What Might Have Been
By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
For the past 15 years or so the SEC has been the best college football conference in the country.
As much as it pains me to say it, they’ve had the best coaches, players, and overall teams from top to bottom during that span.
To be honest, they’ve been at the top so long it was easy to forget that in the early 2000’s the ACC actually made a play for that honorable distinction when they added Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Miami to their lineup.
I actually remember a few columnists, as well as many ACC fans, were upset by the move because it was so obviously football centric many people thought it was going to water down the conference from a basketball viewpoint.
That was as acceptable in ACC country as it would be telling Alabama children they don’t need to be a quarterback, but should play tennis instead. (For the record, there’s nothing wrong with choosing tennis over football, but I don’t live in Alabama, either.)
I realize trying to explain to someone under the age of 20 that the Miami Hurricanes were actually a powerhouse program is as difficult as trying to convince my 15-year-old daughter that the Dave Matthews Band was once cool, but they were (in both cases).
The Hurricanes were so dominant back then it would be like taking this past season’s LSU team and extrapolating their success over the next 3 to 4 years.
Not only did it feel like the apocalypse was upon us anytime Miami lost, it also seemed like, for a while, the first round of the NFL draft was a who’s who of Hurricane players.
Virginia Tech wasn’t on the same level as Miami, but they had just gone through the Michael Vick years, which helped propel them into the national spotlight.
The Hokies had also signed Marcus Vick, Michael’s younger brother, so expectations were extremely high.
Boston College, even though they were kind of an afterthought among the three schools, were considered better than most other ACC programs.
When you combined the addition of those three schools, along with Florida State, which was a premier program, and Clemson, which always seemed to be bubbling right below the surface, the conference was poised to really become an athletic juggernaut.
Of course, like most plans, we all make it looks great on paper, but once you get 10 minutes into it the whole thing just falls apart.
Boston College is well, Boston College. Virginia Tech did fairly well, but has never been able to recreate the success they had in the few years prior.
As for Miami, the crown jewel of this expansion, you could argue they have been the worst of the three.
I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that overall the three programs have brought more success to the basketball court than the football field, which is saying something.
I have to admit, as a fan of the ACC, it gets a little rough thinking about what may have been had everything turned out the way most people expected.
Instead, the SEC has enjoyed being at the pinnacle of college football for the past 15 years and for right now are in a strong position to keep that spot for the next 15.
Then again, a lot of can change over a 15 year period; just ask the Dave Matthews Band.