Disclaimer on Data: South Carolina OOC games from 1953-1968 count for the ACC. GT OOC games from 1978-2009 count for the ACC. FSU games from 1992-2009 count for the ACC. BC games from 2005-2009 count for the ACC and VT/Miami OOC games from 2004-2009 count for the ACC. All records reflect modern conference affiliations besides those mentioned previously in the disclaimer (e.g. Tulane is excluded from the SEC and I-AA's USF/UConn count toward the Big East). Conference comparisons are not the focus of this piece but rather the ACC's performance out of conference.
Back to the point. Nate asked why the ACC wasn't perceived as an ass-kicking topnotch conference in the 1990's when GT, FSU, and UVA were stompin' on our opponents. Well, the answer is simple. The rest of the conference wasn't doing anything. When WVU was dominating the Big East and winning BCS games, did this help the Big East reputation? Not really. The conference was still perceived negatively. To further illustrate my point, check out the graph below of OOC win percentages against modern BCS conference teams:
The 7 blue reflects the Original 7 and their efforts as time has progressed. The orange and maroon bar reflects expansion teams only (GT, FSU, VT, BC, & Miami). When FSU entered the conference and GT made its title run, the rest of the ACC went from winning 42% of their major out of conference match ups in the 80's to only 31% in the 1990's. The conference slate looked really, really soft. What made matters worse was that we played fewer major conference teams and started scheduling more cupcakes. From 1980-1989, the ACC played 203 modern day BCS conference teams (2.5 BCS teams per ACC schedule). From 1990-1999, we only played 164 (1.9 BCS teams per ACC schedule). Thankfully, the conference has improved its scheduling habits since the 1990's as the 2000's averaged 2.1 BCS teams per ACC schedule.
For some more interesting facts about ACC OOC scheduling, I broke down the ACC schedules all time based on modern conferences played. The leader was obviously the SEC as the ACC and SEC have matched up over 500 times since 1953. The secondmost is the Big East at just over 200. Here's the breakdown of records:
Sadly, GT historically hasn't carried its weight out of conference for the ACC. We're the 4th worst team in BCS out of conference match ups. On the positive side, GT has scheduled more BCS OOC opponents per season than any other ACC squad since we joined the conference (3.3 BCS OOC opponents per year since 1978). Here's a look at the 12 ACC schools' records in BCS OOC match ups:
Feel free to add on, if you feel you have more pertinent info.