atlanta, when Paul Johnson's brain was apparently surgically removed and replaced with the fried cerebral cortex of Crackhead Bob. Can one coach's heretofore sterling reputation be shredded in one single game? I say yes, based on what I've seen thus far. George O'Leary and Chan Gailey - heinous warts and all - never blew a game this badly, this early. This is an atomic bomb of a momentum killer for the Jackets.

Sure, Clemson and Virginia Tech may win their bowl games. But in all likelihood, they won't...and even if they win, there's nothing they'll do to counteract this New Year's Eve Catastrophe. No wonder I'm the only independent ACC football blogger; it's tough putting up with this bullshit over and over again.

EDIT - and there will be no previews of tomorrow's Gator and Orange Bowls. I don't give a crap anymore. Happy Damn New Year!

So things are not going very well...

3-4 so far in the bowls, with 3-7 looking far more likely than 6-4. A few thoughts...

--Wake 29, Navy 19 was what should've happened the first time in September, not in Deacs-Middies Redux. Nonetheless, a solid but less-than-sexy win over a not-to-be underestimated opponent (as Wake and Rutgers will attest to)

--West Virginia 31, UNC 30 is what started this little avalanche, I'm afraid. It was one of those evenly matched games that tends to tilt the whole conference's showing...what with Pat White having the game of his life and the Mountaineers still only winning by a point, you just kinda had that feeling that the breaks were not going to fall our way.

--FSU 42, Wisconsin 13 was entirely predictable to anyone not closely attached to the Seminole program (as those of us close to FSU are in a constant state of accepted-nihilism these days). First, it was sleek, southern football vs. grain-fed slow as curds flowing uphill mediocre Big Ten football. Second, FSU played like ass for the first half (as I thought they would) and still clunked it's way to a four-TD win (which I did not think would happen). So far, this is the shining beacon of the ACC bowl season. If that's still the case on Jan. 2, we gots problems.

--Cal 24, Miami 17 was fairly respectable, what with the Pac Ten's #4 team, basically playing at home, struggling vs. the ACC's 7th rated team that apparently had no idea that there's this kooky thing known as a "clock" in this sport. Still...close game, ACC loss. A pattern has now developed.

--Rutgers 29, NC State 23 was entirely predictable the moment Pack QB Russell Wilson was pulled due to injury, despite a 17-6 State halftime lead. Friggin Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Matt Stafford, Graham Harrell, John Parker Wilson, Chase Daniel, etc seemingly haven't missed a down all year to injury...God forbid an ACC QB goes through a season without several major organs and appendages obliterated. Oh yeah - close game, ACC loss. P-to-the-A-to-the-TTERN.

--Maryland 42, Nevada 35 was entertaining and proved that the Fridge has one or two decent motivational tactics that he hasn't sold to Under Armor yet. The Terps led 28-13 at the half and 42-28 late so it wasn't exactly a nailbiter. A win is a win, but 42-21 would've been a little more impressive, no?

--Vanderbilt 16, BC 14 is something I should've picked automatically for five reasons: 1) Dominique Davis; 2) Dominique Davis; 3) Dominique Davis; 4) The Eagle D is a shell of itself after letting a lame VT offense crush them in the ACC title game; 5) the opponent was Vandy, in Nashville, in their first bowl since '82. And it was a close game, which apparently equates to loserville in ACC Bowl-land. And some of the calls in the game were of the "investigate officiating crew for possible wagering on the Commodores +3.5pts" variety. Still, in all the Vandy-love after this win, think anyone will mention they lost to Wake and Duke in the regular season? Hellz no.

I am not looking forward to tonight's Chick-fil-A home of yummy chicken strips and radioactive-yellow honey mustard Bowl. The Gator and Orange Bowls point toward destruction as well. Dammit.

