Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: ACC not a power league in football

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by The Blog Comment of the Week: There's no rule that says we have to wait until the end for it.

Q: So you want to get to it now?

A: Let's, because it's a good launching point for some discussion. The post came from "crooked road" on Friday following the news that the Big 12 and SEC have arranged to have their champions meet in a New Year's Day bowl game for five years starting with the 2014 season. The post:

"The Orange Bowl will end up with whatever the depleted Big East produces as the opponent for the ACC champ. Maybe some second place Big 12 or Big Ten team occasionally. And the ACC officials thought they had trouble selling bowl tickets prior to this? LOL รข? it's going to be even more embarrassing now."

Q: So what do you think? Is the new bowl a really bad thing for the ACC?

A: I don't think there's any way the ACC can construe it as a good thing. It's yet another nudge away from the postseason limelight for the conference. But I don't think we need to go overboard.

Q: What do you mean?

A: The last six Orange Bowls have featured: West Virginia-Clemson, Stanford-Virginia Tech, Iowa-Georgia Tech, Cincinnati-Virginia Tech, Kansas-Virginia Tech and Louisville-Wake Forest. No ACC teams have played in the national title game over that span, either; those are ACC champs competing in those beauties. The point is, the ACC hasn't been in a position of strength for a long time when it comes to the college football postseason.

Q: So who wins in all this?

A: The Big 12, for sure. That league was looking shaky not long ago. I think it's fair to say that any football partnership you can create with the SEC is a positive.

Q: What's the next move for ACC officials?

A: Retain Florida State, for one thing. Folks can say what they want about the Seminoles doing their part to help keep the football reputation of the ACC at "mediocre" - and with their decline, they have - but the fact is you've got to have teams in your league that have proven they can compete for the national title. FSU is among the few that have.

Q: Shifting gears: On Friday night, Tigers ace and Virginia native Justin Verlander finished two outs shy of throwing a no-hitter against the Pirates. What's the ceiling for him?

A: I really think he has a chance at matching one of the "unbreakable" records in sports: Nolan Ryan's seven no-hitters. He already owns two, plus this week's game, plus a pair of two-hit shutouts. He won't turn 30 until February. Ryan's last three no-nos came after he turned 34. With Verlander's stuff, it's possible.

Q: Early in the week, tournament officials announced that Tiger Woods has committed to play in The Greenbrier Classic in early July. Thoughts?

A: Awesome. Phil Mickelson last year, Tiger this year. Hard to believe that this event essentially has gone from the D.A. Points Invitational to a must-see event in two years. Kudos to Greenbrier owner Jim Justice for the score.

Q: We can't leave here without another blog post of the week, can we?

A: Guess not. Let's go with a quick-hitter from Ralph, regarding the news that Ocean Lakes High School quarterback Corwin "Turtle" Cutler committed to UVa. Ralph writes that Cutler "should have gone to Maryland. They've already got a statue for him."

Q: Good one. Do you think "Turtle" will ever have a statue of his likeness erected in Charlottesville?

A: I've never seen him play. But if he's willing to stick his neck out, you never know.

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