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How many games will ACC football win against BCS conferences?

The Key Play

On this Memorial Day, let's remember that all gave some, and some gave all. And enjoy this Florida State football round table.

1) How many of these games against other BCS conferences will the ACC win? Would you be more surprised if the ACC won two or seven?

8/29 North Carolina @ South Carolina (Charlotte)
8/31 Georgia @ Clemson
8/31 Virginia Tech vs Alabama (neutral)
8/31 Penn State @ Syracuse
9/7 Florida @ Miami
9/7 Syracuse @ Northwestern
9/7 Oregon @ Virginia
9/14 Boston College @ USC
9/21 West Virginia @ Maryland
9/28 Miami @ USF
11/9 Notre Dame @ Pitt
11/30 Wake Forest @ Vanderbilt
11/30 Clemson @ South Carolina
11/30 Florida St @ Florida
11/30 Georgia @ Georgia Tech

DA-2: 3 - 12. Would be more surprised if the ACC won seven. I can't even picture seven wins. FSU v. Florida, Florida v. Miami and North Carolina v. South Carolina were the only three games I thought maybe, possibly. I'm even predicting Clemson not to choke, which is never an easy thing to predict. It's going to be a tough year for the ACC.

NT&T: Tough slate, hard to imagine the ACC cracking .500 with this lineup. Clemson/UGA, Miami/UF, Syracuse/NW, Miami/USF, Clemson/SC, and FSU/UF are the only games that will even be competitive IMO. Injuries will play a factor into the last few games that may turn the tables, but I'd imagine the SEC dominates the ACC this year.

Kyle: In all honesty, I can only see the ACC winning 3 of these matchups, 4 at the most. I believe it's going to be a down year for the ACC, and most of these matchups do not favor the ACC squad. I would be more surprised if the ACC won seven rather than two.

JMNPB: [Predicted 5.9 aggregate wins] I'd be more surprised if the ACC won seven. There's a fair amount of toss up type games, but the ACC hasn't done much to assuage my doubts of their quality.

OBR: I analyzed the wins/losses using win shares. I have only one ACC team as a favorite - Miami at USF, but not by much. Doing win shares puts the total wins just over 5, which I think is possible, but would require 4 upsets. Upsets happen (if Pitt makes one kick against ND, we gave a different title game #goacc), but asking for 4 with this set of games is tough. So despite the win shares being closer to 7 than 2, I would say 7 wins would be more surprising than 2. A reasonable estimate for total wins should be around 4.

DK: I have the ACC slated to win 5.3 of these 15 games. I guess that says I’d be more surprised with the Conference winning two than seven, but given the abysmal performances of the past, I can’t commit to that with a full heart.

Ricobert1: That's a win share of 5.95, or just under 6-9. So I think two Ws would be much more surprising than seven. Then again, I only have two of these games where the ACC is the favorite.

Evenflow58: I didn't do any win shares but I'd give the ACC 5 wins.

FrankDNole: ACC= 6-9. I would be more surprised if the ACC only won 2 of these games, and the ACC should be thrilled if they come close to 7 wins.

Mass Nole: I actually think the ACC CAN win 7 but I would be more surprised if the ACC ACTUALLY wins 7.

Bud: I have this at about 4.5 wins aggregate, which is why I posed the question of 2 or 7. I think the chances of 7 are slightly better than 2, because upsets happen more often than people realize.

2) Which game not involving Florida State are you most excited to watch?

DA-2: Can I pick two? I'm excited to see Clemson v. Georgia and Miami v. UF. Clemson v. Georgia could set a tone that the ACC does have talent at the top should Clemson beat Georgia. Miami v. UF is an in-state rivalry game that only comes every so often. If I had to chose, it has to be Miami v. Florida.

NT&T: Of the above, Clemson/UGA and Clemson/SC. I think the ACC is Clemson's to lose and I'll be interested to see how they fair against the SEC, especially if they represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl. Let's see if Venables has made strides with that defense yet.

Kyle: The Battle of the Seminole War Canoe. Miami and UF need to bring back their annual matchup. I recognize it will probably never come back, but it's good for the pageantry of college football in the state of Florida, and I love to see those two rivals play each other (if you can tolerate all the hideous orange on one field). As a 'Nole, I still believe that without the UF-UM game, no one can truly claim to be the state champion except FSU. I'm also fairly excited for the Week 1 matchup between Clemson and UGA, as it also used to be a fairly noted rivalry given the geographical proximity. My expectations for the ACC teams in both matchups are low.

JMNPB: Miami vs UF, no doubt. I think the timing of the game is in Miami's favor. An upset from Miami over a team likely to be preseason top 10 would be great for the conference, and would make FSU-Miami that much better of an atmosphere. Just wish it wasn't a noon game.

