Sunday, December 04, 2005
Inaugural game a get-rich quick scheme
Virginia Tech stories
- Hokies start fresh at offense
- Hokies' athletic director requested 'night off'
- Virginia Tech fans need new tailgate tradition
Blog: Andy Bitter
- Wednesday links: A story about the 1947 Sun Bowl, Stinespring interviews at JMU and more
- Some thoughts about the Hokies’ quarterback outlook post-Logan Thomas
- Ohio quarterback Chris Durkin flips ’14 commitment from Michigan State to Virginia Tech
- Join the Hokie football conversation on Andy's blog
Twitter: Andy Bitter
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's all about the Benjamins, folks.
Saturday's inaugural ACC championship game between Virginia Tech and Florida State was worth approximately $11 million to the conference, commissioner John Swofford said.
The money goes into a revenue pool. The original nine schools before league expansion will receive even shares of the windfall. The three Big East defectors that joined the league in expansion -- Tech and Miami last year, and Boston College this year -- do not receive full shares until each has completed a three-year initiation period.
"The pros far outweigh the cons," Swofford said. "It can certainly make it tougher [for a school] to win a national championship, but it also makes winning the ACC championship more meaningful.
"I think the way we look at it is really developing the conference internally. The quality of your programs internally and the quality of competition internally as a conference comes first. You do that and you really strengthen yourself."
With its 27-22 win Saturday over Tech, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden's teams have won or shared the title 12 times in FSU's 14 years in the league, but this is the first where the 'Noles had to win it in this format. Bowden said it was inevitable the ACC would eventually go to a title game.
"It's kind of like doing what the Jones do ... everybody else is doing it so we'd better do it, too," Bowden said. "I think it's probably more financial than anything else. The coaches probably would have preferred to just have a regular-season schedule, best record wins and not have to play another game."
Bowden laughed and then added: "This gives people like us a chance [with] as many games as we've lost. So I can only think of it being good."
When the ACC announced the formation of the title game 18 months ago, original plans called for a 1 p.m. kickoff. In August, ABC asked for a flip-flop between the Big 12 and the ACC to move Saturday's game to 8 p.m. It proved to be a shrewd move for television ratings considering Texas' 70-3 drubbing of Colorado on Saturday afternoon in the Big 12 title game.
"For them to put our first conference championship on in prime time, I believe, makes a great, great statement about the ACC," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
"If I'm not mistaken, those people are going to put on what sells, and what they can get those commercials to sell for. I really believe it makes a fantastic statement about the ACC and how exciting the TV people think it is."
No troopers necessary
Bowden showed up at Friday's media conference at the downtown Hyatt Regency with a handful of Florida state troopers in tow.
Thirty minutes later, Beamer arrived at the interview parlor without any official enforcer types. Beamer's traveling party included his wife, Cheryl, and Hokies sports information director Dave Smith.
"Well, you can take that for what it is," a grinning Beamer said as the media throng erupted in a roar of laughter.
"Dave Smith is a tough son of a gun! Does he have a gun?
"Naw, nobody is trying to get to me. Everybody is trying to get to old Coach Bowden."
He likes Frank
When asked if he found Beamer a friendly sort, Bowden shook his head and laughed.
"I started to say something about [Steve] Spurrier, but I ain't gonna say it," quipped Bowden, who often found himself in verbal sparring with the ex-Florida coach who is now at South Carolina.
"I've been with Frank when we're around maybe 35 head coaches [on summer Nike tours] in Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean, and Frank is just one of the well-liked guys. I don't like him because he won't let me beat him in golf. Other than that, Frank, anybody who knows Frank, I don't know if anybody can have something negative to say about him. I can't see anybody not wanting to be around him."
Odds and ends
FSU senior starting linebacker Marcello Church sustained a broken left fibula in first half. ... Brandon Pace's 45-yard field goal that tied the score at 3 late in the first quarter was his longest of the season. The Tech kicker's previous long was 44 yards, which he did twice. ... FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford's 11-yard completion on the first play of the game gave him 2,736 yards passing, the second-highest season total ever by an ACC freshman. Ex-North Carolina State star Phillip Rivers threw for 3,054 yards in 2000. ... FSU nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley's 1.5 tackles for loss in the first half ran his season total to 22, which tied Darnell Dockett's single-season school record set in 2001.
Tech was a 1412-point favorite. The Seminoles hadn't been that large of an underdog since their 8-4 2001 season, when they were a 16-point underdog late in the season at Florida. In that game, the Gators cruised to a 37-13 victory. It marked only the 11th time in 127 games over the past decade that FSU hasn't been favored. ... Bedford County resident Watts Key served as the side judge for the game.