SU Basketball: The ACC, Folks, Isn't So Good

Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

It's a little funny, and maybe a bit sad, that Syracuse's most acclaimed opponents of the season - save for always media friendly Duke - came in non-conference play.

When it comes to grilling, I'm what you'd probably consider "adequate." Now I think I'm the Grill King of the North Country -- I'll grant you a burger that would melt your taste buds with deliciousness.

But you may think me as "meh" in the Grill Zone. Which is due to chicken, I think. That foul fowl is the bane to my outdoor cooking existence! Even with all the technology available, I never really know when chicken is done. So therefore I routinely leave it on the grill too long, or occasionally I'll pull them a little too soon.

Salmonella, anyone?

What the hell does any of this have to with sports? Well, the ACC stinks -- stay with me here. The league is garbage outside of Syracuse and Duke and maybe Pittsburgh. A pretty declarative statement if there ever was one, right? But it's born out of frustration -- of hearing about how Syracuse and Pittsburgh and Notre Dame were joining the already Super Power ACC. That the three new programs were like adding Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt to a Leonardo Dicaprio flick.

And true to form, like those blockbusters, things in the new league are tanking.

Every week we here at TNIAM rank the league 1 through 15 and every week, once I get out of the top two or three, the rest turns into a steamy pile of mishmash. Yet somehow people got angry about which team went where in this week's poll. Which is fine; part of the reason we do those rankings is to create discussion, to get feedback. But I have to admit, I was completely shocked at some of the vitriolic comments about how a team like Virginia could be ranked No. 11 -- as one of us rated the Cavs that low. Sure UVA deserves a little better than 11, but let's be real, it's not exactly a top-tier team that we're dissecting here.

Which brings me back to the whole grilling chicken thing: is it time? I've waited on this "ACC stinks" sentiment. As far back as November, even early December I wanted to chime in on the topic, but I held back -- fearing it was too early to bust it out. And let's be real, pulling the "Conference X Stinks" card always comes across as trolling, the exact opposite of this site's purpose. Yet given we're a few weeks into winter and we've seen so much evidence, I'm ready to turn the gas off and get the tongs out: the ACC is not good, folks.

Don't buy it? What if I told you the Atlantic Coast Conference comes in at fifth in RPI? That's behind the Big East even. Do you realize the ACC has 54 losses collectively, double the amount in the Big 12? Okay, I hear you, the reason for the skewed numbers is because the ACC has so many more teams than most conferences. A major point, no question.

But the problem then becomes, while sticking with the RPI theme: shouldn't having more teams equate to better overall numbers; more teams in the upper echelon? Nope. The ACC only has one team, Syracuse, rated in the RPI top-ten (both the Big 10 and Big 12 have three a piece), and only three teams total in the top-25 (Duke actually comes in at 28). Ten teams from the league are rated outside the top-50 in RPI -- meaning there are a lot of games that won't exactly help Syracuse's strength of schedule.

Seriously, as it stands, the highest ranked opponent by the Associated Press SU will face this season is Villanova. Which is funny, no? SU jumps from the sinking ship that was the old Big East only to be somewhat propped up by its old league. Adding to the irony is the fact that the newcomers, the Orange along with Pittsburgh, are the teams carrying the ACC banner in terms of RPI and BPI -- with the Panthers actually rating higher than anyone else in the league.

Yeah, Pittsburgh.

So I'm done waiting, done expecting the Tar Heels to finally put it together, or to figure out the difference between Wake Forest or, let's say, Clemson. We're basically halfway through the season, I don't see UNC as being a good team and I still can't tell, even if I squint, if I'm looking at Demon Deacons or Tigers or Yellow Jackets or Terrapins or Hokies.

Which is nothing new, really. Despite the conditioning we have to think the ACC, with all its history and usual March run by one of its members, is one of the best conferences year in and year out (the Big 10 vs. the ACC is not a debate, I don't care that the two leagues split their challenge this season). When actually it's long since been a top-heavy conference -- carried by the Blue Devils or Tar Heels. And 2013-14 is proving that the ACC is most certainly following that trend. Sure, there have been some big wins -- North Carolina has a few -- but the loses, embarrassing losses, have been much more frequent -- North Carolina has a few of those, too.

When it comes to grilling, you have to just trust yourself sometimes. When it comes to the ACC, as a whole, I have to believe what I see: the league is cooked. Even I can see that.

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