The DYC Meta Perspective: Picking Winners in Other Conferences

People wearing the SEC hat, and especially my DudeYouPodcast partner-in-crime Daniel Palmer, love to belittle the notion that other conferences exist on the basis that the SEC is the best.  While that’s fair, there are over 100 FCS teams NOT playing in the SEC, meaning that there is a minimum of 50 games you could be watching on a second TV, iPad, or phone while the SEC is playing on the big screen! 

In the conference cannibalism era, we are down to just 10 conferences, so I am only really taking fliers on four conferences (C-USA, MAC, Sun Belt, MWC), making this the most efficient non-SEC conference champ declaration post of my life.  No need to detail how many others there have actually been. 

Pac-12: Stanford.  I love the way this team is built, and they are my pick to face the winner of the conference I’m not talking about in this column in the National Championship, where they likely get exposed.  They get Oregon at home on Nov. 7 (mark your calendars) and face one dangerous game in-conference, as they’re at USC the next week.

B1G: Ohio State Buckeyes. I hate this pick.  I hate myself for making this pick.  I don’t fully trust this pick.  However, Urban Meyer is 34-3 (20-3) in his second year at his previous 3 stops, with a Fiesta Bowl and a National Championship to his credit.  Even more to the point, they play in a division with a Wisconsin team coming off of 7 losses (if you include the loss of Bieliema to Arkansas as one), two schools in Indiana, Illinois, and the team from Neverland Valley.  My gut pick is for Michigan State to take the Legends (WTF) Division and face them in Indianapolis.

Big XII (Ten): Oklahoma St.  I know everybody is high on Texas, and I even picked them to hit the over on 9.5 wins, but I just don’t trust a team with a defensive calling card when they gave up 34 points per game in conference last year.  “But Chad,” you say, “Okie State gave up 30 per,” (you won’t say that)… difference being, the Cowboys can put them up faster than they can give ‘em up.  Oklahoma COULD compete, and if it gets blown wide open TCU and Baylor (yes, Baylor) could sneak into the spacecraft in Glendale, AZ.  But I’m going Cowboys.

ACC: Florida State Seminoles.  I’m nervous about this one because they lost their QB and half their coaching staff (to Kentucky).  That said, there are five years’ worth of top-10 recruiting classes in the cupboard for the Noles waiting to pay dividends, an experienced and talented O-line and secondary, and ride the momentum from that rousing Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois past Clemson to the SEC crown.  No telling who they’re gonna face from the Coastal Division in the ACC ‘Ship, but the odds of it being Ga. Tech, Miami, UNC, or VT are all greater than 20%.

Writer’s note: My knowledge drops off here, as I didn’t know some of these teams were in some of these conferences.  So I will endeavor to inform you of the ones that look like weird fits.

American Athletic: Teams you may not expect to see: UCF, Houston, SMU, Memphis. Apparently Garrett Gilbert, the former Texas QB who had a decent Rose Bowl vs. Alabama then fell off the map, is the QB at SMU. Next year, the conference adds Tulsa, Tulane, and ECU (arrrgh– YouTube video not available) while losing Rutgers and Louisville.  Cincinnati and Connecticut get to go down with the ship (see ECU comment above, see what I did there?)

Anyway, Louisville is gonna win this carpetbagger conference, and get a BCS Bowl bid that doesn’t feel quite right out of it.  Hey, it worked out last year

Mountain West:  So apparently Boise St. and SDSU were supposed to be part of the (aptly named, had this come to pass) American Athletic, but chose to stay in the MWC when they realized what everyone else did: that that conference is a joke.  In keeping up with the times, the MWC appropriately named its divisions the “Mountain” and “West”, which thankfully make geographic sense.  Seriously, all the teams in the Mountain division are also in the Mountain Time Zone.  Ditto for the ones in the West.  Knowing that, try to name more than 6 teams in the conference.  

I got 8 off the top of my head, forgetting stalwarts such as Hawai’i, UNLV, and New Mexico. Although I want to take Utah State in the Mountain division to do something trendy, give me Boise from there, and I’ll take them losing to San Diego State, who still has my favorite helmets in the country. 

C-USA: Still reading? Good for you. Experts seem to like Marshall, who went 5-7 last year.  I like Southern Miss to rebound in a big way, but they went 0-12.  The league brought in 6 teams from the Sun Belt, which I couldn’t have differentiated from C-USA anyway. Hell, give me Tulsa over ECU for the title.

