Giving thanks in the ACC

It’s time to give thanks in the ACC. With Thanksgiving on Thursday, it’s time to slow down and appreciate the good things in life. Like family. Friends. The ACCylum. Overtime games. Upsets. And turkey. Lots and lots of turkey. In appreciation of the holiday, I came up with three things I’m thankful for in the ACC this season:

1. The ACC’s $20 million exit fee. Ah, stability. It feels good, doesn’t it? Not that Florida State or Virginia Tech or anyone else for that matter would have left the comfy confines of the ACC, but the ACC’s decision to increase the buyout drastically diminished the chances and made the universities put their money where their commitment was. While the rest of the college football landscape was shifting under our feet, the ACC not only stood firm, but expanded by two. Admit it, ACC fans. It feels good to be home for the holidays.

2. A top-five team. Thank you, No. 5 Virginia Tech, for once again rising above the inconsistency that plagues college football and giving us a team we can depend upon among college football’s elite. The Hokies are in good company with the likes of LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma State. No other team in the country, though, has matched Virginia Tech’s streak of 12 straight road wins. A win against Virginia on Saturday and the Hokies will have won 11 games during the regular season for just the second time in school history.

3. Turnarounds. Thank you, Dabo Swinney, Mike London, Paul Johnson and Jim Grobe for not repeating losing seasons, for making the conference races more interesting and beefing up the ACC’s chances of having a winning bowl record this season. Coaches get cranky after back-to-back losing seasons. Players sulk at home when they’re not at bowl games. Not only are all of those teams already bowl eligible this year, but three of them – Clemson, Virginia and Georgia Tech – are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Tis’ the season, ACC.