ACC: villains 090817
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The ACC has its villains, but so does all of college football. Here are my top-five villains for the game itself:
1. Steve Spurrier -- He didn't vote for Tim Tebow. You can't spell citrus without UT. He ran up the score against UNC in his last game at Duke. And free shoes university. Please, let the man speak.
2. Charlie Weis -- He said he'd have a "decided schematic advantage?" Sorry, Charlie. At 29-21, Weis' winning percentage is slightly below that of both his predecessors, who were fired. If his wins were as big as his ego, Weis would be the next Ara Parseghian.
3. Congress -- It doesn't belong in college football. It wasted taxpayers' money -- twice. And it doesn't understand the BCS. But give Utah's biggest fan a national stage, and Sen. Orrin Hatch suddenly has his own column on SI.com.
4. Lane Kiffin -- He raided SEC staffs for assistant coaches, and accused Urban Meyer of cheating in recruiting. And he hasn't won a game yet.
5. Rich Rodriguez -- He tore the heart out of his home state then ran Michigan into the ground in one season. It's OK, though. The Wolverines are due for an eight-win season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
They're the teams, players, coaches, officials, stadiums, cities -- whoever or whatever -- that, as my colleague Ivan Maisel puts it, "done you wrong." They're the ACC's villains, and each program has one. (Some more than others.) Question is, who do you think is your school's villain? Who are you holding your grudges against? Drop me a note in my mailbag and let me know who the bad guys are. We'll call 'em out on Tuesday.
Here are my picks:
Current villain: Jeff Jagodzinski. He abandoned his team for a job he never got. Jagodzinski took the Eagles to back-to-back ACC title games before putting his own interests ahead of the team and got fired for interviewing with the Jets when athletic director Gene DeFilippo specifically asked him not to.
All-time villain: Notre Dame. Nothing gets the Eagles going like the "other" big-time Catholic institution. It wasn't until 1975 that the two programs started playing each other and the series is dead even at 9-9. The Eagles have won six straight in the series and seven of the last eight, but will always be considered the little brother.
Current villain: Boston College. The Eagles beat Clemson three straight years from 2005-2007, and if each time that loss kept the Tigers out of the ACC title game. Imagine how different things might be if it weren't for the Eagles.
All-time villain: City of Atlanta. The Tigers are 2-5 in the Georgia Dome, including a painful overtime loss to Auburn in the 2007 Peach Bowl, and nobody will forget the 2008 disaster against Alabama. Over the past 15 years, Clemson is 4-9 in Atlanta. The Tigers haven't scored a touchdown at Georgia Tech in either of the past two games. They lost 10-9 in '05, and 13-3 in '07, and play there again this year. Yikes. Clemson's all-time record at Tech is 13-41-2, which is a 25 percent winning percentage.
Current villain: Duke basketball. The shadow it casts is bigger than the state of North Carolina. While Duke football has mucked its way through two decades of losing, Mike Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to three national championships, 24 NCAA tournament bids, and 92 weeks ranked No. 1 in the country. Meanwhile, Duke football is stuck on No. 1 ACC win.
All-time villain: Steve Spurrier. He left. Spurrier has been the only coach at Duke to have a winning record since Bill Murrary's tenure from 1951-65. Overall, in the history of the program, Duke has only had five coaches with winning records who stuck around more than two seasons. Spurrier was the last, with a 20-13-1 record. Duke might not be Duke had he stayed.
Current villain: Learning specialist Brenda Monk. The woman at the heart of the online music course cheating scandal, who, according to the St. Pete Times admitted she "made a "mistake" in asking one player to key-in test answers for another. Let's face it: All of the advisors and instructors involved in the scandal could play a role in Bobby Bowden losing as many as 14 wins, and for that, we deem them villains.
All-time villain: Goalposts. Wide right, anyone? The Noles missed field goals in the waning seconds of all three Miami games in 1991, 1992 and 2000, but the 17-16 loss to the Canes in Tallahassee in 1991 was the most devastating. FSU had been ranked No. 1 all season, was 10-0, and were leading most of the game. It was the third one-point loss to Miami for Bowden, and his sixth defeat in seven years to the Canes.
Current villain: The officials in last year's Virginia Tech game. Talk to any of the Jackets and it still strikes a nerve to talk about the costly helmet-to-helmet call with the game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter. To top it off, one play later Michael Johnson was charged with a facemask. And it was. But the first call was questionable, and it sustained a Virginia Tech drive that, in retrospect, went a long way in determining the tiebreaker for the ACC Coastal Division last year.
