As we’re now less than a week away from the ACC‘s first bowl action (Advocare 100 Independence Bowl on December 26), it’s worth taking a second to look at how the conference has performed in bowl games of late. For the sake of this article, we’ll just take a look at the league starting in 2005 — the first year featuring the full 12 teams. Syracuse and Pittsburgh‘s results will also be included for comparison. As you may have heard, ESPN ran a debate between its ACC and Big East bloggers on Monday. While they could’ve led off with any number of terrible statistics about either league, they led with the conference’s losing bowl record in recent years. We’ll attempt (using that term loosely) to defend some honor here today.
First argument: “The ACC is terrible in the postseason”
Sadly, this one has credence since 2005, though nothing a positive bowl season this year can’t fix. Since 2005, the conference is 22-26 in bowl games. The last time they had a .500 record, however, was 2006 (4-4 overall). Since that point, things have gone from horrendous (2-6 record in 2007) to disappointing (4-6 after placing a conference-record 10 teams in the postseason), to just mediocre (4-5 in 2010). So we’re on the upswing! (false enthusiasm) As much as we’d like to start dispelling some myths here, this first argument is unfortunately deemed a fact.
Second argument: “The ACC performs poorly vs. BCS-conference competition in bowl games”
Once again, I’m the bearer of bad news. The ACC is actually even WORSE against fellow BCS competition in bowl games since 2005 than they are overall. Of the 41 matchups against BCS representatives in that time frame, the league has only won 16 of them. Needless to say, no one’s impressed. Like the overall W-L record however, there is some reason to believe better times are ahead. After starting off with a 4-3 record in these games back in 2005, the league plummeted to 2-4, then 2-5 and finally 2-6 in 2008 (all aboard the shame train). The year 2009 would mark a rebound at 3-4, and they actually pulled even at 3-3 last season. While it’s no guarantee, the trend (once again) appears to be heading upward. Still, this argument is very true for now.
Third argument: “The ACC does not show up to play in BCS bowl games”
I’ll start off by saying that this argument has been hammered home since November, especially after the league got two teams into the BCS for the first time in its history. Worst of all, there isn’t even a defense for the ACC here. The conference has gone 1-5 in BCS games since 2005 — the only win coming courtesy of Virginia Tech, in very unimpressive fashion versus Cincinnati after the 2008 season. The final black eye? Their only other BCS victory came all the way back in January of 2000, when Florida State beat current conference rival Virginia Tech. So other than those two games, losses across the board. Needless to say, ugly. And it makes the argument 100 percent true.
Once the league’s bowl games start up, we’ll be providing previews for each contest, so expect much more detail and breadth there. In the meantime, however, a look at each team’s recent bowl performances (since 2005):
Boston College 3-3 (1-2 vs. BCS teams)
Clemson 2-4 (2-4 vs. BCS teams)
Florida State 5-2 (5-2 vs. BCS teams)
Georgia Tech 0-6 (0-3 vs. BCS teams)
Maryland 3-1 (1-1 vs. BCS teams)
Miami 1-4 (0-4 vs. BCS teams)
North Carolina 1-2 (1-2 vs. BCS teams)
NC State 2-1 (2-1 vs. BCS teams)
Pittsburgh 2-1 (2-1 vs. BCS teams)
Syracuse 1-0 (1-0 vs. BCS teams)
Virginia 1-1 (1-1 vs. BCS teams)
Virginia Tech 3-3 (3-3 vs. BCS teams)
Wake Forest 1-1 (1-1 vs. BCS teams)
*Some parting shot side notes:
- The Hurricanes were supposed to add instant credibility in football, yet have won just one bowl game since ’05 (none against a BCS team)
- The two pieces of the first Big East defection that were not considered essential (VPI and BC), however, are a combined 6-6 in bowl games
- The Wolfpack surprisingly sport a better bowl W-L than big brother UNC
- Clemson and Georgia Tech have been terrible in bowls lately — just two wins for the Tigers and nothing for the ‘Wreck in six tries.
- Florida State is still carrying the banner, winning nearly almost a third of all games versus BCS competition (5 of 16 total victories) — the Seminoles and Hokies are the only teams to win more than two bowl games versus BCS competition since ’05