Our first two posts of the offseason have examined the American Athletic Conference. Now we turn our attention to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Here are the ACC Standings.
2014. The Jackets dominated a pair of over-matched foes to begin the year and rose to number 14 in the AP Poll. Then, they encountered a scenario that would play out multiple times in 2015. Their offense was held in check by a competent team (this time by Notre Dame) and they lost a one-score contest. The Yellow Jackets went 1-4 in one-possession ACC games, and if we include their non-league losses to Notre Dame and Georgia, their overall mark in close games was just 1-6. Couple that with a turnover margin of -8 in ACC play (tied for last in the conference), and it becomes clear why the Yellow Jackets disappointed in 2015. However, the one tight game they did manage to win may have been worth the other six losses. Boston College wasted a fantastic defense by fielding one of the worst offenses of the modern era (we’ll discuss them more in depth next week). They also struggled in close games, with half of their league losses coming by three points or less. 2015 was an interesting year for Miami. After posting the best YPP differential in the ACC in 2014 (and finishing 3-5), Al Golden was squarely on the hot seat. The Hurricanes opened ACC play 1-2 and Golden was canned. The Hurricanes proceeded to win four of their last five games under interim coach Larry Scott, including one in very dramatic fashion. The Hurricanes finished 3-1 in one-score ACC games, but I think the main reason for the disparity between their YPP and their conference record was the way they played in two of their losses. I rarely question the effort of football players as they are tougher than I could ever hope to be, so I don’t know if the Hurricanes were apathetic against Clemson and North Carolina, but they lost both of those games by a combined 96 points. Those two poor performances do a good job of anchoring their overall YPP ratings. Finally, Pittsburgh enjoyed the largest positive disparity between their YPP and overall record. The Panthers seemed set on being the Cardiac Cats in their first season under Pat Narduzzi. Including their non-league clashes with Youngstown State and Iowa, seven of the Panthers’ first eight games were decided by one-score. The Panthers won their first four league games by a combined 17 points to put themselves in contention for the Coastal Division crown. They lost their last two one-score games to drop out of the race, but posted their first winning league record since 2011 when they were still members of the Big East.
Next week, the ACC gets the APR treatment, and we'll take a closer look at Boston College and their poor offense/strong defense combination.