OBR: I'm excited to watch Miami vs. Florida for a couple reasons. Florida and Miami fans will call this game a rivalry. A home and home once every decade isn't a rivalry. Point is, this game used to be a rivalry and it should be again. Florida and Miami should play every year. Where Miami is as a program now, UF shouldn't be too scared to add them back to their annual schedule. Are the mighty Gators still afraid after all this time? Second reason, this is an early season match-up between two (REAL) FSU rivals. This game gives fans a chance to see how much progress each program has made in the early part of the season and adjust expectations accordingly. I will also be rooting for both teams to somehow lose.

DK: I am most excited to watch the Clemson-Georgia game than any other not involving Florida State. In no small part to be able to remark that Mark Richt has lost control of Sammy Watkins. It’s also another case study into whether larger, SEC style defenses really pose the biggest problem for Chad Morris or if there’s something about Steve Spurrier that causes Clemson to Clemson more forcefully than normal.

Ricobert1: Notre Dame at Michigan:

Evenflow58: While the Pitt game just became more interesting I think I'm most excited for the end of the year ACC/SEC games. After all this is where the ACC can show what the gap is between the conferences. Those end of the year games will leave a longer lasting impression, IMO. I'm also interested in UNC/USC as I think UNC could surprise some folks this year.

FrankDNole: I don't know if excited is the right work, but UM vs. UF is the one that interest me most of all these matchups, although ND vs. Pitt just got a little more interesting with ND's QB situation. I can only pray that UM and UF destroy each others players with non-career ending injuries, and the coaches and fans from both schools get infected from the E.coli outbreak that will be running rampant all throughout Joe Robbie Stadium in early September.

Mass Nole: Clemson v. Georgia intrigues me the most. Mostly because I want to see how the Clemson offense responds after losing multiple elite skill players. The Clemson D will still be pretty weak IMO.

Bud: Florida and Miami. I do this for a living, so I always love it when two future opponents play each other. It cuts down on my weekly review time.

3) Which of FSU's ACC opponents (Miami, Pitt, Syracuse, Clemson, Maryland, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Boston College) is the biggest mystery to you at this point?

DA-2: Miami is the biggest mystery to me. I'm most curious to see what Coley will become outside of Fisher's spotlight. Some argued early on that Coley would've done well as an OC if Fisher let him shine. Others thought he was merely a recruiter. Syracuse and NC State both lose drafted QB's; Syracuse further losing their head coach to Buffalo. Clemson loses Hopkins and Ellington, but return the best ACC QB and best ACC WR. I'm not sure what to make of Wake Forest, Boston College, and Maryland other than being low ceiling teams.

NT&T: I'll say NC State over the obligatory Miami/Coley reference. I'm very interested to see how their personnel fits the new schemes on offense and they just grabbed QB/WR hybrid Brandon Mitchell from Arkansas. He is by no means a great QB but I'm interested to see how they'll utilize him and play to his strengths.

Kyle: I would pick NC State, followed closely by Miami. You never quite know what you are going to get with NC State. They are bringing in a new coaching staff and will play a new QB with the graduation of Glennon (I'm particularly interested to see what they do with the Mitchell transfer from Arkansas). I don't like their chances against us in Tallahassee playing a revenge game next year, but of all the teams we face in the ACC, they are biggest question mark in my book at this point.

JMNPB: NC State. Completely new direction. Bringing in two solid QB's via transfer. Not particularly worried about them as a 2013 opponent, but the 2014 date in Carter Finley will be interesting.

OBR: The biggest mystery (read as "to lose to them would be a nightmare") would be Miami. They have Morris back who threw over 3300 yards and a bunch of other returning players. Question is, what quantity of that returning experience will be quality? Will Miami, despite having a very good, methodical offense last year be able to stop, well, anyone on defense? They were ranked 120 last year in total defense (unadjusted). What should be considered a reasonable improvement with the returning number of snaps? Maybe 80 or 60? Just getting to 60 would be a huge improvement but would that be enough to make them a 8-10 win team? Mysteries abound.

DK: It’s a tie between Syracuse and NC State for me. Both had coaching turnover and lose their quarterbacks. The Cuse has the added factor of being new to the ACC so I never had to know anything about them before, and so I didn’t. NC State is fascinating to me. I think they fired TOB out of misplaced faith in what they could be as a football program in a division with FSU and Clemson. I could see the move being either moderately successful or an utter trainwreck. Not a lot of middle ground for the Pack, in my opinion.

Ricobert1: NC State returns 12 starters, which is second-to-last-place FSU (11). Add in a new coach, and who knows what they have.

Evenflow58: Syracuse has to be the biggest mystery for FSU considering all they've lost. I don't think they'll be FSU's biggest challenge but certainly the biggest mystery.

FrankDNole: Miami. Despite my intense hatred, I have a bad feeling the insufferable pricks are going to have a 9 win season.

Mass Nole: I'm going with Maryland, their D was pretty good last year and they were on the field a ton. The offense will obviously be better with an actual QB and Diggs is a stud.

Bud: Boston College. They were awful last year and I wonder how much was roster and how much was just giving up on the head coach.

