Part of it is coaching. ACC bowl regulars Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia have changed head coaches since 2006, and turmoil often accompanies transition.

Otherwise, there’s no glaring reason or excuse. The ACC certainly isn’t bereft of talent – only the SEC has produced more NFL draft choices of late.

Moreover, there’s little the conference can do, other than win and hope that recent coaching hires -- Virginia's Mike London, Miami's Al Golden, North Carolina's Larry Fedora, Maryland's Randy Edsall, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher -- prove sage.

Schools such as Virginia, Virginia Tech and Clemson are investing in facility upgrades such as indoor practice complexes, and most of the ACC’s programs schedule ambitiously. Meanwhile, impending additions Syracuse and Pittsburgh will improve the league’s basketball more than they will football.

As they did this season, ACC teams will encounter many notable opponents in 2012. Some highlights:

Boston College: Notre Dame.

Clemson: Auburn and South Carolina.

Duke: Stanford.

Florida State: West Virginia and Florida.

Georgia Tech: BYU and Georgia.

Maryland: West Virginia.

Miami: Kansas State and Notre Dame.

North Carolina State: Tennessee.

Virginia: Penn State and TCU.

Virginia Tech: Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Wake Forest: Notre Dame.

Thursday morning I appeared on the Atlanta radio show hosted by Georgia Tech broadcaster Wes Durham and veteran college football scribe Tony Barnhart. They asked if this bowl season, capped by Clemson’s no-show, marked rock bottom for the ACC.

If it’s not, the conference is in serious trouble.  

I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at Follow me at

Here’s a link to my Daily Press print columns, including those from the Sugar and Chick-fil-A bowls.