Chick-fil-A Home of the 3 Mile Long Drive-Thru at Lunchtime Bowl Preview

GEORGIA TECH (9-3) vs. LSU (7-5)
Wednesday, 12/31/08, 3:30pm ET - Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 12-6; the Tigers won the last meeting 28-14 in the 2000 Peach Bowl
What may or may not happen: Beats the hell outta me. LSU's defense was clobbered throughout much of the year, but usually via aerial assault. The Jackets' rushing attack is something the Tigers' haven't yet seen, but the Bayou Bengals were much better against the run in 2008 than the pass. Tech was clearly in a groove on offense to end the regular season...but will the 4-week layoff result in some kinks? Will Jordan Jefferson at least not be the turnover pandemic that is/was The Jarrett Lee Experience? Can the Tech front seven contain RB Charles Scott? Was the loss of one of their co-DCs a few weeks ago a distraction or blessing for the Tigers? Too many questions, not enough answers until kickoff. If this game had been played anytime in October or November, the Jackets would win each time. But on Dec. 31 after personnel and coaching changes in Baton Rouge? Who the hell knows. Georgia Tech 24, LSU 22...I guess

Music City Dear God This Is A Game the ACC Must Not Lose Bowl Preview

BOSTON COLLEGE (9-4) vs. VANDERBILT (6-6)
Wednesday, 12/31/08, 3:30pm ET - LP Field, Nashville, TN
Series record: Boston College leads 2-0; the Eagles won the last meeting 19-6 in 1963
What may or may not happen: This is really all you need to know - Boston College ranks sixth nationally in total defense; the Commodores rank 118th in the nation in total offense. For the Eagles to lose, they would need to turn the ball over 5+ times, Vandy would have to play a clean offensive game, and special teams would have to totally and completely go the 'Dores way. It's not impossible, and you never know what a team's mindset will be after four weeks off and not being thrilled with their bowl destination. The Eagles dropped all the way to the ACC's 5th bowl slot after getting drilled by Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game (a game in which BC QB Dominique Davis was a special kind of horrid - here's hoping that performance was an awful fluke); Vandy dropped six of their last seven games, yet still earned the first bowl bid since 1982 - and it's 4 miles from their campus. Still, it can't be ignored that this is a defacto home game for the Commodores. Boston College 24, Vanderbilt 10

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Humanitarian Would Be To Cancel This Dead In the Water Bowl Preview

MARYLAND (7-5) vs. NEVADA (7-5)
Tuesday, 12/30/08, 4:30pm ET - Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID
Series record: first meeting
What may or may not happen: I'm as disinterested in this game as the Terps apparently are. It's basically a rule of mine to pick against a team that is unhappy to be in it's bowl game unless said team is head and shoulders above it's opponent. And Maryland, losers to Middle Tennessee this year and to Virginia by a 31-0 score, are most certainly not head and shoulders above the Nevada Wolf Pack. Add that to the fact that the 7-5 (not 10-2 or 9-3, mind you) Terps have an inexplicable chip on their shoulder regarding how good they really are, and you have the makings of a bad, bad afternoon in Boise. If Maryland gets down early, I fully expect them to fold up shop and quit. If things go well for the Turtles early in the game, I think the motivation switch gets flipped on rather quickly. That said, I think Nevada takes control from the get-go. But I've been wrong more often than not in my bowl picks so far, and for the ACC's sake I hope I'm mistaken here as well. Nevada 28, Maryland 17

Monday, December 29, 2008

PapaJohns.com Home of Declining Quality Pizza Since 1984 Bowl Preview

N.C. STATE (6-6) vs. RUTGERS (7-5)
Monday, 12/29/08, 3pm ET - Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
Series record: first meeting
What may or may not happen: Both teams were red hot to end the season; Rutgers won their final six games capped off by a 63-14 murder of Louisville, while NC State won their final four contests highlighted by curbstompings of North Carolina and Miami in back-to-back weeks to close out the season. With a four week layoff, it will be tough for one (if not both) teams to get their groove back. In that case go with the bowl-master Tom O'Brien, who's won his last six postseason matchups. N.C. State 30, Rutgers 23

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lest we get carried away by early bowl performances...

