ACC Now takes a look at the before and after conference records of the ACC to determine who's benefited from ACC expansion. Unfortunately, that's the wrong way to go about doing it. After all, does anyone really blame FSU's downward spiral on Miami, BC, and Virginia Tech? Or is it their own offensive woes? With that in mind, I took a look at the various records against the Big East transplants, and who they've missed out on playing since the loss of the full conference schedule. Here are the true winners and losers:
Florida State: The Seminoles are the only ACC team to have a winning record against our new Big East friends - they've gone 4-2, counting an ACC championship victory over Tech that sent them to a BCS bowl. Remember, without two divisions and only eight opponents, they're at best in a three-way tie with Clemson and Georgia Tech. Instead, they get to mask their slide with a BCS bowl and an equally creaky Penn State opponent. FSU has missed easy victories over UNC in two of the last three seasons, but they've also ducked Georgia Tech three years running.
Georgia Tech: Speaking of the Yellow Jackets, they've done pretty handily in the two division era as well, putting up a 3-3 record against the new kids and stumbling into an ACC championship game last year with the help of a weak Coastal Division. Tech hasn't played Florida State since expansion, and they also missed Maryland one year. They would have avoided Wake last year as well, were it not for the aforementioned championship game.
North Carolina: This one the N&O got correct. UNC has only gone 2-5 against their new compatriots - I'm not counting the 2004 bowl loss to BC - but they've also avoided playing Clemson twice, FSU twice, and Maryland and Wake once apiece. Not to mention the fact that the last second win over then-undefeated Miami probably bought John Bunting another year on the job.
Clemson: How pissed must Tommy Bowden be? The Tigers had just begun to overcome his early missteps, putting together a 9-4 record, and then suddenly Virginia and UNC were each yanked from two years of his schedule (and Duke once) and replaced with Big East refugees that beat him up and down the field. Clemson is 1-4 against the new teams, and winless in the last two years. What should have been a supplantation of his father at the top of the conference has instead turned into three years of frustration.
Maryland: The Terps are another team that sorely misses Duke and UNC on their schedule. Both the North Carolina schools got two years of reprieve from the Terps, to be replaced with Big East squads that haven't exactly feared the turtle. Maryland's shares Clemson's 1-4 record, not getting a win until last year's decrepit Hurricane squad finally rolled into town. Sure, Friedgen hasn't exactly done himself any favors these last few years, but return the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels to the schedule and they're not missing out on bowls back in '04 and '05.
Virginia: There's a reason nobody likes Al Groh - he's had his ass kicked right and left by the former Big East schools. The Cavs are 1-6 against those three, their only win again coming at the expense of last year's Miami debacle. True, the schedule of Clemson (twice) and N.C. State (twice) weren't gimmie wins, but the three years without lining up against Wake has to hurt.
The Other Three
Duke: The Blue Devils are 0-6 against the new teams. They would have gone 0-6 against the old ACC squads whose places were supplanted. They're Duke.
N.C. State: Yes, they've missed three years of easy Duke wins. But they've strung together a 2-3 record against Miami, BC and Virginia Tech, and the two games against Virgina that were dropped from the schedule weren't exactly going to be easy. The Wolfpack's demise is the fault of a Riversless team, not the expanded league.
Wake: On the one hand, the Demon Deacons have only gone 1-4 against the ACC's new members. On the other, they won a freakin' ACC championship. They wouldn't have done much better against their original schedule.
It's harder to judge the effect on Miami, BC, and Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes were going to falter regardless of what conference they played in. Virginia Tech has benefitted from the increased exposure (and their craven skipping out of the West Virginia series) and BC did well in their new enviroment right up until their coach was poached. We'll need more time to judge them.
(Below the cut is the ACC data in table form.)
Clemson 1-4 Duke, UNC (2), Virginia (2) Duke 0-6 NCSU (3), Clemson, Maryland (2) Florida State 4-2* GT (3), UNC (2) Georgia Tech 3-3 FSU (3), Maryland, Wake** Maryland 1-4 Duke (2), FSU, UNC (2) North Carolina 2-5 Clemson (2), FSU (2), Maryland (2) N.C. State 2-3 Duke (3), Virginia (2) Virginia 1-6 Clemson (2), NCSU (2), Wake (3) Wake Forest 1-4 GT**, UNC, Virginia (3) * Includes ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech ** Wake Forest beat Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game that year.