Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami have some hard thinking to do.
The SEC’s agreement with the Big 12 to pair off their champions in a new bowl game has changed the landscape of college football, even as the BCS’s powers-that-be prepare to devise a four-team national championship playoff out of a convoluted combination of conference champions, polls and computer rankings.
While the SEC and Big 12 acted, the ACC held its annual spring meetings and engaged in a lot of talking, but not much else. The new ‘playoff’ was discussed, and ACC coaches and administrators put their consensus stamp of approval on a ‘conference champions’ model.
The problem, though, is that in any version of a four-team championship model, the ACC is likely to end up on the outside looking in – almost to the same degree as if the playoff were to evolve as an exclusive four-conference affair among the new Big Four (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12).
All the posing and posturing in the world doesn’t change the perception that the ACC is currently fifth in the pecking order – a step ahead only of the uncertain Big East.
The ACC has dug itself into its current dilemma, of course, by going 2-13 in BCS bowl games, as well as by winning less than its share of regular-season head-to-heads against major conference teams.
The Greensboro News and Record last week looked back at the 2005-2011 seasons to see which teams would have qualified for a four-team playoff, comparing the BCS Standings model with the ‘conference champions’ model now in favor.
During that seven-year period, the ACC would have been represented only once (out 28 slots) – by Virginia Tech in 2007.
A third of the ACC’s current membership – Clemson, FSU, Virginia Tech and Miami – have legitimate national football championship aspirations. College football’s new order diminishes those possibilities.
Given what seems to be a unanimous lack of interest in a real national championship playoff – eight, or even 12, teams, with the champions of all six BCS conferences included – it looks to be time for those schools to begin acting in their own self-interest.