Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So When Did the ACC Atlantic Become the Big XII North?

Jeff: With the announcement yesterday that the Wake Forest game will not be picked up by Raycom or an ESPN network, we're forced to wonder: will any BC games get a big spotlight like an ABC 3:30 or ESPN night game. Unfortunately, the answer is probably not, at least not the home games.

Now if North Carolina or NC State are ranked when the Eagles play them and BC has 1 or fewer losses, that may all change (but that is obviously unlikely). But BC may win the Atlantic Division this year ... how can that be?

Well, I've realized that the ACC Atlantic Division more resembles the Big XII North of the past few years. While Big XII football is very good, all the powerhouses are in the South Division and whoever wins the North is sure to annually be a big underdog in the Big XII Championship Game. Nationally, their has been little-to-no interest in games involving two Big XII North opponents the last few years with the exception of Kansas-Missouri two years ago. Sadly, this will be the same for the ACC Atlantic this year. Throughout the season, some Atlantic Division programs may be ranked (be it Boston College, Florida State, Clemson or NC State), but nationally they will not get any interest because of the offseason and their showing in the first couple weeks of this season. Meanwhile, whichever ACC Coastal team emerges (be it North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech or Miami (Fla.)) will be heavily favored in the ACC Championship Game.

How many other times after the second week of the season have we been able to say that the Boston College-Florida State game has no chance of hosting ESPN's College Game Day? Not to mention the chances of getting any prime time games - especially at home - are slim without being thrown the "ESPNU 7pm game" bone. Looking back at my lack of interest in the Big XII North the past few seasons, I don't blame ESPN one bit.

Brian: It is still way too early to call the ACC Atlantic the Big XII North. To be fair, the ACC Atlantic will never be the Big XII North so long as Florida State and NC State are members of the Atlantic Division. The fact that Boston College vs. Wake Forest isn't on national television can be attributed to a few key facts about the September 26 game lineup.

For one, the two big heavyweight ACC matchups of the week happens to be the Coastal Division matchups between Miami (Fla.)-Virginia Tech (picked up by ESPN/ABC) and North Carolina-Georgia Tech (picked up by Raycom). After those two games are scooped up by TV, two of the biggest ACC schools left on the board – Florida State and NC State – happen to play non-conference games both against Big East opponents. As these schools will be two of the better remaining television draws, they get placed on ESPNU. That leaves Rutgers at Maryland, Wake Forest at Boston College, and TCU at Clemson for ESPN360.com.

Does it suck that the one Atlantic Division matchup of the weekend is being overshadowed by two Coastal Division matchups? Sure, but those four Coastal programs may all be ranked Top 25 nationally next week. Do TCU and Clemson have a gripe for not being placed on national TV? Definitely. At the end of the day, though, it's all about ranked opponents, compelling matchups and TV ratings. By the un-luck of the draw this week, BC's game against Wake Forest will be relegated to the internet.

Simply, it all depends on the ACC college football lineup from week to week. There is still a good chance that Florida State vs. BC will be the late afternoon game or a night game on the weekend of October 3. The only better matchup that weekend is Oklahoma at Miami (Fla.) which will likely be picked up by ESPN/ABC in primetime.

Jeff: Not if Florida State loses to BYU as you predict and everyone expects.

Brian: Maybe so. But if BC doesn't benefit from any primetime or nationally televised ACC games this season, there will definitely be Atlantic Division matchups that get the national TV nod over Coastal matchups. It just so happens that the best Coastal Division matchups this season all happen in the first six weeks of the year, while many of the heavyweight Atlantic matchups not involving the Eagles (Florida State-Clemson, Florida State-NC State, Clemson-NC State) fall later in the year.

And lest I forget the number one reason why the Atlantic Division will remain relevant when it comes to TV rights and scheduling: Duke and Virginia are still on the other side. The fact that the four best Coastal teams face off against one another next weekend happened to be a perfect storm of bad luck for BC, Wake Forest, TCU and Clemson.

While I don't agree that the Atlantic has become the Big XII North, there is still the possibility that the Coastal closely resembles last year's Big XII South ... at least when it comes to the final division standings.


BCMike said...

I'm just pissed because running a gamewatch w/ESPN360 is a pain in my rear. I thought it was over and done with.

Raj said...

Gamewatches with espn360 are tough. Real tough. Its great when rich gunnell teleports from the 40 to the 20.

Erik said...

It's interesting to think that if Christian Ponder throws the ball 3 inches higher, which is completely possilbe for a D1 QB to accomplish, that FSU is "back" and All-Everything, and Miami is ready to fire Randy Shannon and destined for a computers bowl.

Or maybe you're just jumping the gun a little early.

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