All-time villain: Bear Bryant. Georgia Tech left the SEC in 1964, but some grudges never die. Bobby Dodd and Bryant began a long feud in 1961 after Georgia Tech's Chick Graning was running down field on punt coverage when he saw the fair catch signal and let down his guard. Alabama's Darwin Holt just kept coming, and shattered Graning's jaw with his forearm. The coaches stopped talking for years and the series was later discontinued.
Current villain: Unranked teams. The Middle Tennessee's. The Virginia's. They're the unpredictable yet predictable disasters that leave Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen baffled. Top 25 teams, though, are no problem. Bring on Cal any day. Just leave Delaware at home.
All-time villain: Penn State. It's the one school Terps fans seem to have an inferiority complex about, and it could have something to do with the Nits' 1-35-1 edge in the series. It also might have a little something to do with the fact that assistant coach Larry Johnson has made the state of Maryland his second home when it comes to recruiting, and many of the state's best players often make their way North.
Current villain: Georgia Tech. If the Jackets beat Miami this year, they will have beaten the Canes five straight years. Miami owns a 4-10 all-time record against Georgia Tech, and now that Paul Johnson has arrived with his triple option offense, it seems as if this series has gotten even more difficult for the Canes.
All-time villain: Terry Porter, the Big 12 official who threw the awful pass interference flag in the Fiesta Bowl that allowed Ohio State to beat the Canes for the 2002 national title. Ohio State won 31-24 in double overtime.
Current villain: Virginia. Most recently, the Tar Heels lost 16-13 last year in a critical Coastal Division game, but the bigger picture is even worse. UNC is just 3-10 against the Wahoos since 1996, and that year, UNC was 8-1 and needed only wins against UVa and Duke to go to the Fiesta Bowl. The Heels were ahead 17-3 with 10 minutes remaining, but wound up losing 20-17 with help from a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown.
All-time villain: Bobby Bowden. The Heels have won just one game against FSU in the 16-game series, a 41-9 win in 2001. The two programs haven't played each other since 2004, but the Noles return to the schedule this fall when UNC hosts its first Thursday night game on Oct. 22. UNC has been outscored 489-184 in the series.
Current villain: The trainer's room. At times over the past two seasons it seemed like the list of injured starters was lengthier than the two-deep depth chart. Quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker Nate Irving, and receiver Donald Bowens are only a few of the key players whose injuries couldn't be overcome in Tom O'Brien's first two seasons.
All-time villain: North Carolina. They're close. It's a rival. And the Wolfpack is trailing 29-63-6 in the series, including a 5-11 record since 1993. The two schools have played each other every year since 1953, when the ACC was formed. But the series started in 1894, and because the schools are only abo
ut 25 miles apart, it's a natural rivalry. From 1943-1964, all but one of the 18 games were played in Chapel Hill. Once the Wolfpack moved to Carter-Finely in 1966, it became a home-and-home series.
Current villain: Frank Beamer. The Commonwealth Cup overfloweth in Beamer's favor. The end-of-the year in-state rivalry has gone in the Hokies' favor for the past decade. Virginia has lost five straight to Beamer, and only once since 1998.
All-time villain: Scott Sisson. Virginia was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history, and the moment was fleeting. Sisson's 37-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining beat Virginia on its homecoming. Georgia Tech went on to win out and earn a share of the national title, while Virginia one just one more game all season and finished 8-4.
Current villain: Offense. The Hokies haven't fared better than 99th nationally in the past three seasons, and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring has shouldered the brunt of the criticism for it. And yes, it does make a difference. In 1999, when the Hokies played for the national title, they finished the season ninth in total offense with 451.82 yards per game.
All-time villain: Peter Warrick. The Florida State superstar had been suspended earlier during the season after he was arrested for shoplifting at Dillard's. While that decision probably cost him the Heisman, it didn't cost him the MVP of the 2000 Sugar Bowl. He caught six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, leading all receivers in yardage and scores in a 46-29 win over the Hokies. Warrick also had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown and a two-point conversion, accounting for 20 of the Seminoles' 46 points. Warrick's 20 points were a Sugar Bowl record for most points scored by an individual player.
Current villain: Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm. Wake Forest kept Brohm in check during the first half of the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl, but Brohm orchestrated two game-winning drives in the fourth quarter that gave the Cardinals the 24-13 win. Brohm finished 24-for-34 and was named the game's MVP.
All-time villain: Tobacco Road. That's right, Wake has a losing record in each series against Duke, UNC and NC State. Overall, the Demon Deacons are 181-103-10 against its in-state ACC opponents. And, since you're curious, Duke leads the overall series 53-34-2.