Charlotte is a-rockin'. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
BCI: Virginia Tech and Florida State seemed to acquit the ACC Championship Game well this year, turning in an entertaining 44-33 game in front of a crowd of 72,379 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Assess the success of the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte in year one. How much of the success can be attributed to the host city, and how much can be attributed to the matchup? A little of A, a little of B?
FTRS: Average driving distance for the past 10 ACC Championship participants - 593 miles. Average driving distance for FSU and VT in 2010 - 316 miles. Charlotte literally is a day trip for GT, VT, UVA, NC State, UNC, Wake, Duke, and Clemson fans. The odds are pretty good that 2 of those 8 ACC teams will be in the game next year. Charlotte is a huge improvement over an ACCCG in Florida particularly compared to college football apathetic Tampa and SEC country Jacksonville.
BCI: Would you like to see Charlotte become the permanent home of the ACC Football Championship? Or would you be in favor of some alternate Championship Game format? (continuing to rotate the location, move to campus a la the Pac 12, etc.) Explain.
FTRS: A campus championship would be great but, to me, a Championship Game should allow more fans of both teams to attend not just one fan base. A game at Wake Forest might have seats for 1,500 away fans while a game at Clemson could host several thousand. A neutral site just makes sense in that we don't have a round robin regular season. A neutral site Championship Game provides a true on-the-field Champion.
BCI: On to the ACC's 2010 slate of bowl games. How happy are you with your program's bowl placement? Did your team's bowl destination exceed or fall short of preseason expectations? (No, I didn't forget about you, Wake and Virginia. You can speak to general season results relative to preseason expectations here).
FTRS: I'll be blunt. Shreveport sucks. It's a pretty far for most Tech fans (9.5 hours from ATL). We're playing a good opponent, which is promising but I don't see the average Tech fan making the trip especially considering we finished the season in disappointing fashion. Shreveport is on the East-ish Coast and most modern Tech fans are just happy with East Coast bowl bids. Personally, I thought the season was pretty disappointing and if there was a GT team that didn't deserve a bowl bid since 2003, it was this team. We only beat one I-A team with a winning record, feasting on cupcakes while choking on the prime rib.
BCI: Looking at the conference's bowl schedule as a whole, how many games do you have the conference winning? Is this the year the conference has a breakout year come bowl season?
FTRS: I think there are two guaranteed losses on the schedule: VT-Stanford and BC-Nevada (sorry, Brian). There are two draws: GT-Air Force and NC State-WVU. Then, the rest should be wins. That'd leave the conference with at best a 7-2 record and at worst a 5-4 record. I think that'd be a pretty good finish considering the conference's relatively poor OOC performance this season.
BCI: Clearly, there are many factors other than on-field performance that go into bowl selections (travel rep, ticket sales, travel distances). Pretend for a moment that the ACC placed teams in our conference's bowl games 1-9 based solely on their on-field performance this season (you can rank 1-9 anyway you see fit). Holding our bowl opponents fixed, how does your answer to question 4 change? Does the ACC then win more or less bowl games this year?
FTRS: I think the ACC wins about the same. The lack of consistency throughout the middle of conference pecking order (Clemson, GT, NC State, Miami, UNC) really hurts my bowl predicting abilities. I don't think anyone will be able to predict how some of these ACC teams will perform considering the late season disappointments or head coach terminations.
BCI: Last one. The home of the ACC Champion has been the redheaded step child of BCS bowls the past few seasons. The Orange Bowl has been awarded either the Big East champ or a BCS at-large leftover the past few seasons and the casual fan has responded with some of the lowest TV ratings in BCS bowl history. Did the Hokies/ACC dodge a bullet not drawing an 8-4 Big East champ UConn in the Orange Bowl? Or would you have rather have had the Hokies face an easier opponent to improve on the ACC's 2-10 record in BCS bowls?
FTRS: Ratings-wise, no the Hokies did not dodge the bullet. Iowa had a bigger fan base than Stanford last season and our Orange Bowl was still the worst rated BCS bowl. An at large team has no draw. No really cares about Stanford outside of Andrew Luck's potential #1 Draft pick status but that's relatively irrelevant to the average CFB fan. It's sort of like playing Wake Forest on steroids as far as TV ratings are concerned. So prepare to be the lowest rated BCS game again Orange Bowl.