MAC: With the trademark for #MACtion process underway, the MAC is my favorite Tuesday night football league.  I’m going to take Buffalo over Ball St. for the title, but again I know nothing.

Sun Belt: They still have ULM, the beneficiary of Bobby Petrino’s unfortunate motorcycle accident (via the win at Arkansas).  Well hold on to your (motorcycle) helmets, folks, because the head hawg is now the coach at Western Kentucky.  I’m taking the Hilltoppers on the strength of this coaching hire and the finest mascot in all of college sports. 

ACC/SEC Rivalries: Let’s Get Hypothetical

I want to get this out of the way early, so there is no ugly truth uncovered by our readers in the coming months: I grew up in an ACC state in an ACC family on ACC football.  I attended every collegiate football game contested in Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium from 1997 to 2011, and some that…didn’t happen I have repressed. Given my background, I can be characterized as one of the world’s few bitter and tactless, yet irresponsibly effusive ACC apologists.

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.  As a current graduate student at UGA, I’m not going to break into Sanford Stadium and paint the ACC logo between the hedges if Clemson holds serve at home at the end of August.  Not a fiber of my being buys into the ideology that many SEC fans share of cheering for the conference in nonconference competition.  Alabama smoking Notre Dame in January did nothing for Georgia-fan-me other than a first good laugh at Manti Te’o’s expense.  Clemson beating LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl taught me nothing about the relative strength of the two conferences, and I didn’t draw a transitive scenario where UNC could’ve beaten Alabama (UNC beat NC State, who beat Florida State, who beat Clemson, who beat LSU, who beat Texas A&M, who beat Alabama) didn’t feel any urge to support either team based on conference affiliation. These schools are your primary recruiting rivals, people, valuable information to retain next time you see Jadeveon Clowney eviscerate (had to link it) your favorite offensive player.

Having said all of that, my name is Chad, and I have SEC Penis Envy.  I chose to move to Atlanta in 2011 predominately so I could tour the SEC megaliths and tailgate in towns catered to college football.  I hit Columbia, Tuscaloosa, Athens, Auburn, and Starkville (because, why not?) that first year.  I chose to attend the University of Georgia over very competitive programs nationwide to continue living vicariously through the SEC’s rivalries, traditions, and elite competition.  I pondered the last five words of this paragraph for 30 minutes over a glass of Woodford to no dramatic avail, so here we go: there’s nothing like SEC football.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’m going to break down some of the rivalries between ACC and SEC schools over the next few weeks. Regardless of your attitude towards the not-recently-competitive conference spanning the East Coast, this is a necessary exercise due to the overlap in the two conferences’ geographic footprints.  We’ll get to developing rivalries next week (and the big ones after), but let’s start with some that don’t (but, in my mind, should) exist, for reasons making varying degrees of sense.

1) Clemson vs. Texas A&M. The Aggies don’t have a natural rival in the SEC, much less the ACC. That being said, matching these two up with names such as Johnny Manziel, Tajh Boyd, Chad Morris, Jake Matthews, and Sammy Watkins would cause carpal tunnel syndrome in scoreboard operators, referee death by exhaustion, and the world’s first three-day football telecast.  This exercise only works under the current regimes, but no-huddle-college-football-marathon-7 on 7 drill-game needs to happen. This year. Let’s hope the Aggies drop a couple and this is your Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Years’ Eve.

2) South Carolina vs. Maryland. The ‘Institution and ACC Exchanging Middle Fingers as the Institution Leaves the Conference’ Bowl. Stage it at BB&T Field on Wake Forest’s campus (and right near the ACC offices in Greensboro) and award the winning team one of the other school’s old ACC Championship trophies and a 12-gauge shotgun. If Maryland ever amassed 5 wins in the series, it would be cancelled for eternity because they’d have no South Carolina trophies left to destroy.

3) Missouri vs. Boston College/Syracuse/probably Pitt. The fact that none of these games are slated for the B1G Network in 2014 blows my mind.

4) Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech. Okay folks, back to being somewhat serious here. Bristol, TN is less than two hours from both Knoxville and Blacksburg, and happens to have a racetrack that holds up to 165,000 people.  There are plenty of logistical issues there, but can you imagine the spectacle?

5) N.C. State vs. Mississippi State. Cow College versus Cowbells. I’m not going to waste my good N.C. State ammo on my first post, but just trust me on this one.  It would make anything less appear civilized. Hell, it’d make juggalos appear aristocratic.  It’d be terrific.

For the first time, giving you the business (and providing context for the signoff)

Chad