4) What is more damaging to the conference? Teams like N.C. State and Duke not scheduling any BCS conference opponents, or mid/bottom-tier teams like Virginia and Boston College scheduling the heavies from other conferences like Oregon and USC?

DA-2: Teams like Virginia and Boston College getting blown out is never good for the conference. Sports writer can be a bit lazy (no offense, Bud). They always reference the conference's win-loss to make their arguments on superior conference. They MAY reference the teams played after the fact. I'd much rather commentators wonder about the ACC's bottom than know for a fact that the ACC's bottom is bad.

NT&T: Easily the ACC bottom-feeders serving as cupcake games for very good teams from other conferences. It does nothing positive for the Virginias and BCs or for the conference reputation. At least FCS cupcakes get a nice paycheck for their struggling program budgets.

Kyle: I would prefer to see better quality matchups between the top teams in the ACC and the top teams in other conferences. You can't expect UVA or BC to go in and pull upsets against an Oregon or USC, and that looks bad for the ACC. This is particularly true after a UVA or a BC pulls an upset of a FSU or a Clemson, as they have tended to do on more-than-frequent occasions the past few years. I like the Clemson-UGA matchup, and even the Miami-UF matchup, as an entertainment value and a chance for the conference to test and prove itself, but I worry even in those matchups that the ACC team will lose (and lose ugly), which in turn gives everyone a chance to say, "Oh look how far behind the ACC is to everyone else" once again this upcoming year.

JMNPB: The ACC getting slaughtered in games like UVA-Oregon and BC-USC is not good. The conference, top to bottom, needs to schedule smarter. Including VT-Bama. I'm not sure when that was originally scheduled, but if it was 2009 or later, the VT AD made a huge mistake. Games like UNC-USCe, Clemson-UGA, Maryland-WVU make sense. Schedule games against equal or lesser opponents from major conferences. The ACC getting killed in out of conference games doesn't help the already poor perception of the ACC.

Clemson is doing it right. FSU is (beginning) to do it right. Play big names in big games that are winnable. Clemson has played Auburn and UGA recently. I'd rather see a team like NCSU or Duke not schedule a BCS opponent than get blown out by one. Inflate your records.

OBR: Scheduling that damages a conference. Is there such a thing? Suppose so. Certainly the media aspect. Question is, how much of this damage hurts teams like FSU and Clemson. It is hard to tell teams like Virginia and BC to 'schedule not to damage the conference' when they are getting large paydays. They aren't going to schedule for a national championship because no matter the out of conference schedule, a title isn't likely and why not make some money? Has Duke made a decision to improve their record, or is it just by chance they didn't schedule a hard out of conference game? In 2010 Duke played Alabama. In 2011 and 2012 they played Stanford. NC State seems to have made the leap in logic. Their hardest OOC game was South Carolina in 2009. But has their schedule and record helped the image of the conference since the switch? Rhetorical question but just incase, the answer is no. The ACC is between a rock and the media. Play bad OOC games, get called out. Play good out of conference games, get destroyed, get called out. Play low level OOC BCS games and will anyone outside the ACC even care? There are a lot of ways to improve a conference's image and scheduling is perhaps only a fraction of it. Until programs within the ACC start to take a different mentality towards football we will always be #goacc.

DK: The latter, for sure. I didn’t stop shaking my head for a couple of days consecutively after learning that Virginia scheduled Oregon. They did the same thing with USC in their dynasty days and got blown out by like 40 at home. The results will be similar here, unless they get lucky in the early days of the Oregon coaching change. As we’ve discussed here before, the average national sportswriter is not looking at the out of conference schedules of NC State and Duke, or even the cross-divisional schedules. They’ll look at the record and specifically whether or not they’re bowl eligible to base their claims on the relative strength of the conference. The B1G is a shining example of this. It’s horribly weak but they don’t play anybody out of conference and then get destroyed in bowl season. Even so, it looks much worse for your lower conference programs to get waxed by the big boys from the other conferences week in and week out. Pile up the wins and the talking heads will prove their ignorance.

Ricobert1: The latter. I'd love to believe most fans pay attention to advanced metrics, but the scoreboard still dictates fan perception. There's a reason you have weight classes in boxing, and it's mainly to prevent embarrassment / disfigurement.

Evenflow58: More damaging of the two options listed is ACC bottom feeders scheduling top tier teams from other conferences. However I think it's even more damaging for teams like Miami and VATech scheduling those same teams. The ACC, as a group should shy away from scheduling UF, Alabama and LSU unless where traditionally played. The ACC should focus on beating teams like Vandy as those teams make the ACC better with every win and the ACC team has an actual shot of beating them unlike the massacre VATech will experience.

FrankDNole: Both are equally damaging to the ACC (a.k.a. The Rodney Dangerfield of NCAA football conferences). They all need to learn to strike a balance in their scheduling.

Mass Nole: ACC needs to schedule smarter. It looks horrible when members of the conference get blown out, UVA and BC are going to get is VaTech. Definitely hurts when on national television, ACC members get curb stomped by OOC foes.