Friday, June 27, 2003

Everybody's All-American

Superstar defensive back Justin Miller in action against Maryland last season. Miller, who is a sophomore, has been named to numerous preseason All-American teams.(Photo courtesy of TigerNet.)
Another college football blog

I've been googling for college football Weblogs, and here's one I stumbled across that looks promising. (In other words, it hasn't been idle since 2002.)

Amazingly enough, it's called The College Football Blog. I like that; simple, elegant, straight to the point.

Give it a look.
New ACC logo: "A$$"

That's one of the funnier lines in this column on ACC expansion by Jon Solomon of the Anderson Independent Mail. (I love the headline, too: "Doing the Hokie Pokey turns ACC around.")

Yep, the ACC made an ass out of itself in this whole expansion thing. What should have been a dazzling run into the future turned into a Chris Bermanesque "rumblin' bumblin' stumblin" seven-yard gain. It's not even a done deal yet; Virginia Tech is certain to accept the offer, but ESPN says Miami has gotten a counter-offer from the Big East and won't announce its decision until Monday.

Will this story ever end?

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

See, ours goes to 11...

It looks like the ACC has voted to expand to an unwieldy 11 teams, adding just Miami and Virginia Tech. Boston College and Syracuse were apparently deemed "too Northern."

I'm glad the ACC is expanding, and I always wanted Virginia Tech and Miami in the mix, but this isn't the way to do it. Scheduling is going to be a nightmare. Couldn't we have pursued West Virginia to ensure balanced divisions and keep the whole regional thing intact? At the very least, we'd get Rich Rodriguez back in the league.

Everyone seems to be blaming Duke and UNC for screwing it up. That's about par for the course. They only care about themselves and their seats at the ACC basketball tournament, not the success of the league as a whole.

They suck.

I still think a 16-team league could work. I hope it's part of the ACC's long-range planning, and this wimpy two-team bump is a) a way to placate the teams that feel queasy about expansion, and b) the first move in a more visionary, long-term growth plan. Maybe they're thinking that if they take a couple of Big East teams now, then the other teams will be enticed (or forced by economic circumstances) to join later, perhaps after guarantees from the TV industry that a reasonably compact 16-team league encompassing the biggest schools and media markets on the East Coast would get a record-setting TV contract.

We'll see what happens.

Monday, June 23, 2003

A different take on expansion

A poster over at the Tigernet's message board has an interesting take on the potential for a 16-team ACC I described below. Where I offered a plan for two eight-team divisions, Gopaws4 suggests four four-team divisions:

North: Syracuse, BC, UConn, Pittsburgh (I would have chosen Rutgers over UConn, but no biggie)

Mid Atlantic: Maryland, West Virginia, Va Tech, Virginia

Tobacco Road: North Carolina, Duke, Wake, NC State

South: Clemson, Ga Tech, Miami, FSU

This plan makes a lot of sense regionally, but I don't know if the NCAA will allow a four-team tournament to determine the ACC football champion. I'm still keen on my two-division plan. It preserves the majority of the matchups that already exist and throws in some interesting games each year (i.e. Clemson vs. Syracuse). Of course, there are some dog games, too (Duke-Rutgers immediately jumps to mind).

If that doesn't make everyone happy, you could even diagram out an SEC-like scenario where each team in each division has a permanent opponent in the other division (for example, I'm sure Virginia would want to continue its 100-year-old series with North Carolina, and Maryland might like to play N.C. State every year). And a permanent Syracuse-Florida State game every year would be a hell of a draw -- as would a permanent Clemson-Virginia Tech series.

I don't buy the argument advanced by some sports pundits that a 16-team ACC would face the same fate as the WAC when it grew to 16 teams. The 16-team WAC was absolutely unmanageable. It was spread across 4,000 miles and five time zones, from Houston to Honolulu. A 16-team ACC is much more compact. With divisions that are geographically logical, most schools would continue squaring off against opponents they've been playing for years.

Not only that, but imagine the TV contract that could be fetched by a league that includes the markets of Miami, Atlanta, the Charlotte-Greensboro-Raleigh corridor, Washington-Baltimore, New York and Boston. In other words, virtually the entire East Coast.

To paraphrase Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein: IT....COULD....WORK!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Supersize the ACC!

Hey, here's a crazy idea for ACC expansion. How about no expansion at all?

Instead, how about a merger? Or, more precisely, a mega-merger?

I'm talking about a merger of the ACC and the Big East into a 16-team mega-conference. It's a pretty bold idea, but it could work, and here's how it would look:

ACC North: Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers.

ACC South: Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest.

Now that the NCAA has cleared the way for colleges to play 12 regular-season games, the football schedule would shake out like this:

Each league member would play the other seven teams in its division every year, and either two, three or four teams from the other division each year. (One of those non-division games could be a permanent opponent.) The division winners would meet in a championship game at, say, FedEx Field near Washington, D.C. (roughly a geographical midpoint for the league).

This plan, while ambitious, makes sense geographically and preserves virtually all of the rivalries that are already in place. (Clemson's main ACC rivals would all be in the same division, and the North Carolina teams would stay together, too, which should make them happy.)

It goes without saying that this would be a hell of a basketball league, too.

Mega-conferences are clearly the wave of the future, especially if we want to set up a college football playoff system. Why not do it right and make the ACC a mega mega-conference?

UPDATE: This guy says no league has successfully expanded beyond 12 teams, and cites the WAC (!!) as an example. I'm sorry, but we're not talking about a bunch of podunk schools in the high plains that are 1,000 miles apart. We're talking about major universities in the most densely populated area of the country. A 16-team ACC could work.

Monday, June 16, 2003

ACC expansion thoughts

I've been following the ACC expansion story for the past few weeks, and I've got to say I'm cautiously optimistic about what I'm hearing. I heartily support the addition of Miami to the league. That will make the ACC a serious football power and force the other teams in the league to work hard to stay competitive.

However, I really have to wonder what Syracuse or Boston College could bring to the league other than big TV markets. Granted, a Syracuse-Duke basketball game would be a big draw, but I think it'll be hard to get too excited about teams that are geographically so far away from the rest of the league.

I know it's all about the money, and I'm sure that will drive all other considerations aside, but I think an argument can be made that adding Virginia Tech could help guarantee at least one large TV market. Let me explain.

I live in Northern Virginia, and can personally attest to the huge number of Virginia Tech grads and fans in this area. I see more bumper stickers for Tech than UVA, and their fans are a much larger presence at sports bars than the Wahoos' are. A lot of the opposition to Virginia Tech joining the league is based on the idea that Roanoke is a relatively small TV market, but I think that misses the point. Virginia Tech enjoys huge statewide support, and Northern Virginia is overwhelmingly the largest population center in the state. Furthermore, Northern Virginia is part of the D.C.-Baltimore market, which is something like the fourth-biggest MSA in the country.

In short, games involving UVA, Maryland and Virginia Tech would be big TV draws in the D.C. market.

I think any expansion the ACC makes should at least make sense regionally. Adding Virginia Tech along with Miami would ensure that, as well as locking up the D.C. market.

Then again, just adding Miami would be OK, too.

So long, Rodney

I'm a little late getting to this, but I see that Clemson's radio network has decided to boot Rodney Williams from the color commentary chair and replace him with Will Merritt. (OK, Rodney resigned to "spend more time with his family." Whatever.)

Good move.

Rodney Williams was a productive if unspectacular quarterback (he's the winningest QB in school history, if I recall) but a very inadequate broadcaster.

I've never heard Merritt on the radio, but he's got some experience. I'll be looking forward to seeing how he interacts with Jim Phillips.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

I'm back again -- sort of

Well, I completely missed an entire football season! That's mainly because I was busy running another blog, and I've ignored this site. Hopefully that will change this year. And, I'm going to start by linking to this article about the preseason praise being heaped on the Tigers' super defensive back, Justin Miller.

Millier is a bad man, and I hope he has a fantastic season. I also hope Charlie Whitehurst has a great year. We seriously need to raise the level of play, especially with ACC expansion in the works and the looming prospect of playing Florida State AND Miami every year.

Hopefully l will be able to make this year's season opener against Georgia. I intended to go to last year's game in Athens with my dad, but a freak incident put the kibosh on that. Dad got swarmed by bees in his bathroom the day we were going to go to the game. He was fine, but it was a little scary.