Every now and then my colleagues get a kick out of picking on the ACC at my expense. Funny guy, that Chris Low, and Ms. Big East finally had some fightin' words after the Discover Orange Bowl.
Don't worry, though, I can take the hits for us.
Besides, the ACC was hardly the only BCS conference out there that didn't come out of 2011 with a winning nonconference record against the other BCS conferences. I asked my blogger colleagues for their nonconference records against the other AQ conferences -- this is including bowl games, but not against Independents like Notre Dame.
No, at 9-16 the ACC didn't have much to brag out. Especially on the heels of a 9-14 record in 2010. But only two automatic qualifying conferences -- the SEC and the Big 12 -- finished 2011 with winning nonconference records against their other AQ opponents:
Big 12: 12-5
Big Ten: 9-10
Big East: 7-11
Here's a more detailed breakdown of the ACC:
vs. Big East: 4-4
Wake Forest @ Syracuse L, 29-36 (OT)
Rutgers @ North Carolina W, 24-22
West Virginia @ Maryland L, 31-37
NC State @ Cincinnati L, 14-44
Louisville @ North Carolina W, 14-7
Miami @ USF W, 6-3
NC State vs. Louisville W, 31-24
Clemson vs. West Virginia L, 33-70
vs. Big Ten: 2-2
Northwestern @ Boston College L, 17-24
Virginia @ Indiana W, 34-31
Ohio State @ Miami W, 24-6
Virginia Tech vs. Michigan L, 20-23 (OT)
vs. Big 12: 1-3
Kansas @ Georgia Tech W, 66-24
Oklahoma @ Florida State L, 13-23
Kansas State @ Miami L, 24-28
North Carolina vs. Missouri L, 24-41
vs. Pac-12: 0-2
Stanford @ Duke L, 14-44
Georgia Tech vs. Utah L, 27-30 (OT)
vs. SEC: 2-5
Auburn @ Clemson W, 38-24
Clemson @ South Carolina L, 13-34
Florida State @ Florida W, 21-7
Georgia @ Georgia Tech L, 17-31
Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest L, 7-41
Wake Forest vs. Mississippi St. L, 17-23
Virginia vs. Auburn L, 24-43
To me, what hurts the league most here are the fact that so many of these were winnable games (See: Georgia Tech vs. Utah), and games the ACC should have won (See: Boston College vs. Northwestern). Clemson and Georgia Tech need to start turning the tables on their in-state rivals. Wake Forest did not give its full effort against Vandy, which was motivated by bowl eligibility. Virginia was missing several key defenders against Auburn. We can talk could've, should've, would've all offseason, though.
The bottom line is that the only way the national perception of the ACC is going to change is for these results to change.