<
>

MWC better than ACC

12/28/2010

All season long, ESPN's Stats & Info blog has had a formula to rank the conferences, and all season long, the ACC has trailed the Mountain West Conference and the WAC.

Despite the numbers, I never believed it.

One number has since changed that: 14-7.

Georgia Tech lost to Air Force, 14-7, in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. It was a performance riddled with mistakes, and one that got the ACC off to a 0-1 start in bowl season. It gave Georgia Tech its sixth straight bowl loss and first losing season since 1996. It was a head-shaking, eye-rolling, here-we-go-again-ACC kind of a start to the postseason.

Air Force never wowed me enough this season to put the Falcons in my Top 25 for ESPN.com. It didn't do anything to change my mind on Monday night. With four turnovers, Georgia Tech gave Air Force plenty of help in that game.

But the Falcon took advantage of it, and in head-to-head competition -- the most accurate measure --the MWC beat the ACC. Yes, FSU beat BYU for the second straight year, but that September win does little for perception now.

The Mountain West has two ranked teams, No. 3 TCU and No. 19 Utah. The ACC has two, No. 13 Virginia Tech and No. 23 Florida State. The Mountain West, a smaller conference than the ACC with nine teams, has five bowl-eligible teams. The ACC has nine. Thanks to the win from Air Force, the MWC has already guaranteed itself a winning bowl season, regardless of what TCU does against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

With the Falcons' win over Georgia Tech, the winning bowl record and two higher ranked teams -- including the undefeated No. 3 team in the country -- the MWC has earned its place above the ACC this year.