This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I've seen a lot of nicknames for the Atlantic Coast Conference; probably the one I like best is "Almost a College Conference."
That about sums up what the ACC is this year in football, at least judging from the first two weeks. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham always cautions anyone who is quick to judge teams before the first four weeks of the season, because trends need time to develop.
But we've seen enough, haven't we? Going back, oh, a couple of seasons now.
Let's face it, the reason FSU's visit to Provo is so intriguing is for the Seminoles' mystique, not for what they've done lately, unless you want to consider FSU's 38-34 loss to Miami mystical. I'm sure many FSU fans do.
The ACC went 0-4 against BCS competition in the opening week, keeping its trend of getting beat up by other conferences at least intact. So far, the ACC is just 2-9 in BCS bowl games. Actually, I don't even know if we should even count last year's win, Virginia Tech's 20-7 victory over Cincinnati last year in the Orange Bowl given how bad the Big East has been as well.
Last week had just as much bad for the league. Maryland escaped with an overtime win over James Madison, FSU nearly lost to Jacksonville State, and North Carolina edged mighty UConn 12-10.
The lone bright spot of a win against any team that matters was Wake Forest's 24-17 win over Stanford, which only makes me believe Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh should stop twittering so much and start coaching rather than believing the ACC has any life to it.
Maybe the ACC will save some face this week, with FSU's visit to BYU and Virginia Tech's game against Nebraska, but I wouldn't count on it.
Seeing the future?
While we're on the topic of overrated, overhyped teams, Notre Dame's loss to Michigan was its sixth straight to a team from a BCS conference. That bit of history should play into Utah's favor next season when it visits the Irish. The Utes are 7-3 against BCS teams under Whittingham.
Perhaps more should be on the line than a nonconference game when Utah and Notre Dame play. If the Utes win, I think they should get Notre Dame's guaranteed spot in a BCS bowl if it is ranked No. 8 or higher in the final BCS standings. It doesn't look like the Irish will be taking advantage of that clause any time soon anyway.
Hard to imagine anyone beating out Tim Tebow for the award this year, particularly after Florida coach Urban Meyer unleashes him on Tennessee this week, for oh, I'm guessing about seven touchdowns as punishment for Vols coach Lane Kiffin's trash talking.
But other players to keep an eye on are Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Cal running back Jahvid Best. A dark horse favorite, at least to be invited to the Heisman hoopla, is Houston's Case Keenum. The junior quarterback was 32-of-46 for 366 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception, in Houston's upset of Oklahoma State.
Tennessee at Florida » Vols coach Lane Kiffin said Tennessee fans would celebrate after beating the Gators, then his team went out and lost to UCLA. The only thing Vols fans may celebrate Saturday is the end of the game and their misery.