Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let's Not Get Too Excited, ACC Edition

Local sports pundits (and a few national ones) are all a-twitter over the notion that finally, after roughly 2 decades of saying "NEXT year we're going to be good at football", the ACC has risen up to show its fangs. After all, the evidence is unmistakeable: a high-profile win by the league's best team, Clemson, over a highly ranked SEC opponent (Georgia). Another win by a league team (Miami) over an SEC powerhouse (Florida). And...and...

And that's about it.

Which, to be fair, is more than the ACC usually has this time of year. (One local sports-talk show has turned the word "Clemson" into a verb, as in "They Clemsoned all over themselves" and lost a game they should have won). Those are two good wins, and more power to Al Golden as he rebuilds that wretched hive of scum and villainy down in Coral Gables into something approximating the team that the league thought it was getting when it first raided the Big East, lo, these many moons ago.

Let us not forget, however, that:

  • New kid Syracuse got hammered by Northwestern
  • Perennial 7-5 Carquest Tire Bowl league rep NC State barely beat FCS school Richmond, 23-21
  • Virginia got pureed by Oregon, 59-10
  • The week before, UNC got clobbered by a bored South Carolina team, and traditional league powerhouse Virginia Tech got brutalized by Alabama. 
So two signature wins is nice. It's two more than the ACC usually has at this point of the season, and the Clemsoning has been kept to a minimum. Last year at this time, after all, Miami had just been pulverized by K-State, and Stanford had just made Duke scallopine, while the league's biggest nonconf win was over Temple. Call it progress; I certainly won't argue. 

It's only two data points, though, which means it's a little early to get excited yet. And with very few non-cupcake non-league games left on the ACC collective schedule this year - it's BC-USC and then nada interesting until you get to Notre Dame-Pitt in week 11 - I'm not sure you can declare a full-blown ACC revival to be in swing.

Who knows, though. Maybe BC will handle the stumbling Trojans. Maybe Pitt will steal back the game against the Irish they let slip away last year. Maybe Clemson won't Clemson all over itself in their season ender against SC, and GT will handle Georgia, and Wake Forest, God help us all, will deal with Vandy. Maybe they'll run off another 4-2 bowl record like they did last year, in which case, hey, it's OK to start thinking big.

But I'm not sold yet, and you probably shouldn't be, either. 
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