Hokies eager to end BCS woes of ACC

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The streak began nine years ago, courtesy of the worst offense in Bowl Championship Series history.

It continued last January with a baffling performance by a team that the BCS computers ranked No. 1.

In between, there have been blowouts and overtimes.

The total carnage: ACC champions have lost eight consecutive BCS games, nine of 10 overall.

No other conference has endured such futility. Not even close.

And the annual failures need to change — in a hurry. Not only short-term, when Virginia Tech faces Cincinnati on Thursday in the Orange Bowl, but also long-term, as the ACC attempts to prove its national chops and assure its financial well-being with a lucrative television contract.

"We understand we have to win," Virginia Tech linebacker Cody Grimm said. "Coach (Frank) Beamer was mentioning the ACC's record in BCS games, stuff like that. We know what we need to do. You want to say you play in a good conference."

Measured by depth, the ACC this regular season was good, witness its matching a national record with 10 bowl teams — everyone except Virginia and Duke. Against the five other BCS conferences, the ACC was 13-8.

But against the elites, the ACC crashed and burned as usual. Florida State and Miami could not hang with Florida. Nor could Clemson with Alabama, or Virginia with Southern California.

BCS competition is where elites are made, and again the ACC pales.

Aside from the ACC's 1-9, the worst BCS record for any league is the Big 12's 6-8. Ponder that for a moment. Every major conference has won at least six times as many games in the series as the ACC.

The Big East, the league the ACC pillaged during its recent expansion and allegedly left for the undertaker? Big East champs are 6-4 in the BCS and riding a three-year winning streak.


Even the Mountain West and Western Athletic conferences, leagues without automatic bids, have won as many BCS games as the ACC.

Not surprisingly, the conference's BCS blues mirror its long-standing problem: lack of offense.

Blame unimaginative schemes and/or recruiting failures, but ACC champions consistently struggle to score in postseason. During the eight-game BCS losing skid, only Maryland managed to score more than 21 points — the Terps lost to Florida 56-23 in the Orange Bowl following the 2001 season.

Now don't dare trot out that hackneyed adage that championship-caliber games are more likely to be defensive affairs. In college football it just isn't so.

Last season's five BCS winners averaged 40 points, the season before 36.2. Six years ago, the average was 44.5.

A Virginia Tech scoring spree Thursday seems as unlikely as Manny Ramirez returning to the Red Sox. Cincinnati ranks 26th nationally in total defense, the Hokies 107th in total offense.

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