Welcome back to The Upper North Perspective!
Forgive me in advance for a short quick take of a column this week. I am actually down in The Keys for the week with my #HotWife, but with the season being so close, I couldn't resist putting up something to facilitate a little discussion.
With the NCAA and ACC football poll and power ranking season kicking into full effect, I have noticed a bit of lean toward the Atlantic side over the Coastal. Has the strength of the top two teams really increased the value (and perceived strength) of the Atlantic to being greater than that of the Coastal? And if so, is this perceived strength valid?
Let's take a look at my non-scientific or numbers driven way of looking at this. Besides, give me a break. I'm on vacation.
The Strength Tiers
The Top Two (Point Value 4 each): Florida State and Clemson. It's pretty clear at this point that these two teams have separated themselves in the conference and nationally. They lead the way from a perception standpoint and dominate the Atlantic division. These two teams are locks to start in the Top Ten this season, and there is no reason to think they can't finish there. They are both legitimate threats and favorites to win the ACC and make a playoff this season. I have even seen some project both into the playoff. It's possible.
The Almost There Tier (Point Value 3 Each): North Carolina, Louisville, Miami, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh. This tier is highlighted by teams that all have the potential to be dark horses to not only Clemson and Florida State's stronghold in the ACC but also to make a playoff run. Georgia Tech and North Carolina have both been dangerously close to making the playoff in back to back years. Getting hot down the stretch and winning the ones that matter could help any of these teams get to that next step. These teams are not as far away from the top two as others make it seem. They are all locks for a bowl game in my opinion and could each win the ACC if things come together.
There's Potential Here Tier (Point Value of 2 each): NC State, Duke, Boston College. With these teams, I could see each of them performing at a level that has them competing for division titles down the stretch with a little help. These teams have enough talent and are well coached enough to make it into the ACC championship with a few breaks; however, I don't see these teams having enough sustained success to make a playoff run. These teams should make a bowl game as well. They would need a lot of help to get to the ACC championship, but it could happen. We are in the ACC. We have seen crazier things. (2006 anyone?)
The I Just Can't See It Yet Tier (Point Value of 1 Each): Virginia, Wake Forest, Syracuse. These teams, for various reasons, are not in a place for contention and probably not even a bowl game. Virginia could easily be in the next tier up, but I see some growing pains occurring this year. I'm also not quite sold on Bronco Mendenhall with actual college aged kids. Wake Forest and Syracuse just do not have enough fire power to make a run at this point, and I'm not sure I see it happening anytime soon for the two squads. No bowls here for these three.
In my extremely opinion based way of deciding, it looks like the Coastal division finishes with a total of 18 points to the Atlantic's 17. The conference is actually fairly balanced. As we all know, the top two helps to even out the actual gap between the Atlantic and the Coastal. The Coastal has more teams that can make a run at a division title as it truly is a toss up this season...and every season really. The Atlantic can be narrowed down to the top two teams with a consensus dark horse of Louisville.
What does this all mean? It just really confirms what we already know. Maybe someone would like to dig in with an analytics outlook to see if it says the same thing. (I think it will)
Was this a waste of time? Maybe. It did give me a chance to talk to football with you all for a bit. When I get back home, game prep will begin. It's the best time of year. And to weigh in on all the happening this week? Just like Paul, I am saying good riddance to MBob. He was always a waste of space here. I also love CPJs continuing positive attitude regarding this team this year.
Now, I am getting back to sun and water and enjoying my week away. See you guys for some more detailed work again next week.