ACC's 2010 bowl season produces mixed results as conference strives for credibility

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The good and bad — yin and yang, if you prefer — of college football's just-completed postseason. As viewed through predominantly ACC-colored bifocals.

Good: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley and running back Michael Dyer were electric in the Tigers' national-title victory over Oregon.

Bad: Quarterback Cam Newton, Auburn's Heisman-winning quarterback, was eligible for the game only because the NCAA concluded he had no knowledge of his father pimping him to Mississippi State. Talk about setting the bar low.

Good: ACC teams were 2-2 against ranked opponents in bowls. Florida State defeated South Carolina, and North Carolina State bested West Virginia, while Boston College lost to Nevada, and Virginia Tech fell to Stanford.

Modest perhaps, but downright encouraging after the ACC went 0-10 against non-league top-25 teams during the regular season.

Bad: ACC teams went 4-5 in postseason, the conference's fourth consecutive year with a losing bowl record.

Good: For the seventh time in eight years, a Colonial Athletic Association team reached the Championship Subdivision title game.

Bad: The CAA's Delaware squandered a 19-0 lead and lost to Eastern Washington 20-19.

Good: For the second consecutive year, EJ Manuel quarterbacked Florida State to a bowl victory in relief of injured Christian Ponder.

Bad: Miami quarterbacks Jacory Harris (three) and Stephen Morris (one) threw a combined four interceptions in the Hurricanes' 33-17 Sun Bowl sleepwalk against Notre Dame.

New Miami coach Al Golden, a former Virginia defensive coordinator, has a more difficult rebuilding task than most realize. Talent isn't the Hurricanes' issue. Attitude is.

Good: Virginia Tech limited Stanford to 13 points and Andrew Luck to 86 yards passing in the first half of the Orange Bowl.

Bad: The Cardinal outscored the Hokies 27-0 after intermission as Luck passed for 201 yards. It was the most-lopsided half against Tech since the Hokies trailed No. 1 Miami 31-3 at recess in 1992.

Good: North Carolina defeated Tennessee in double overtime for its first bowl victory in nine years.

Bad: Only a poorly conceived, soon-to-be-changed NCAA timing rule saved the Tar Heels from their own clock mismanagement at the end of regulation.

Good: North Carolina and N.C. State won bowls in the same season for only the second time, the first since 1972.

Bad: Georgia Tech lost the Independence Bowl to Air Force 14-7, the Yellow Jackets' sixth consecutive bowl defeat. In three postseason games under coach Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech has scored 24 points.

Moral of the story is, given time to prepare, defenses have figured out Johnson's option offense.

Good: Phoebus High graduate Tajh Boyd threw two late touchdown passes to spark Clemson's rally against South Florida.

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