AA in the home office today answering your questions.
JC in Miami writes: Hi Andrea, With lots of focus on terrible FCS matchups and how the upcoming playoff will penalize teams that schedule patsies, how will the committee address makeup games? In the past year, FSU and Miami have played Savannah State to fill gaps left by West Virginia and Cincinnati after both canceled at the last minute. And I recall years ago, Miami had to play the Citadel after Colorado dropped a game at the last minute. Meanwhile Florida wants seven home games a year, robbing Miami of a marquee opponent they should play annually. Other major FBS programs have the same problem. What can the NCAA, playoff committee, or conferences do to fix it so we get better match-ups? Fans like to say schools are scared, but really schools are greedy.
Andrea Adelson: JC, you bring up terrific points. I don't think anybody wants to see some of these terrible FCS matchups we've had to endure the last few weeks. But they aren't going away. The first problem is there is no uniformity among conferences when it comes to league schedules. Some play nine league games, others -- like the ACC -- play eight. An eight-game league schedule creates an extra nonconference schedule opportunity that more often than not includes an FCS team. At the ACC spring meetings last May, I took an informal poll of coaches and they all endorse playing one FCS team per year because it helps the opponent financially and it does provide a break. Coaches are not in favor of back-breaking nonconference schedules in addition to a tough league schedule. Secondly, the NCAA does not mandate how a team creates its nonconference schedule. It is well within Florida's rights to schedule as many home games as possible, at the expense of a better game that might require a home-and-home series. Third, there is no real recourse when a team backs out of a game at the last minute. Schedules are done years in advance so there are essentially no big-time teams with openings on short notice. Often, FCS teams are the only ones available to fill a hole.
As we get into the playoff system, I do think we will see better nonconference games. Philosophies could be altered depending on just how much strength of schedule is taken into account. But I don't think we are headed to a day where every single nonconference game features power five teams playing against each other. We will still have to endure some of these uneven matchups.
Ernest R. Holloway III in Philadelphia writes: Hi Andrea, Thanks for the excellent article on Clemson and the misconceptions often associated with the program. That was one of the fairest, most objective pieces I have read. Excellent job! As a Tiger fan I hope Clemson will continue to beat the teams they should beat and somehow find a way to win those big marquee match ups. Great performances by Tajh Boyd and his supporting cast along with a stout Clemson defense will enable them to have a chance to compete at the highest level.
Adelson: Thank you, Ernest. I felt I needed to outline the facts, especially after I misspoke on the subject last week.
You (Stink) writes: You're stupid ... the only reason Clemson didn't pull a Clemson is the refs handed them that game. I love it when reporters ignore something as game changing as the TD called back, Clemson won that game because the ACC refs BLOW, and that is fact!
Micheal in Greenville, S.C., writes: I read your article on the Clemson vs. NC State game and you could have looked just about anywhere and found the picture where it clearly shows the NC State player stepping on the sidelines on the 83-yard run ruled out at the 47. The call was correct, the side judge was looking right at his steps. Please do a bit more research before making an opinion next time please.
Adelson: As you can see, nobody can agree on what happened on the Bryan Underwood play. Not even the ACC.
APA Style in Tallahassee writes: The one good thing in the ACC is ALL OF THE UNDEFEATED TEAMS THAT THE ACC HAS -- not just Clemson.
Adelson writes: One step ahead of you, APA. I discussed that topic in the one good thing video last week.
Lane in Tallahassee writes: Hey Andrea, so as everyone in ACC country knows we have a perception problem. So I was wondering what your thoughts are on this season turning that around. Looking at schedules it seems entirely likely that Clemson or FSU goes 13-0 following the conference championship, with the other being 11-1 (and no I'm not forgetting South Carolina and Florida). Miami could easily finish 11-2 and if Maryland keeps playing the way it appears they can they should easily be 10-2. GaTech seems headed for a 9-3 finish, but if they pull off the upset against UGA they'd be 10-2 and certainly ranked. To me this seems like the league ending the year with 5 ranked teams (3 of them top 10), a national title contender, and 2 teams in BCS bowls. I know we're losing Maryland so it seems weird to include them in conference perception, but we're replacing them with Louisville (an upgrade). Also, I know this is the ACC and anything can happen, but could this finally be the year the league gets some credit?
Adelson: No doubt the league is off to a good start, Lane. Now the teams you mentioned above have to keep winning and stay relevant for the entire season. I think it is entirely possible based on what we have seen in the early going. I also think there is little doubt the ACC is the third-best league in the nation right now, as Heather pointed out earlier this week. But perception is a fragile thing, and I also believe it takes more than one season for beliefs to stick. If the ACC can end the season strong, then some of these perceptions will change. But it's got to produce on a consistent basis and that is the biggest challenge facing this league in the years to come.