...here's a quick guide into the actual matchups in the ACC's bowl games this season:

ADVANTAGE ACC
Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State (8-4, ACC #4 of 12) vs. Wisconsin (7-5, Big Ten #6 of 11)
Music City Bowl - Boston College (9-4, ACC #3 of 12) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6, SEC #6 of 12)
Chick-fil-A Bowl - Georgia Tech (9-3, ACC #2 of 12) vs. LSU (7-5, SEC #7 of 12)

DISADVANTAGE ACC
Emerald Bowl - Miami (7-5, ACC #7 of 12) vs. California (8-4, Pac 10 #4 of 10)
PapaJohns.com Bowl - NC State (6-6, ACC #10 of 12) vs. Rutgers (7-5, Big East #4 of 8)
Gator Bowl - Clemson (7-5, ACC #9 of 12) vs. Nebraska (8-4, Big XII #6 of 12)

RELATIVELY EVEN
EagleBank Bowl - Wake Forest (7-5, ACC #8 of 12) vs. Navy (8-4, Independent); Navy won the regular season meeting
Meineke Car Care Bowl - North Carolina (8-4, ACC #5 of 12) vs. West Virginia (8-4, Big East #3 of 8)
Humanitarian Bowl - Maryland (7-5, ACC #6 of 12) vs. Nevada (7-5, WAC #3 of 9)
Orange Bowl - Virginia Tech (9-4, ACC #1 of 12) vs. Cincinnati (11-2, Big East #1 of 8)

So the ACC should go 3-3 with 4 other question marks based strictly on matchups. If the "even" matchups all break the ACC's way (and they haven't as we've already seen), the league should go 7-3 in bowls. If the "even" matchups all go to hell (and they haven't as we've already seen), the ACC is looking at 3-7. So there's your window: 7-3 and above means a rousing success, 3-7 or worse means disaster. 4-6 is disappointing but not necessarily cause for panic. 6-4 or 5-5 is OK but not something to plaster all over the 2009 media guide. Naturally, one of the "Advantage ACC" games could very well result in an upset, just as one of the "Disadvantage ACC" contests could surprise. But it all comes back to the matchups as a whole. 7-3 is the mark to hit for glory and honor and all that crap.

Emerald Nuts, Almonds, Cashews, Other Salty Confections and Delicious Yogurt Covered Raisins Bowl Preview

MIAMI (7-5) vs. CALIFORNIA (8-4)
Saturday, 12/27/08, 8pm ET - AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA
Series record: Miami leads 2-1; the Hurricanes won the last meeting 52-24 in 1990
What may or may not happen: With the Canes admirably suspending kids left and right - including starting and soon-to-transferring QB Robert Marve - it seems as if they're treating this game as preseason 2009. Which is all fine and good, but traveling 3000 miles to play what amounts to a road game - just to get your perpetually young team reps while getting your ass handed to you - seems to be a poor use of university cash in these trying economic times. While the Canes' offensive woes this year have been well-chronicled, keep in mind that the Miami defense got slapped around in their last two games by Georgia Tech and NC State. Think Cal might be able to move the ball a bit? One thing's for sure, if Miami pulls this one off, Kirk Herbstreit will have them winning the national title next year and Hurricane season ticket orders will double to 58. California 37, Miami 17

Champs Sports Grossly Overpriced Sweatshop Produced Apparel and Footwear Bowl Preview

FLORIDA STATE (8-4) vs. WISCONSIN (7-5)
Saturday, 12/27/08, 4:30pm ET - Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
Series record: First meeting
What may or may not happen: I'm getting a weird vibe about this one. It's a clash of different styles of play, different cultures, and most profoundly a clash of generations. On paper and in your head, you would think the Noles would roll in this matchup. But I've got a bad feeling that despite being largely held in check, PJ Hill and whoever the Badgers' QB is will tear off a few big runs and inexplicably find some success in the passing game, while the FSU offense will turn the ball over at the most inopportune times. Nonetheless, the Seminoles' MVP this season - Groza winner Graham Gano - will end his career in style by kicking the game-winning field goal, allowing FSU to escape in a nailbiter. Florida State 23, Wisconsin 21

