Lessons of brackets past

Updated: January 3, 2012, 12:56 PM ET
By Joe Lunardi

To commemorate a significant Bracketology anniversary, I wanted to dip into origins of the project and share some lessons from brackets past. But I know you're likely more keen on the here and now, so let's start off with a few observations on the brand-new Jan. 3 bracket.

• The year's most underachieving conference isn't going to be the Pac-12, mainly because not very much was expected of that league to begin with. No, the real gnashing of teeth in March is going to come from ACC country. The North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils are obvious NCAA teams, and the Virginia Cavaliers are probably going to get there for the first time in five years, but it's then a steep drop to bubble teams like the Virginia Tech Hokies (naturally) and Florida State Seminoles (suddenly). In fact, it took a late Sunday loss by the Northern Iowa Panthers to lift a fourth ACC team (Virginia Tech) into today's bracket.