NCAA

ACC Struggles Through Bowl Season

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Shawne Alston (R) #20 and Devon Brown #4 (C) of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrate after Alston scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – JANUARY 04: Shawne Alston (R) #20 and Devon Brown #4 (C) of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrate after Alston scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – If other conferences could be called for a penalty against the Atlantic Coast Conference, they’d likely be flagged for piling on.

After Clemson was completely demolished in all facets of the game in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl, the ACC’s record in the 2011-2012 bowl season fell to just 2-6 overall.

The only conference that performed worse than the ACC was the Western Athletic Conference.

The ACC’s lone victories in the bowl season came in the Belk Bowl when North Carolina State beat the Louisville Cardinals 31-24; and in the Champs Sports Bowl where Florida State rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Notre Dame, 18-14.

Other than that, it was ugly pretty much all around for the ACC. North Carolina was pasted by Missouri, Mississippi State knocked out Wake Forest, Utah dropped Georgia Tech, Auburn smacked around Virginia, Virginia Tech lost a heartbreaker to Michigan, and Wednesday’s slaughter of Clemson.

The ACC hitched its wagon to Florida State and the University of Miami to carry it to prominence, but both schools were on the decline in the last decade and cost the ACC any chance of establishing itself as a football power.

Only two teams from the ACC have ever played for the BCS National Championship. Virginia Tech played once in 1999 and Florida State played in the title game from 1998-2000. But since then, the ACC hasn’t threatened to put a team there.

The ACC will expand again in 2013 to include Syracuse and Pittsburgh, but neither of those schools has done much in recent years to build the ACC’s football reputation.

Still, Florida State will be a legitimate top 10 team heading into the 2012 season, and Virginia Tech could also sneak into the Top 10 based on the strong play of the team’s starting quarterback, Logan Thomas.

FSU could be poised for big things with a stout defense and starting quarterback E.J. Manuel returning.

But, until the ACC reaches the pinnacle again and can put together better bowl records than the one put forth in 2011-2012; it’s going to be tough for the ACC to ever garner the respect the SEC, Big Ten, and Big XII carry in college football.

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