Meineke Car Care Express Lube Window Tinting Callahan Brake Pads Bowl Preview

NORTH CAROLINA (8-4) vs. WEST VIRGINIA (8-4)
Saturday, 12/27/08, 1pm ET - Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Series record: North Carolina leads 1-0; the Tar Heels won the only previous meeting 20-13 in the 1997 Gator Bowl
What may or may not happen: West Virginia seems to be everybody's pick in this game, largely based on the assumption Pat White's stellar career should have a somewhat happy ending. That was also why many folks picked the Mountaineers to knock off Pitt a few weeks ago and we saw how that actually turned out. If you want a real reason as to why WVU should win this game, just take a look at the Tar Heel defense - they were ripped to shreds by NC State and Duke in the final two weeks of November. The Mountaineer defense also appears to have a slight advantage over UNC's attack, as injuries finally took their toll on the Heels late in the season. But then there's Bill Stewart vs. Butch Davis which tips the scales back into the Carolina camp, so....North Carolina 19, West Virginia 17

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holy crap, there's a bowl game today...

That also means it's 5 days til Christmas. I should probably start shopping. Anyhoo...

EagleBank Bowl
WAKE FOREST (7-5) vs. NAVY (8-4)
Saturday, 12/20/08, 11am ET - RFK Stadium (I thought they tore this down?), Washington DC
Series record: Wake Forest leads 6-3; Navy won September's meeting 24-17
What may or may not happen: While Wake has had a somewhat disappointing year (given their stellar 2006 an 2007 seasons), they can atone for this year's biggest blunder by gaining a measure of revenge against the Middies. Navy gouged the Deacs for nearly 300 yards on the ground in September while attempting all of 4 passes. Riley Skinner had possibly the worst game of his career, throwing 4 picks. In short, Wake did nothing right that day and still only lost by a touchdown. With two weeks to prepare for a very one-dimensional attack that they've already seen firsthand, the Deacons should be well prepared the stop the Naval assault. Future Sunday stars Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith will not let their Wake careers end with a second loss to Navy in a single year. Wake Forest 27, Navy 17

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Out of Conference Report '08 - At Regular Season's End

For those who are new to this blog, I began this feature last season that would attempt to quantify the strength of each BCS league based on the quality of it's non-conference competition. Yes, I realize that football has far too many intangibles and such that can't be broken down into mere numbers. But I'm a stats guy, and if someone is going to tell me that the Big Ten or Big East or whoever is better than the ACC, I'd like to see some justification for that aside from the typical message board smack.

Updated non-conference records among the six BCS leagues through the end of the regular season:
Conf.RecordPct.
Big XII
38-10.792
ACC37-11
.771
SEC37-11.771
Big Ten
32-12.727
Big East
29-12.707
Pac 10
14-17.452
The ACC taking 3 of 4 from the SEC on Thanksgiving weekend tied them in overall non-conference record, one little game behind the Big XII.

To delve a little deeper, below is the combined record of all 1-A/FBS opposition faced by each BCS league in non-conference play:
Conf.RecordPct.
Pac 10206-144.589
ACC
237-177.572
Big Ten
202-186.521
Big East211-200.513
Big XII223-237.485
SEC222-248.472
If this analysis ended right here, the ACC would clearly be the best conference in 2008, bar none. But there is more to the story...

ON THE ROAD
Below illustrates the percentage of games each league has played away from home in non-conference action:
Conf.Road Games/OOC GamesPct.
Big East17/4141.5%
Pac 1011/3135.5%
SEC14/4829.2%
ACC13/4827.2%
Big XII13/4827.2%
Big Ten11/4425.0%

*non-conference neutral site games (i.e. Missouri-Illinois, Alabama-Clemson) are calculated as road games for both leagues.

The only thing that really stands out to me is that the Big East had a respectable showing in overall non-conference record while playing over 40% of those games on the road. If you want a quick predictor on how a league will fare in non-conference play, take a look at how many games they play on the road - the number of losses is usually right around that number. Conversely, the Pac 10 evidently got hammered at home quite a few times in out-of-conference action.

BCS COMPETITION
The following indicates the percentage of non-conference competition played against fellow BCS-league opponents:
Conf.BCS Foes/OOC GamesPct.
ACC23/4847.9%
Pac 1014/3145.2%
Big East16/4139.0%
Big XII15/4831.3%
SEC15/4831.3%
Big Ten13/4429.5%
*For this analysis, Notre Dame is included as a BCS/power-league team

And each conference's record against other power-league competition:
Conf.RecordPct.
ACC15-8.652
Big East
9-7.563
Big XII
7-8.467
Big Ten
6-7.462
Pac 10
6-8.429
SEC
6-9.400
Furthermore, the following is the combined record of each league's BCS opposition:
Conf.RecordPct.
Pac 10
102-66.607
ACC
174-117.598
SEC
104-76
.578
Big East
110-82.573
Big Ten
84-72.538
Big XII
91-93.495
The numbers really say it all. What the ACC accomplished this year in this category is astounding, especially after the grisly opening weekend.

OTHER 1-A/FBS COMPETITION
Each league's record against other 1-A/FBS foes...that is, the non-conference results against the poor schmoes from Conference USA, the MAC, the WAC, etc.:
Conf.RecordPct.
SEC22-2.917
Big XII21-2.913
Big Ten17-5.773
ACC8-3.727
Big East13-5.722
Pac 106-9.400
And the combined record of the "other 1-A" opponents for each BCS league:
Conf.RecordPct.
Pac 10104-78.571
Big Ten115-114.502
ACC65-70.481
Big XII
132-144.478
Big East101-118.461
SEC118-172.407
It's hard to gauge how the ACC really fared given the comparatively small sample size, but "meh" is a word that comes to mind. And the SEC's continued scheduling of the 1-A dregs never ceases to amaze me.

THE 1-AA/FCS FACTOR
The percentage of non-conference games against 1-AA competition...
Conf.1-AA Foes/OOC GamesPct.
ACC14/4829.2%
Big Ten9/4420.5%
Big XII9/4818.8%
SEC9/4818.8%
Big East7/4117.1%
Pac 102/316.5%
And this is what keeps the ACC out of the top spot in "best conference" talk this season. Just under a third of all ACC out-of-conference games have been against the minor leaguers. Unacceptable. And the close calls (UNC-McNeese, Maryland-Delaware, Georgia Tech-Gardner Webb) further erode credibility. On the flipside, the Pac 10 would do well to not be so damn righteous.

POTENTIALLY FLAWED SUBJECTIVE CONCLUSION
All that said, this is how I'd rank the conferences in 2008:

1) Big XII
2) ACC
3) SEC
4) Big East
5) Big Ten
6) Pac 10

I think all the numbers above, plus a healthy dose of common sense, bear this ranking out. The Big XII and ACC shouldn't be throwing any parties just yet...bowl season has a way of really skewing these numbers and the ACC has ten bowl games in which to enhance or tarnish its reputation.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

ACC Bowl Bids

Just released...

ORANGE BOWL (Miami - 1/1/09)
Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

CHICK-FIL-A BOWL (Atlanta - 12/31/08)
Georgia Tech vs. LSU

GATOR BOWL (Jacksonville - 1/1/09)
Clemson vs. Nebraska

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL (Orlando - 12/27/08)
Florida State vs. Wisconsin

MUSIC CITY (Nashville - 12/31/08)
Boston College vs. Vanderbilt

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL (Charlotte - 12/27/08)
North Carolina vs. West Virginia

EMERALD BOWL (San Francisco - 12/27/08)
Miami vs. California

HUMANITARIAN BOWL (Boise - 12/30/08)
Maryland vs. Nevada

EAGLEBANK BOWL (Washington - 12/20/08)
Wake Forest vs. Navy

PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL (Birmingham - 12/30/08)
N.C. State vs. Rutgers

The failed experiment that is the ACC Championship Game

Or should I say, the failed experiment at holding it at a neutral site.

Logistically and culturally, the ACC is not equipped as a conference to fill up NFL stadiums on a week's notice. It just isn't. Even the Big XII, with all of it's traditional powers and larger schools, rarely sells out their title game. But it's still a respectable event.

What are the traditional (or should I say "national") football powers in the ACC? Florida State and Miami, of course. Virginia Tech, sure. And then....Clemson? I guess. Georgia Tech? Now we're stretching. Only at four league schools can you safely say that football is king...FSU, Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech, Virginia and Boston College shift depending on which program (football or hoops) is better. UNC, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest and Maryland are clearly basketball-centered schools and always will be. The vast majority of schools in the SEC and Big XII are football first. That's problem one.

