I -- yes, I -- was selected to partake in the ACC Blogger Roundtable being hosted by BC Interruption as the BC blog representative. I was asked questions, and I answered them. And we're off!
(BCI) 1. Virginia Tech and Florida State seemed to acquit the ACC Championship Game well this year, turning in an entertaining 44-33 game in front of a crowd of 72,379 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Assess the success of the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte in year one. How much of the success can be attributed to the host city, and how much can be attributed to the matchup? A little of A, a little of B?
>>(STG) I’ve said all along that I like the game in Charlotte, as it’s much closer to the geographic center of the conference than Jacksonville or anywhere else in Florida. Flights to Charlotte can be pretty inexpensive on the East Coast if you book in advance. I think the matchup has more to do with it, though. Both of these fanbases are big and they travel well. Going up or down (as the case may be) to Charlotte clearly wasn’t a dealbreaker for VT or FSU fans, as it’s situated pretty well in between both schools. They’d have gone regardless of where the game was, however. These are big-time football schools and it was expected to be a good game, so you’d have to have imagined a large turnout was in the cards.
(BCI) 2. Would you like to see Charlotte become the permanent home of the ACC Football Championship? Or would you be in favor of some alternate Championship Game format? (continuing to rotate the location, move to campus a la the Pac 12, etc.) Explain.
>>(STG) If Charlotte became the permanent home, I’d be fine with it. If they decided to have championship games hosted on campuses, I think it would be interesting but it probably won’t happen. Could you see Alumni Stadium hosting one of those? The thought is practically surreal and I don’t know if I mean that in a good way or a bad way.
I wasn’t crazy about Jacksonville and Tampa didn’t do much for me. Back to Charlotte though, I think it’s a decent venue and as I mentioned in the first response, it’s pretty close to the midpoint of the ACC schools, which I think is fair.
(BCI) 3. On to the ACC's 2010 slate of bowl games. How happy are you with your program's bowl placement? Did your team's bowl destination exceed or fall short of preseason expectations? (No, I didn't forget about you, Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia. You can speak to general season results relative to preseason expectations here).
>>(STG) Well, San Francisco is apparently so nice, we’re doing it twice. I’d be lying if I said I’m thrilled, however. Going into the season, I thought we had a decent chance of ending up in Charlotte, but when you dig yourself a 2-5 hole, that’s a good way to blow up the season. Yes, BC squeezed out five wins to close out the season, but three of those teams are terrible and the other two are so-so teams with their own issues that squeaked into bowls themselves. Some would argue that 7-5 is good considering where BC was in October, but relative to our preseason expectations, winning 7 games with a defense this stout and a schedule this easy is just not acceptable. BC let a few too many get away. Forgive the rant, but being a 7-8 win team in a third-rate “leftovers” bowl every year is not what BC football should be aiming for; we should aspire to be where the Hokies are, but for some reason, we don't.
Anyway, as for this particular bowl matchup, well, I don’t think we got an easy one. I’ve seen several of Nevada’s games and they are a very good team (ranked, no less) with an outstanding offense. I expect BC’s defense to slow them down some, but the Eagles haven’t exceeded 26 points against an FBS opponent this season. The defense will have to play the game of their lives just to keep BC in it because quite frankly, we just don’t score points. Further, our best win this year was an average Syracuse team; BC hasn’t beaten anyone this good all year and it will be a big challenge. I can see how easy it would be for BC fans to think things have turned around lately and give us good odds in the bowl game, but we’ve beaten two bowl-eligible teams all year, and haven’t beaten anyone remotely good. UNR is a step up from our recent competition.
(BCI) 4. Looking at the conference's bowl schedule as a whole, how many games do you have the conference winning? Is this the year the conference has a breakout year come bowl season?
>>(STG) On a really quick glance, I give the ACC five or six bowl wins, so no, no breakout year. There are a few I view as tossups, but overall it should be a meh bowl season for a meh power conference. Going on the record, I do not presently have Boston College as one of those wins.
(BCI) 5. Clearly, there are many factors other than on-field performance that go into bowl selections (travel rep, ticket sales, travel distances). Pretend for a moment that the ACC placed teams in our conference's bowl games 1-9 based solely on their on-field performance this season (you can rank 1-9 anyway you see fit). Holding our bowl opponents fixed, how does your answer to question 4 change? Does the ACC then win more or less bowl games this year?
>>(STG) Well, if travel distances were REALLY a factor, we wouldn’t be getting stuck out in friggin California for the second straight year against a much more local team. Anyway, I don’t think my answer would change too much, because outside of Virginia Tech and perhaps Florida State, the middle of the ACC is very mushy and just not that dangerous. There are teams in there who I think will have difficulty winning bowl games no matter who they play.
(BCI) 6. Last one. The home of the ACC Champion has been the redheaded step child of BCS bowls the past few seasons. The Orange Bowl has been awarded either the Big East champ or a BCS at-large leftover the past few seasons and the casual fan has responded with some of the lowest TV ratings in BCS bowl history. Did the Hokies/ACC dodge a bullet not drawing an 8-4 Big East champ UConn in the Orange Bowl? Or would you have rather have had the Hokies face an easier opponent to improve on the ACC's 2-10 record in BCS bowls?
>>(STG) I’m fine with the way things worked out. I’m quite interested to see what the Hokies can do against a talented Stanford team, and yet I would have rather enjoyed watching the Hokies beat the crap out of UConn (though I’m fairly certain Oklahoma will take care of that). I think VT is capable of winning the game and improving that BCS bowl record. Playing a so-so team like UConn would have been a no-win situation of sorts for the Hokies: if you win, you were supposed to so it’s no big deal, and if you lose, you’re a disgrace to college football. So yes, VT dodged a bullet, we’re going to get a decent game out of it, and that school in Storrs probably will still lose.