Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

Johnson: The ACC's Woes Continue

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 1, 2012


Terry Johnson on yet another lost weekend for the ACC


- Cirminiello: Geno Smith Is The Real Deal
- Zemek: The Teams That Aren't For Real
- Harrison: Penn State As The Big Ten Spoiler
- Johnson: The ACC's Woes Continue
- Doan: So What If Ohio State Goes 12-0?   

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

After suffering some devastating defeats in the opening weeks of the season, it looked like things could not get any worse for the ACC in non-conference play.

Then came Saturday.

Let's be honest: as one of the five elite conferences, there are certain games that the ACC should expect to win every time, without exception. That certainly includes beating teams from outside the power conferences, including the likes of the Big East, WAC, and Sun Belt.

Unfortunately, that did not happen this weekend. The ACC lost one game against each of these "lesser" conferences, and suffered even more damage to its already shaky reputation.

Regardless of what Cincinnati did against Pittsburgh in the season opener, Virginia Tech had to like its chances against the Bearcats playing in front a friendly crowd in Landover, Maryland. However, the Hokies failed to gain a first down in their first five drives, and only managed seven points in the first half. Despite this rough patch, Tech rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter, only to watch UC score the game-winner with just 39 seconds on the clock.

While losing to Cincinnati isn't as bad as some of the league's other non-conference losses, it drops the ACC's record to 3-4 against the Big East. That's not going to help the conference separate itself from the non-major conferences that want to sit at the big boy table.

Virginia's loss Louisiana Tech also hurt the ACC's overall profile. Make no mistake about it: the Bulldogs have an excellent team. However, the Cavaliers were clearly the better team in this matchup, and it showed everywhere except for where it counted. The 'Hoos moved the ball at-will against an undermanned La Tech defense, racking up 625 yards. Unfortunately, UVA threw three costly interceptions, highlighted by a pick-six that put the game out of reach in the third quarter.

Even though the Cavs lost to a solid team, this defeat leaves the conference with a black eye. Losing to a WAC opponent will lower the ACC's overall strength in the BCS computers, which could potentially (but not likely) impact Florida State's chances at playing for the national championship.

Ouch.

However, the biggest blow to the ACC's image was Georgia Tech's shocking loss to Middle Tennessee State. Sure, the Jackets had two losses, but they were literally just a few inches away from winning both of those contests. With so much to play for, including a spot in a nice bowl game, it seemed inconceivable that Tech would lose to a team picked to finish seventh in the Sun Belt.

But it did happen. After taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Paul Johnson's team never had the lead again, as the Raiders simply out executed the Yellow Jackets down the stretch. Yes, Tech was down a couple of players on defense, but there's no way that the second or third stringers should have allowed 510 yards against a Sun Belt opponent - ever.

Even though it still has several marquee non-conference games on the schedule, including Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, this week's action makes it clear that there's still a big gap between the ACC and the other major conferences.

So what can it do to bridge this gap?

Check back on Tuesday for my answer to CFN's Tuesday Question.

- Cirminiello: Geno Smith Is The Real Deal
- Zemek: The Teams That Aren't For Real
- Harrison: Penn State As The Big Ten Spoiler
- Johnson: The ACC's Woes Continue
- Doan: So What If Ohio State Goes 12-0?