Problem two is enrollment and alumni base. Four of the league's twelve schools - BC, Miami, Duke, Wake - are private, with undergraduate enrollments under 10,000. Not only does that equate to smaller fan bases, but those schools do not have the deep roots in the actual state they're located in like State U does. The small, private schools draw students from a national pool of applicants, and in terms of athletic following they generally don't draw in the unaffiliated locals as much as the state schools do. Four other schools - UNC, UVA, Clemson and Ga Tech - have enrollments well below 20,000. Only four ACC universities have over 20,000 in undergrad population and two of them - NC State and Maryland - have zero national image in football. That leaves the ACC with just two "big" state universities with "big" football followings - Florida State and Virginia Tech. The Big XII and SEC each have 5 to 7 schools on that level, by comparison.

Problem three is logistics. The league stretches from Miami to Boston, with a cluster of four schools roughly in the geographical center in North Carolina. As for the other eight universities, BC is several hours from Maryland, which is a few hours from UVA which is a few hours from Va Tech. Clemson is three hours from Ga Tech, which is five hours from FSU, which is eight hours from Miami. Charlotte is really the only somewhat centrally located city. Holding the first three (and with next year, four) title games at the southern end of the league map eliminated far too many fanbases from making an easy trip to get there. Tampa is 760 miles from Blacksburg and 1360 miles from Boston.

Problem four is promotion. I don't know how the ACC or the city of Jacksonville handled the first two three years of this event, but the league and Tampa did a laughable job in promoting this year's game. Absurdly laughable. I saw exactly two billboards in the last three months around the Bay area, two or three commercials, no TV news coverage until game week and heard no radio promotion outside of the sports station. I can just about guarantee you that 95% of the non college-football following Bay area population had no idea the game was going on yesterday.

Problem five is the lack of a national title contender playing in the game. No team has entered this game undefeated and only once has a team entered the game with just one overall loss (Virginia Tech '05, who proceeded to lose to 7-4 FSU). This year saw a 9-3 team playing an 8-4 squad...in a rematch. The game has to mean something other than an Orange Bowl bid at least once every other year for it to gain traction as an "event".

Next year, unless there's a national title contending FSU, Miami, Clemson or Georgia Tech squad playing, you will see a 3/4 empty stadium again. Charlotte may prove different in 2011 and 2012 but then with the ACC's luck there will finally be that sought after FSU-Miami rematch and the Noles will bring only 30,000 fans while the Canes will bring 12 people.

The solution is obvious...play the game on campus. The ACC is burning bridges now by leaving cities in debt after hosting the game (hello Jacksonville). The game should be held at the home stadium of the team with the better ACC record. If both teams have the same record, use head-to-head as a tiebreaker. If they haven't played yet, use the better overall record. After that, rock-paper-scissors for all I care. Holding the game on campus guarantees better attendance, a better atmosphere and familiar travel arrangements for the visiting team's fans. It cuts the travel cost almost entirely for one team and it's followers. Personally, as an FSU fan, I'd rather play Georgia Tech in Atlanta or Tallahassee for all the marbles than in Jacksonville or Charlotte.

After yesterday's atmosphere, I have little desire to go to next year's game here in Tampa. And I'm the freakin' ACC football blogger.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hokies 30 - Eagles 12

I'll have thoughts on the game and experience later. For now, here are some pics from today's extravaganza. The batteries in my digital camera died in the first quarter, so most of the pics are brought to you by my Verizon Blitz cell phone.


Fanfest. Meh.


Pregame warmups


Game ball delivery


Kickoff. What a crowd!


I think Tech is punting here. You're welcome.


Your guess is as good as mine


Happy Hokies


The Virginia Tech Hokies - 2008 ACC Champs

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mission: Extremely Possible

Tomorrow's assignment, which I have chosen to accept:

--Awake at the crack of 8am

--Much coffee

--Avoid ESPN GameDay, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN-nanobot-in-my-brain like the plague

--Bid the beloved wife farewell as her eyes (justifiably) roll through the back of her skull like a malfunctioning slot machine as I explain the day's endeavor

--Leisurely drive to the Raymond James Stadium metroplex (a trip of approximately 30 minutes on weekends, or 4.63 millenia on weekdays)

--Park in some kindly second-generation Cuban immigrant's (or some douchebaggy fifth-generation redneck's) front yard for $5, several blocks from the stadium

--Immerse myself in all that is the ACC Fanfest. And then get beer. Lots.

