Back in the home office in Orlando this week. Seems a few of you had different views on the ACC perception story I wrote. Let's hear.
Steve K in Arlington, Va., writes: So your story about how "the ACC is ranked where it has been" shows that perception is the only thing that matters in college football, NOT performance. ESPN's own power index shows the ACC as No. 3 among conferences. Yet poll voters perpetuate their biases. Is the Big 12's best nonconference win Oklahoma's win over 7-3 Notre Dame? Pitt did that and they are the 11th or 12th best team in the ACC. Oklahoma State's win over 4-6 Mississippi State? Please. Baylor and Texas Tech played no one. Texas got hammered by a BYU team that lost to UVa before injuries crushed the Hoos. K-State lost to a I-AA. West Virginia got hammered by Maryland. Iowa State lost to a I-AA. What a JOKE to have the Big 12 ranked ahead of the ACC at this point. It's not close this season. But it's all based on self-fulfilled perceptions.
Andrea Adelson: I agree that perceptions, or misperceptions in a lot of cases, skew the way people see teams and conferences. However, I also think the ACC missed an opportunity to change these perceptions when Miami and Virginia Tech started tanking. Florida State is in great position to play for a national championship. That is huge. But the rest of the league? Nobody else has truly risen up to join Florida State and Clemson in the upper echelon. Based on the criteria listed, what is the ACC's best nonconference win? Pitt vs. Notre Dame? Does Miami over Florida or Clemson over Georgia still hold that much weight? I agree the Big 12 historically plays nobody out of conference. A lot of that has to do with the nine-game league schedule. But tell me how the on-field performance of the ACC as a whole, outside Florida State and Clemson, is any different than it was a year ago?
Brandon Shreve in Charleston, S.C., writes: Good job on the ACC article. Perception has to change. Don't you feel that nothing will change until we show up in the bowl games and beat someone other then our ACC brothers?
Adelson: Well, the ACC did have a great bowl performance last year with wins over LSU and USC among the headliners. I think the ACC needs Miami to be good, and a permanent group of four to five teams that are consistently in the top 25. That's what the SEC has on a yearly basis.
Eddie Riffone in Viera, Fla., writes: Andrea, I know you're better than this! In regards to the strength of the ACC let's look at a few factors. First, the ACC has two teams in the top 7, and as far as the top 10, the SEC has three teams, everyone else has two or one team. Second, Miami. Let's be real here granted they looked weak in some games, but they still managed to win (just like Alabama did with Miss Stare this past weekend). If Duke Johnson was not out for the year Miami would be in an entirely different position. They lost their running game, and while you might say one player shouldn't make a team I'll refer you to Texas A&M. We know where they would be without JM. Your thoughts?
Adelson: The problem is the ACC has nobody beyond the top 7. That is why perception has not changed. As for Johnson, there is no question that Miami misses him dearly. But I don't see how we can sit here and say playing without Duke is the reason Miami's defense has all of a sudden forgotten how to tackle or stop the run.
Patrick J. Daley in Reading, Mass., writes: Andrea - Great article on Andre Williams and well deserved. I am a longtime BC season's ticket holder, and I can tell you that Andre and his transformed O-line have done a remarkable job. Andre is a Dean's List student and a good representative of the school. Hopefully he will win the Doak Walker Award and if the powers to be want a fifth person on stage in NYC to go along with the four QBs: Jameis, Johnny Football, Mariota, and Petty, then Andre might fit the bill. Good research also in your article.
Adelson writes: Thanks, Patrick! This young man deserves some pub for what he has done this season!
Lee in Meeks, Ga., writes: Bowl projections have Georgia and Georgia Tech playing in the Music City Bowl. I do not think this will happen do you?
Adelson write: Highly doubtful to say the least.
Pawpower58 in Columbia, S.C., writes: Clemson had some not so amusing games after the UGA game I'll admit. But in the last 3/4 games, Clemson seems to have gotten some things fixed on offense, and has looked pretty good here of late. And Clemson absolutely stepped all over PJ and his GT honey bee's. Take away the yards and two scores that the second and third teem defensive depth gave up to GT. It looked like one of the best defensive games that (Brent) Venables' defense has played all year. Question -- What is your opinion on how you see Clemson matching up against Steve Spurrier and his chicken coop on Nov. 30?
Adelson: Great question. I keep going back and forth on how this game is going to go. South Carolina has had moments where it's looked great, and moments where it's looked not so great (ahem, last week). The Gamecocks are certainly not an indestructible force this year, and I think Tajh Boyd can make some plays on the secondary, which has been up and down this year. This one all comes down to Boyd and the offensive line. Boyd is going to be looking for redemption after his game against them last year, and against Florida State earlier this season. If they can keep Jadeveon Clowney at bay and out of their heads, Clemson has a great chance to win.
David Goldstein in Hollywood, Fla., writes: I am a huge Cane fan and was going through remaining schedules. I believe it is possible that Duke, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, UNC, and Miami end up 5-3 in the ACC. Who goes to the ACC championship in this scenario?
Adelson: Virginia Tech, based on its 3-1 record in the five-game "mini-group." (This assumes a Duke win over Wake Forest and a Duke loss to North Carolina).
Bryan in Mad Beach, Fla., writes: If Jameis Winston is charged and thereby ineligible, do you see the voters making it so college football fans don't have to witness the possibility of a third-string QB starting in a national title game (assuming FSU wins its remaining games) by moving Ohio State or Baylor ahead enough in the polls? Also, I just want to argue against conspiracy theories. Winston was not famous in December, and there was only potential at that point. FSU has removed players with potential in the past (Adrian McPherson and Randy Moss) for much less serious offenses (and in Winston's case alleged) and when an alternative starter at QB was not as good as Jacob Coker. I don't see FSU protecting someone that hadn't played a down and was only filling in for a few innings in relief on the baseball team. Thanks for the coverage.
Adelson: If everybody wins out, I have no idea what the voters will do. Nor do I have any idea when there is going to be a resolution in this case. The hope is that the voters will go with the team most deserving based on its play throughout the season. Florida State has talent in spades beyond Winston. So who's to say Alabama or any other potential opponent in the national title game would automatically beat the Noles if Winston is out? That may sound ridiculous but no team has ever won a game on paper. If I had a vote, I would still have Florida State in the title game based on its overall performance.