I love a good conspiracy.
▪ Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?
▪ Was the moon landing real?
▪ Does Clemson get “all the calls” because the ACC needs a team in the College Football Playoff?
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I can’t speak to the first two but there are some financial circumstances to the last one that many college football fans don’t quite understand.
The cut for the “Power 5” conference teams is not contingent on participation. The ACC will get about $57 million from the CFP this year if it has a team selected for the four-team playoff or not. So will the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pac-12 and the SEC.
That’s how the contract works. How else do you think ESPN was able to get five conferences to agree to a system where at least one is guaranteed to be left out of the playoff every year?
The ACC and the other Power 5 conferences do get an additional $6 million for each team in the four-team playoff and $4 million for each team in a “New Year’s 6” bowl game (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton, Peach).
Since the ACC has a guaranteed spot in the Orange Bowl, we’re talking about an additional $6 million here. That sounds like a lot, to you or me, but it’s really not in modern college sports (Yay, amateurism!)
Under the old system (good riddance, Bowl Championship Series), the major bowls paid out more money (in the $24 million ballpark) and a conference only got a bigger cut when one of their teams was in a BCS game.
This was referenced incorrectly too many times on Twitter on Saturday during Clemson’s 38-31 win over N.C. State not to address it.
Could you argue Clemson, a name-brand program, would have better traction with the playoff committee than another ACC team? Sure, but I have a strict policy of debunking only one conspiracy theory per column.
On with The Only* ACC Power Rankings That Matter:
Record: 8-1 (6-1 ACC)
Last game: at N.C. State, W, 38-31. Next game: vs. Florida State.
Their defensive performance against N.C. State does not bode well for the Tigers’ playoff fortunes.
Record: 8-0 (6-0 ACC)
Last game: vs. Virginia Tech, W, 28-10. Next game: vs. Notre Dame.
All aboard “The U” bandwagon.
3. Virginia Tech
Record: 7-2 (3-2 ACC)
Last game: at Miami, L, 28-10. Next game: at Georgia Tech.
Only losses are the to the two teams ranked ahead of them. That isn’t likely to change.
4. N.C. State
Record: 6-3 (4-1 ACC)
Last game: vs. Clemson, L, 38-31. Next game: at Boston College.
Poured it out emotionally against Clemson. Can they fill it back up for Boston College?
5. Georgia Tech
Record: 4-4 (3-3 ACC)
Last game: at Virginia, L, 40-36. Next game: Virginia Tech.
Three of the Jackets’ losses have been by a total of six points.
6. Wake Forest
Record: 5-4 (2-3 ACC)
Last game: at Notre Dame, L, 48-37. Next game: at Syracuse.
Thirty-seven points and 587 yards of offense on the road against a top-5 team and without their best player. Not bad, Deacs.
7. Boston College
Record: 5-4 (3-3 ACC)
Last game: Off. Next game: vs. N.C. State.
Rested and ready to pounce (again) on the Wolfpack.
Record: 4-5 (2-3 ACC)
Last game: at Florida State, L, 27-24. Next game: vs. Wake Forest.
The transitive property with Syracuse (beat Clemson, lost to Middle Tennessee) gets funky.
Record: 5-4 (2-4 ACC)
Last game: Off. Next game: vs. Virginia.
What did the Cards’ defense learn during their week off?
10. Florida State
Record: 3-5 (3-4 ACC)
Last game: vs. Syracuse, W, 27-24. Next game: at Clemson.
The Noles’ 35-year bowl streak ends with a loss at Clemson.
Record: 4-5 (2-3 ACC)
Last game: Off. Next game: vs. UNC (Thursday).
The Panthers need a home win over the Tar Heels to keep their bowl hopes alive.
Record: 6-3 (3-2 ACC)
Last game: Georgia Tech, W, 40-36. Next game: at Louisville.
Wahoos did indeed play their Super Bowl against Georgia Tech. You read that somewhere last week.
Record: 4-5 (1-5 ACC)
Last game: Off. Next game: at Army.
What did the Blue Devils’ offense learn during their week off?
Record: 1-8 (0-6 ACC)
Last game: Off. Next game: at Pittsburgh (Thursday).
What does injury-ravaged UNC’s best look like? Here’s guessing the Panthers’ will see it on Thursday night.
(Note: *in Garner)
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio