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Adam Gold

ACC Football 2012 in review

Posted November 26, 2012

Well, I'm glad that's over.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, ACC Football gave you the 2012 season. A season in which Virginia Tech -- arguably the most consistent program in the modern ACC -- produced it's worst season in 20 years. The Hokies lost six times in 2012, including four times in ACC play, giving Frank Beamer his worst record since 1992. It's been an ACC season in which from the 4th week of polling the league had only two teams even worthy of placing in the Top 25. This Atlantic Coast Conference season produced non-conference records of 4-17 against teams from the automatic qualifying leagues (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big East), and 4-19 against FBS teams that won enough games to qualify for a bowl invitation.

I'm still rubbing my eyes at those numbers.

These are the best six non-conference wins for ACC teams this year; Penn State, Ball State, Temple, South Florida, Bowling Green and East Carolina. The Nittany Lions are ineligible for a bowl game, but still won enough and would have beaten Virginia had their kicker not been suffering from a clear case of double vision. ECU is headed for a bowl after an impressive enough conference season. And, the two Mid-American Conference schools had quality seasons each and should both find a post season landing place. As for the Owls and Bulls from the Big East, well, they have a combined 7-15 record entering the final week of the season.

That's just awesome.

On top of what I've already mentioned, we had one of the league's defensive coordinators fired during the middle of the season, two coaches already fired at the end of their respective schedules and in the most painful season-ending week ever, four ACC schools took on teams from the SEC -- the conference where football was invented -- and every single one of them got kicked in the teeth. What's worse, is that three of the four games were at home. Florida State and Clemson, the only two teams worth a flip on the national stage each were handled on their home fields by their in-state SEC rivals. Florida proved too much for the Seminoles in a 37-26 win while the Gamecocks pulled away from Clemson in the second half in a 27-17 victory, after which a very "confident" Steve Spurrier surmised, "I don't know what it is, but every time we play Clemson they don't seem to play very well."

Salt, meet open wound.

In all, the 4-game shellacking, which also featured lopsided losses by Georgia Tech and Wake Forest to Georgia and Vanderbilt, respectively, came out to a 161-74 pummeling. It's going to take years to remove the stain of the 2012 season, and because of the worst news of all -- the departure of charter member Maryland to the Big Ten -- you wonder just how much longer John Swofford is going to have to sort this league out. Unless the commissioner can take the best news of the year -- Notre Dame's inclusion as an ACC partial member -- and parlay that into a 7-game football schedule that has the Irish fighting for the ACC title on the gridiron as well, I just don't see how much longer he can keep this band from breaking up.

In theory, a league with Florida State, Miami, Clemson, Virginia Tech and improving situations in North Carolina, Syracuse and Pittsburgh would be more than enough to build a serious football image around. Add in the potential for a Louisville to be included and then throw in the Notre Dame portion of the schedule and the commissioner might have a lot to sell. It's just never going to be as much as the guys in the offices of the SEC and the Big Ten have to peddle and as Maryland -- Maryland -- has already proven, money talks.

I'm certain it can't get any worse than it is right now, unless the Yellow Jackets were to somehow upset the Seminoles in Charlotte.  And, I'm not sure if that would make it worse, or simply be the most ACC football thing ever.  In any case, let's try our best to forget the 2012 football season, the worst in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

But, before we do, let's honor the very best of the year.
(Yes, not everything stunk like 4-day old spilled milk under the seat of your car in the summer)

Player of the year…

Giovani Bernard, North Carolina. Gio averaged more than 120 yards on the ground this year, more than 145 in league games, and had over 1,700 yards from scrimmage despite missing nearly 3 full games with injuries. Bernard sat out games at Wake Forest and Louisville after a knee injury kept him sidelined in the second half of the season opener against Elon. He got back on the field against Idaho, but carried just twice in limited duty as the Heels didn't need to risk aggravating an injury in a 66-0 laugher. He also had the second best play of the year, the 74-yard, game-winning punt return that stunned NC State, snapping a 5-game losing streak in the series. Tahj Boyd had a great year, but the world is set up for quarterbacks and it's time someone took a stand.

Coach of the year…

David Cutcliffe, Duke. I'm well aware that the Blue Devils lost their last four games to finish at 6-6. I'm also well aware that they allowed nearly 600 yards in total offense on average over that span. I'm also not oblivious to the fact that in games against teams that are physically superior to the Blue Devils they pretty much were handed their hats. But, Cutcliffe got his team ready for the half dozen games in which they had a chance and won every single one of them. I don't care who Duke is playing there are no automatics. That Cutcliffe had his teams 6-0 in those games says a ton about the quality coaching job he did. Larry Fedora also did a wonderful job this year and could have easily been the honoree.

Rookie of the year…

Duke Johnson, Miami. It's one thing to be a freshman running back at the University of Miami and finish third in the ACC in rushing (80/ypg), fourth in touchdowns (13), third in all-purpose yards (172/ypg) and 1st in kickoff returns (33/ypr). It's another matter entirely to live up to that hype after LeBron James tweets about you during your college debut. During the season-opener at Boston College, as Johnson was piling up 135 rushing yards including a pair of long touchdown runs, James tweeted "Duke Johnson is the truth out there for the U! True Freshman. #Speedkills". That's enough for me. Stefon Diggs, Maryland's future all-Big Ten receiver is a great player, but these are ACC awards.

Play of the Year…

There were 19 seconds left in the 4th quarter of a game that the Duke Blue Devils controlled from the start. But, somehow, after North Carolina scored three fourth quarter touchdowns, Duke found themselves trailing by four with a final drive left to claim a 6th victory of the season. A drive that began at their own 13-yard line, amid the disappointment of giving up the lead for the first time since early in the 1st quarter, had come to a stop, at the five yard line, facing a 4th down with likely one play to revive the season. On that play, with senior quarterback Sean Renfree nervously jitterbugging in the pocket, looking for an open receiver, he fired the ball into traffic in the middle of the end zone looking for future Blue Devil star Jamison Crowder.  After a couple of viscous hits from Tar Heels defensive players Crowder rose to his feet securely with the ball and the Blue Devils had their most important victory in the five years of the David Cutcliffe era; the one that put them over the top of bowl-eligibility.  As an added bonus they also got to spray paint the Victory Bell the darker shade of blue for the first time since 2003.

6 Comments

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  • dave437 Dec 2, 9:36 p.m.

    Could be worse, your conference champion could have five losses....

    #B1GhopesRutgersandMarylandwillfixthis

  • Hokies94 Nov 27, 12:08 a.m.

    No darn way any player can get in front Tahj Boyd for POY. I have stated this for over 3 darn weeks. Gio is great player, but he isn't leading a team to this many wins. QB's win games with people like Gio.

  • dave437 Nov 26, 9:24 p.m.

    Tahj Boyd is the player of the year. Al Golden is the coach of the year.

    And Maryland leaving for the B1G is not the 'worst news' of the year. It is a case of 'good riddance'

  • StunGunn Nov 26, 8:05 p.m.

    I won't argue that the 2012 ACC Football season was a dumpster fire. As a Heels fan, I'm glad we escaped with an 8-4 record. A lucky bounce here or there and it could have been 10-2 or 11-1; an unlucky bounce here or there and it could have been worse. It took a heroic punt return from Gio, going the full length of the field to steal victory from the jaws of TOB and State and a 0-6 record against our arch-rival.

    I don't see the ACC ever being confused with the SEC, but after what happened when Carolina wanted to elevate their football program to the next level, and sold their soul to the Devil, (or was it to Davis) I'll take mediocrity every day and twice on Saturday. I accept that we can't be Harvard Monday through Friday and Alabama on Saturday.

  • Hokies94 Nov 26, 3:51 p.m.

    Coach Cut deserves to be COY. I would like to See Gio and Boyd share POY. No way Clemson could have won these last two seasons without Boyd. Gio is one of the toughest, hard-working, all purpose backs that I've see in a long time in the ACC. He reminds me of Walter Peyton. If I had to pick between the two; I would have to go with Boyd. (Boyd) A QB makes a team go. No team can win without a solid and consistent QB. Look at VT this year.

  • Hokies94 Nov 26, 3:03 p.m.

    Joe. You nailed the 1st paragraph--for sure. It was tough to watch the Hokies this year at times. The way Logan Thomas played last season vs this one...who would have thought? No offense. He was 3rd in the Country in Div I in Int's with the exception of our last two games. No picks in the last two games. Wow. Thank goodness for Bud Foster. He has been the glue to keep us in a bowl game for 20 years, especially this year. Some coaches up there haven't done the job. Steinspring nor O'Cain. Our OL coach isn't all that much either.

    When the 3 teams leading the ACC get kicked last weekend against the SEC by those scores says it all. Georgia kicked GT. FSU did a solid job against Florida until the 4th quarter. South Carolina beat Clemson by 10. Yea. I'm glad it's over too. Maybe the Hokies can win a Bowl game this year.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
2nd
MVSU 30
NCCU 50
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
4th
UTEP 3
UTST 14
 
2nd
COLST 10
UTAH 24
 
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
 
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
 
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
 
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
 
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
2nd
KENT 67
UCLA 27
 
2nd
COC 36
DAVID 45
 
2nd
RIU 34
DET 36
 
2nd
UCR 49
HOUB 39
 
Half
MURST 37
ILLST 42
 
2nd
NWST 62
LALAF 54
 
2nd
WAGN 32
MON 35
 
2nd
MVSU 30
NCCU 50
 
2nd
PITT 47
OU 45
 
2nd
TENNM 41
PBY 30
 
2nd
WYO 37
SOUTH 24
 
2nd
AFA 38
UCD 45
 
2nd
MSST 23
USCU 29
 
1st
JMU 6
HIGH 6
 
1st
TXST 9
HTILL 0
 
1st
DRAK 0
ISU 2
 
1st
SHU 7
UNH 8
 
1st
SCU 11
NE 12
 
1st
MSU 3
TXSOU 2
 
1st
UF 6
WAKE 7
 
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
2nd
LOS 1
ARI 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
2nd
WAS 10
PHI 7
 
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC