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What Has Boston College Brought to the ACC?

Over at BC Interruption, they're a bit annoyed at a Caulton Tudor piece castigating Miami for the latest scandal the Hurricanes have embroiled the ACC in. Primarily for one line, sandwiched between the point that Miami has been a bust since joining the conference while Virginia tech has been a success:

Boston College will never be a fan factor in the ACC – or in the city of Boston, for that matter.

BC Interruption points out that the Eagles have done quite well in the ACC, winning the Atlantic football title in 2007 and sharing it in 2005 and 2008, and holding a winning record in both football and basketball. But I think they're arguing at cross purposes; the knock against BC isn't that they haven't succeeded in their new conference, but that the ACC hasn't benefited from it.

Part of this is that Boston College was brought in part under unreasonable expectations, that they would be the gateway to the entire Boston metro area, and Red Sox hats would be discarded for... Terrapin and Cavalier caps, I guess? That was never going to happen, of course. For BC to get oxygen in a pro- and college-saturated media, they'll have to seriously contend for a championship, and even then they won't necessarily bring the ACC along.

Instead, the Eagles have been a middle-of-the-road performer in most sports. In football, they peaked at 11th in the polls in 2005, 16th in 2006, 2nd in 2007, 18th in 2008, and have been unranked since. They played in a bowl game every season, but have gone 3-3. In basketball, they've reached the NCAA three times, making the Sweet Sixteen once and bowing out in the first round two other times.

Now Eagles fans can rightfully point to the poor football performance of the rest of the ACC as a reason why they shouldn't be held up for criticism. In fact, of the original seven ACC members, the peak rankings outside of the preseason during BC's good stretch were 18th in 2005 (Virginia), 10th in 2006 (Clemson), 13th in 2007 (Clemson), and 17th in 2008 (UNC). If anything, the conference has dragged Boston College down a bit, marginalizing them during their best season by not providing much in the way of opposition. Well, until the ACC handed the Eagles two straight losses.

So I think I speak for a majority of old-school, long in the tooth ACC fans when I say I don't regret Boston College's inclusion in the ACC. They've been an overall positive. But if BC had say, turned down the invitation to join, and you asked me in alternate-2011 if I'd wished they'd joined instead, well, I'd probably answer no. And that's why they're not a fan factor in the ACC, for whatever that's worth.