--Deface any likeness of Chris Fowler I find within 12 parsecs of the stadium

--Attempt to acquire an upper-level sideline ticket for under $10, or lower-level sideline ticket for $25 max, whichever comes first

--Snag a lower-level sideline ticket for $5 fifteen minutes before kickoff, from a desperate and smarmy scalper with a promise that he'll wash and wax my car during the game

--Sit in the upper level anyway because I need my space

--Hand count the actual attendance from my lofty perch and compare with the ACC/KGB's "official report"

--Enjoy said game

--Halftime = nap time!

--Take pics of said game

--Avoid the post-game concert like it's Chernobyl '86

--Make it home in one piece so I can bore you to tears with my game recap, or forget to post an update altogether

--Pass out

This post will self-destruct in...alright, you get it, let's not beat the theme to death here.

Very brief but obligatory ACC Championship Game preview

BOSTON COLLEGE (9-3) vs. VIRGINIA TECH (8-4)
Saturday, 12/6/08, 1pm ET - Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 10-6; the Eagles won October's meeting 28-23
What May or May Not Happen: I find it extremely difficult to believe that the Hokie attack will do much of anything against the ridiculously stout Eagle defense. The mystery factor is how well BC QB Dominique Davis fares in the spotlight, against the best defense he's faced in his very short tenure. I'm betting he handles it well enough. Boston College 24, Virginia Tech 13

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I sure hope I can snag a ticket to the ACC Championship Game...

...that is, if it's still being held. I could've sworn I read a number of articles last year that stated the game was to take place right here in my backyard in Tampa. There are scattered reports out there indicating this is still the case.

But you wouldn't know it driving around town, reading a newspaper, watching the news, or listening to the radio throughout the Bay area. If it's possible for there to be anti-publicity for an event, then that's exactly what's happening with the ACC Championship Game in Tampa this year.

I noticed this a few weeks ago and got a little concerned. My concern intensified this past weekend after the less-than-sexy-but-nonetheless-just rematch of Boston College and Virginia Tech was solidified. Now, it's two freakin' days from the game and I've seen more hype and promotion around town for dental seminars at the convention center than I've seen for this event.

I don't know where the fault ultimately lies, but the city of Tampa and the ACC won't have a single solitary defense when 32k show up for the ACC's crown jewel football event held in a metro area of 3 million people.

As for me, I'm looking forward to getting lower bowl seats at the 50-yd line for pocket change on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Out of Conference Report Delayed

I really need to do some research first before promising things. There's still one non-conference game to be played by a BCS league team next Saturday, and there are still 15 other games scheduled this weekend (actually, starting today) as well. That means 32 teams will have updated W/L records next Sunday which will affect many parts of my analysis. Ergo, I shall wait until next week to post the final regular season Out of Conference Report.

Profuse apologies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Dabo Show gets renewed

Dabo Swinney has been named Clemson's head coach. Of the non-interim variety.

Not to toot my own horn, but I've been saying this was in the works from the beginning, and I'm not so sure if this is the right move. But it's certainly the safe and easy one, for now.


STEVE HOLT!

Slightly Tardy Blog Pollin'

RankTeam
1 Texas
2 Oklahoma
3 Alabama
4 Florida
5 Southern Cal
6 Penn State
7 Texas Tech
8 Utah
9 Ohio State
10 Oklahoma State
11 Boise State
12 Georgia Tech
13 TCU
14 Missouri
15 Mississippi
16 Boston College
17 Ball State
18 Cincinnati
19 Georgia
20 Pittsburgh
21 Oregon
22 North Carolina
23 Oregon State
24 Michigan State
25 Florida State
Dropped Out: none
Discuss. If you want to.

15-8

That would be the ACC's 2008 record vs. other BCS conference opponents - far and away the best record among the big-six leagues.

Second place? The Big East, at 9-7 vs. other BCS conference foes.

More numbers and analysis to come in the final regular season Out of Conference Report on Wednesday.