Yep!!! You read the title correctly. As a somewhat belligerent FSU fan, I've become even the more when I keep hearing the garbage put out by the media regarding the ACC. In my opinion, on the surface, we may look futile in comparison to the big SEC (Schools Excusing Criminals)or other conferences, but if we take a look with an unbiased eye, we can see that the ACC is vastly different entity in college football than what most portray. Most of what I'm going to say is factual based with opinionated commentary.
Many college football fans take a look at the ACC and say " You guys are a basketball conference only" or "You guys play a weak schedule." Is this true? Depending if that person is a human being or an SEC fan. I look at the ACC and see nothing but greatness. GREATNESS!?!?!?! Yep, thats right, greatness. What do I mean? Let's put this in perspective here. The ACC is recongnized as a premier conference among BCS leagues when it comes to academics. On September 13, 2011 it was reported that the ACC was the top academic conference. Stanford of course was the number one school. The ACC had 7 schools in the Top 40 (Duke, UVA, Wake Forest, NC,BC, GT, UM). How many did the SEC have? You guessed it, one. That school is VANDY, the bottom feeder of the conference (you'll see my point in a minute). The fact that this confernece carries that reputation says a lot about the type of men we are recruiting and putting back into society.
"So what, I want Championships!!!" We all do, but in truth I rather applaud a league where the term "STUDENT-athlete" means something. I'm not discounting the fact that National Championships should be a realistic goal for many of the teams in the ACC, but we must realize and embrace who we are. Who are we then?
We are a confernece that recruits young men who plan on contributing more to society than just three hours on entertainment on a Saturday. These men go and become NFL stars, engineers, and lawyers from the best universites available. "OK get back to football...."
Alrighty does Fred Biletnikoff ring a bell. What about John Heisman. These men are former ACC greats who now have two of the most prestigous awards in sports given with their names associated. Not only were these men great at athleics, but were wonderful human beings. Lets not play the ACC low on NFL production either. No, the ACC doesn't produce a lot of first round guys, but we have produced players that have came in and made contributions to their respective teams and have done so for long periods of time. Calvin Johnson, Ronde Barber, Julius Peppers, Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers. These are just some of the guys who've made noise in the NFL and have been doing so at the same high level for some time now. Name me some from the SEC besides being name Peyton Manning.
Lets not forget guys, like Anquan Boldin, Antonion Cromartie, Frank Gore, Willis Mcgahee. As a matter of fact, as of January 26, 2011 the ACC had led all conferences with NFL Pro Bowl players with 24. What did the mighty SEC have? They finished second with 15. Also, at that time, it was the third year in a row the ACC had done so. Back to my name calling rant, Andre Johnson, Ed Reed, Jonathan Vilma, Jeff Saturday, Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett, Ray Lewis, Reggie Wayne.
Wanna go a little deeper. Lets dig!!! Deion Sanders, Lawerence Taylor, Bruce Smith, Warrick Dunn, Brad Johnson (maybe??), Bill Romanowski,Rickey Proehl, Thomas Jones,...Alrighty I think you get the point.
Back to my main point, ACC fans should be proud to be part of a league that promotes the values that matter most. Developing men and women who help develop society. My favorite example of that are guys like Warrick Dunn, who is my favorite NOLE of all time by the way. If you don't know his story, look it up and I think you will also recongnize why Seminole Nation loves Chris Thompson also.
Anyway, don't be fooled into believing that our favorite players and schools are a bunch of kids with lackluster talent. These men are second to none. Do you know why the ACC has produced such wonderful NFL talent. These guys no what it is like to be the only one your team can rely on so when they get to the NFL, it's nothing new to them.
"What about the dominant teams of the SEC?" cries some ACC fan. Money not only can buy you the best coaches, recruiters, facilities, but it also can buy you the best players. Take it how you want it. Truth is, in the SEC, the school with the booming pocket book always win. Yes, those teams are dominant, but how dominant are you when all the best players are spread amongst 2-3 teams. The truth shows up when these guys get to the league and can't last. They are used to having the dominant team surrounding them but in the league, everyone has can play and now you have to produce against "truly" equal talent.
"Used guyz aint's playin nobody" yells a SEC fan (get it?). Well lets take a look at our OOC schedule for 2012 (I'm cool if you wanna deduct points for rivals schools.) NOTRE DAME (3), Penn State, KANSAS STATE, West Virginia,TCU, SOUTH CAROLINA, UGA, FLORIDA, STANFORD. Still not convinced lets take a look at 2010-11. Oklahoma, Stanford, Ohio State, Notre Dame,Alabama. Let's take a look at the 2012 SEC OOCS.
Missouri: Southeastern Louisiana, Arizona State, at Central Florida, Syracuse
South Carolina: East Carolina, Alabama-Birmingham, Wofford, at Clemson.
Florida: Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, at Florida State
Alabama: Michigan at Arlington, Texas; Western Kentucky; Florida Atlantic; Western Carolina.
Mississippi: Central Arkansas, Texas-El Paso, Texas, Tulane
Auburn: Clemson at Atlanta, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State, Alabama A&M
Vanderbilt: at Northwestern, Presbyterian, Massachusetts, at Wake Forest
Georgia: Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech
Tennessee: North Carolina State at Atlanta, Georgia State, Akron, Troy
LSU: North Texas, Washington, Idaho, Towson
Arkansas: Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Monroe, Rutgers, Tulsa
Texas A&M: at Louisiana Tech, at SMU, South Carolina State, Sam Houston State
Mississippi State: Jackson State, at Troy, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee.
Outside of the SEC, the ACC has played 3 top 10 teams, outside the conference, two of which were competing for a NC. The SEC? 1. Our records weren't that good, but we are in the middle of a lot of programs rebuilding with first-third year coaches.
You are probably tired of me running of names and numbers by now so I'm going to wind it down. If I can leave anything with you it's this. Stand behind your conference. The money isn't the best, so what. They aren't paying us anyway. We ought to be proud of the young men we recruit, knowing they are more than just another athlete, but men of value and integrity. It's beena down year, but we have some quality football programs that produce quailty talent. FSU and Clemson right now are leading the pack, but more times than not, VT and GT are 9-10 win teams. With programs resurging "slowly" like North Carolina and Miami expect a more solid ACC to come .*Forgot about ND coming into scheduled play". But in the mean time, stand behind your confernce and its honourable credentials with the upmost credence and maybe you will persuade more young men with the same attributes to come join. The national persepction won't change about the ACC until ours does.P.S. I would ask that people keep a mature mind about their responses. If you respond I would like some insight on why the ACC continues to underachieve but produce so much quality NFL talent. Also if you want to check my numbers on anything, GOOGLE will provide all the information you need.