ACC/Big East blogger challenge
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Fellow blogger Brian Bennett (Big East) and I have been hearing it all week from our colleagues, and fans of both conferences have been pointing fingers at each other, so we decided to argue amongst ourselves over which conference has taken the bigger hit so far this season:
Brian Bennett: OK, Heather. The ACC was the laughingstock of the first weekend, and now the Big East has become the butt of all jokes. But it's showdown time: Rutgers vs. North Carolina on Thursday night and Virginia at UConn on Saturday. I'm dubbing them the "Bottom of the BCS Bowls." So whose conference is the worst after this week?
Heather Dinich: Depends ... are you going to start bragging about that UConn win over Temple? My guys went 1-3 over FBS opponents in Week 2, and that's not including Georgia Tech's win over BC -- An ACC team had to win that one. That makes the ACC 3-7 against legit opponents this season. Beat that.
Brian Bennett: I can't beat it, but I can tie it. The Big East is 3-7 against FBS schools (and that includes a 2-2 mark against the mighty MAC). It's 0-3 against BCS opponents with an average margin of defeat of 23 points. But, hey, you can't win 'em all. As for UConn, didn't you write in August about how much better Temple would be? And that game was played in a near-monsoon, so throw out the stats (please).
Here's a stat for you: The Big East has won its last three BCS bowl games. When was the last ACC bowl victory of note? I think Bobby Bowden was still in short pants at the time.
Heather Dinich: Hahaha ... yeah, well, in case you missed it, Bowden's quarterback scored more points in one quarter on Saturday than Pat White did all game! You speak the truth, though, the last notable ACC bowl win was Florida State in 1999. But mark my words, the Noles will represent against UT-Chattanooga this week and the league's shiny 10-0 record against FCS teams will only get brighter.
Here's the question, though, who will come out on top this weekend? I say the conferences split, with UNC beating Rutgers and UVA losing to UConn. You?
Brian Bennett: Ah, yes. Bragging on Florida State's performance against Western Carolina. Or maybe you meant the other Bowden's impressive win over The Citadel. You're truly grasping for straws now, Heather. Maybe we should avoid all talk of East Carolina, though. The Pirates might be better than anyone in either of our leagues.
I tend to agree with both your predictions, though North Carolina sure didn't impress me against, ahem, McNeese State.
We both know these aren't either conference's marquee teams, though. So here's another question: How would West Virginia and South Florida fare in the ACC, and vice versa for the ACC's best (is that an oxymoron?) in the Big East?
Heather Dinich: Well, considering the ACC stole three of those teams, and Virginia Tech won the Big East in 1995, 1996 and 1999, and Miami had six Big East titles, you'd think they'd be OK, but that was then and this is now. The Hokies don't look like the ACC (or Big East) champs, and Miami is in its rebuilding phase. ACC commish John Swofford would probably benefit from trading those two for WVU and South Florida in the Coastal Division this year, but Wake Forest could handle 'em. Next year? I'll stick with the Hokies and the Canes.
Brian Bennett: I suspect South Florida might end up being the best team in either league, but the Bulls have got to prove it. I think Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese would tell the ACC to keep Miami, unless Swofford wanted to trade the 'Canes for Syracuse straight up. Wouldn't it be appropriate if the Big East and ACC champs met in a BCS game? (I'm sure some bright-hued, blazer-wearing bowl execs are quivering at that thought right now).
But let's look at the bright side. No pesky national-championship debates for us to blog endlessly about this year. And, of course, none of the other leagues can touch our guys in basketball.