December 03, 2008
First of all, I'm going to say something very nice about the ACC, since everyone's had so much fun the last two years beating up on it: As a reader e-mailed me Sunday following the conference's 3-1 weekend vs. the SEC, the ACC is 15-7 in non-conference "Big 6" games (plus Notre Dame) for the season, by far the best inter-league record among the "power conferences." The Big East is next at 9-7, followed by the Big 12 at 7-6. The Big Ten is 6-7; the Pac-10 and SEC are each 6-8. If you took all of the major conferences, ranked the teams from top to bottom in each conference and played them against each other (1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, etc.), the ACC would probably lose the games between the elite teams but win the overall series every time.
I make that point because, though Saturday's ACC Championship -- while not featuring the league's most impressive and highest-ranked team at the end of the regular season, Georgia Tech -- should be a solid, hard fought rematch between two well-coached teams that repeated as division champions despite suffering massive attrition from last year's championship efforts, alas, the theme remains ...
I had no intention of breaking out that picture again this week, but the Roanoke Times looks at Virginia Tech's travel potential today, and with the economy and the extra two-and-a-half hours on the drive to Tampa and whatnot, it might be even uglier than last year:
There could be plenty of empty seats at Raymond James Stadium when Virginia Tech and Boston College square off for the ACC title Saturday.
Tech was obligated to pay the Tampa Bay Sports Commission for 10,000 tickets to the game but has only sold about 3,000 of them.
Virginia Tech assistant athletic director Sandy Smith said Tuesday that ticket sales have been slower than last year, when the game was held in Jacksonville, Fla.
Sales "are not as good as we would like," Smith said. "All the ticket people throughout the conference looked at it -- even the ones [at schools] in Florida -- as being, because of the economy, a tough sell."
Many Tech fans interviewed at last weekend's win over Virginia said they would not be attending the title game in Tampa and would instead save their money for the upcoming bowl game.
"The economy's too bad," Bob Rue of Richmond said. "Bowl games are more fun -- a lot more stuff to do."
Tech stands to lose even more than the $203,000 it ate on unsold tickets for last year's game. Meanwhile, Boston College is giving away tickets to students for a chance to witness what Bill, aka dedicated BC blogger "ATL Eagle," calls "BC's most important win in 60 years." Think about the horrible, cubicle-filled life in front of you, kids, and know that you will never regret this trip.