This item just showed up on my RSS reader: The ACC led all conferences in Pro Bowl selections in 2008. That's cute.
The ACC has plenty of things to be proud of on the football side of things. It usually leads college football in draft picks and first-round picks. Its players succeed at the next level. It had the best win percentage against BCS non-conference teams in 2008. A record 10 teams qualified for bowls this season.
However, its champion and BCS participant (and team this blog follows) is 9-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play. Compare that with all the conference champ-eens:
Mountain West: Utah (12-0, 8-0)
WAC: Boise State (12-0, 8-0)
Big 12: Oklahoma (12-1, 7-1)
SEC: Florida (12-1, 7-1)
Big Ten: Penn State (11-1, 7-1)
Pac 10: USC (11-1, 8-1)
Big East: Cincinnati (11-2, 6-1)
CUSA: East Carolina (9-4, 6-2)
ACC: Virginia Tech (9-4, 5-3)
Sun Belt: Troy (8-4, 6-1)
MAC: Buffalo (8-5, 5-3)
It's a good thing Buffalo beat Ball State or else the Hokies would have braggin' rights over Troy and that's it.
Parity was great for the league this year. It was by far the most exciting league race to watch in college football this year. But real respect doesn't come from having players succeed at the next level or by putting 10 teams in bowls.
The ACC can definitely hang its hat on having the best record against BCS opponents and on going 6-4 against God's Conference this year. But what the ACC really needs is for a team to separate itself and be in the discussion for the BCSCG.
A lot was made of Texas, Oklahoma and Florida battling for the two spots and USC and Penn State's attractive resumes. Those teams were talked about on SportsCenter. The ACC and its exciting conference race obviously was not. It was fun for us to watch, but no one else was watching.
The ACC is a tremendous conference for all sports, including football. But parity is only fun for a short while. Seasons like 2008 are great every now and then, but the ACC needs a team to step up and have a chance to play for the national title. It should have been Clemson this year. Hopefully it will be the Hokies next year.
Once we have a team contend for and win the national championship, we can go back to having a season with the kind of parity we saw this year. Then, people outside of the ACC will actually watch.