Take that, haters.
Thats what I wanted to hear John Swofford say when he was asked about the ACCs new-found success this college football season.
Instead, in true diplomatic form, the ACC commissioner calmly praised the impressive start by his league, which takes center stage Saturday night with No. 5 Florida States showdown at No. 3 Clemson.
Its really good for our conference to be where we are and to have games of this magnitude within the league, Swofford said Wednesday in Charlotte at the annual media gathering for the upcoming basketball season.
Oh, come on, Johnny Swoosh, you can do better than that. Just a little brag, maybe a quick boast about the ACCs early wins over the almighty SEC (Clemson over Georgia on Aug. 31 or Miami over Florida on Sept. 7)?
We had some opportunities early and won some significant games, Swofford said.
Magnitude? Opportunities? Significant? Dude needs to seriously work on his trash talk. The league has been trashed enough since Swofford helped change it in 2004 with the additions of Virginia Tech and Miami.
With three unbeaten teams in the top 10 this week, a one-loss Virginia Tech team coming on at No. 19 and Swofford was quick to include future member Louisville, another top-10 team, in his talking points Wednesday nows the time to fire a few shots.
Fire any coaches at the airport lately, Pac-12? Buy another bow-tie cookie, Big Ten. You want Mack Brown, Big 12, you can have him. Wheres your football god now, SEC?
I dont know, maybe away from the media Ninja Swoff stealthily throws zingers like he adds expansion teams. In public, hes too cautious, and modest, to puff out the ACCs chest. Or maybe its a matter of prudence, you never dump the Gatorade before the games over.
Swofford said theres still too much football left to celebrate the conferences successful start. Florida State could lose to Miami, the Hurricanes could stumble against Virginia Tech and Clemsons no sure bet anywhere outside Death Valley.
Hopefully, the second half of the season will be as good to us as the first half, Swofford said.
So far, so good for the ACC, which has never been a football league, but has grown to 14.416* teams (the fractional representation of Notre Dames five annual games with the ACC) in order to become a better one.
Clemson ruled the conference until FSU joined in 1992. The Tigers spent the better part of 20 years trying to get to equal footing with the Seminoles, and only recently has coach Dabo Swinney been able to do it.
Before the wave of expansion in 04, FSU and Miami were annual fixtures in the national race. Miami joined the ACC and turned to dust, dragging the Noles down with them.
But both Florida schools are on the upswing, which Swofford noted is the biggest reason for the bump in national perception for the conference.
Weve had some programs rebuilding and coming back, Swofford said. Those programs have great brands, and theyre coming back to where their brand has been previously.
And Swofford did work in a well-disguised, I told you so when he mentioned the early wins over the SEC.
Ive said for years, theres not a whole lot of difference here, Swofford said. You win a few of those kind of games and it changes the perception.
Perception is a fluid concept. Swofford understands that. The SEC, with No. 1 Alabama and seven straight national titles, is still king and it gets another shot at Clemson (South Carolina, Nov. 30) and a first crack at Florida State (Florida) on the same day.
Maybe thats why Swofford is unwilling to throw some shade the SECs way. Or maybe he just prefers to let the results speak for themselves.
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