If the Atlantic Coast Conference wants a seat at the grown-ups table of the BCS, it needs to do something more than show up.
It needs a statement game–OUTSIDE the conference. While other conferences such as the SEC–Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and LSU– the Pac-12–Oregon, Stanford and USC– the Big 12–Texas, West Virginia, Kansas State and Oklahoma–can still flex their muscles and be talked about as serious contenders for the BCS title game, the ACC still is looking for the respect that must be earned.
Florida State is this year’s Designated Team, just as it was a year ago when the hopes of a return to the Top 5 days under Bobby Bowden were on the verge of occurring. Then the Seminoles lost to Oklahoma in September and quickly faded away, not even winning their own division.
A week ago, in the first conference game between two Top 10 ranked ACC teams in five years, FSU ran past Clemson in the second half and posted a solid 49-37 victory.
The ACC desperately needs FSU to run the table, which also means a win over Florida at the end of the regular season and no stumbling in the ACC title game against the designated spoiler–Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech or Miami.
But that is only step one.
Florida State then needs to win the Orange Bowl game in Miami in a decisive fashion and at least get into the discussion of No. 1, even if it gets squeezed out of the BCS title game in Miami a week later.
FSU–at 13–0 should at least be in the discussion of making it to the BCS title game, but it is highly unlikely that the Seminoles can bump an unbeaten SEC team or maybe even a once-beaten SEC team or an unbeaten Big 12 or Pac-12 team from the spot.
If that happens, the ACC and FSU will yell and stomp their feet and talk about the unfairness of a system, which is being expanded to 4 teams for exactly that reason.
But the ACC really doesn’t have much evidence to support its claims for respect–yet. The ACC’s record in BCS games is a woeful 2-12, by far the worst of any of the conferences with automatic BCS bids.
A year ago, the conference earned two BCS bids for the first time–Clemson in the Orange and Virginia Tech in the Sugar. Both teams lost their games. Clemson was embarrassed by West Virginia–70-33.
FSU is poised to make another move. The Seminoles are ranked high enough in the polls (No. 4), they have a Heisman Trophy candidate QB in EJ Manuel. They have name recognition and will get more than enough television exposure.
All they need to do now is to win–and win impressively, starting with South Florida on Saturday.
Star in the making: Miami freshman Duke Johnson, who leads the country in all-purpose yards with 209.5 yards per game….Miami is many things, including a clutch team at the end of games on the road. Since entering the ACC in 2004, the Hurricanes are 4-0 in overtime road games, including last week’s wild 42-36 roller coaster win over Georgia Tech. At home, however, the Canes are 1-4 in overtime games. Go figure…Wake Forest is 12-0 vs Duke under Jim Grobe…FSU has scored 49 or more points in four consecutive games, the first team in ACC history to do that…Duke is 3-1 and has opened the season with three consecutive wins at home for the first time since 1994. More signficantly the Blue Devils are only two wins away from clinching a bowl slot. Yes, that would be 5-7 instead of the required 6-6. But the NCAA passed a rule which allows schools who are in the Top 5 in the latest graduation progress rates to qualify at a game under .500. Duke is No. 2 (behind Northwestern)…Don’t mess with North Carolina in the third Q. The Tar Heels have outscored their opponents 52-0 in the third quarter this season. Don’t give Virginia Tech an opportunity in the Red Zone. The Hokies have scored 10 TDs in 14 Red Zone opportunities.© Copyright 2012 Mark, All rights Reserved. Written For: A Jersey Guy