We have reached roughly the mid-point of another ACC football season. As often is the case when discussing conference football, results are something other than positive.
Tech has arrived at this juncture sporting a 4-2 record, not exactly what was expected after the coaching staff and most everybody else with even a remote connection to the program spent the entire month of August weauxfing about how good would be this team. That season and perhaps career-defining loss to JMU certainly has caused Frank to sing a bit of a different tune. There seemed to have been little said about the current talking point, the team’s youth, back in August.
As we contemplate which will be worse, a team managing to lose to a I-AA but able to win the ACC, with the attendant national scorn and ridicule, or a Tech team continuing to be predicted to win the conference championship over and over but not doing it, with the attendant national scorn and ridicule, the rest of the league isn’t faring much better. The Canes are again showing that case of Premature Backulation for which they have become famous. While Georgia Tech did discover a cure for having algroh running their defense, playing algroh’s former team is no longer an option for the Jackets this year.The Great NFL Legend has become even more popular around Virginia than he was before getting algrohed in Hooville, as writers and columnists from Roanoke to Richmond to Newport News take turns blaming him for all of the problems so abundant on this year’s Hoo team.
Over in the Atlantic, Florida State currently is holding the Backest of the Back claim, but the results of that trip to Oklahoma are not conducive to national glory. Tommy Bowden might be gone from Clemson, but his chronic underachieving lives on. As Jim Grobe ponders his schedule and record, he must be wondering about the wisdom of hanging around Wake Forest when the getting out was good. Whether Ralph Friedgen has managed to shave a couple more million off his buyout is still to be determined. The league’s one genuine surprise, NC State, had a bit of luster taken off what still could be a very good season by losing at home to the team that lost to JMU. In other words, not much has changed with regards to the ACC’s ‘other’ sport.
Then there is Carolina. Yikes! Information about the multiple investigations taking place into Butch’s beauties continues to dribble out in dribs and drabs, each little nugget worse than those preceding. Extracting molars seems a snap compared with getting to the bottom of all that has been going on in Blue Heaven. Thorpe’s admission to his board and good old N&O that the NCAA investigations would likely be looking for accommodations carrying yearly leases and that tacit admission that there is something other than cheery news coming is sure to warm all Tar Heel hearts.
Through it all, Butch’s steadfast denials of any knowledge whatsoever of anything that goes on in his program have become downright hilarious. To believe that Butch knew nothing of all the NCAA illegality swirling around him would require a suspension of disbelief not even attempted by Tolkien. But then, Frodo was only chasing The Ring, not a BCS one.
Even as he wishes Austin, Little and Quinn well in their Carolina educations and announces new player suspensions, Butch denies all personal knowledge of anything. Blaming all of his problems on an agent, a rogue assistant running for that agent, a tutor working for him, a fawning media that doesn’t like him, the NCAA having it in for Carolina, Little’s Bentley salesman, that darn Frank, Miami jewelry store owners, former Tar Heel players, current Tar Heel players, DickieB for planning an expensive stadium expansion without Butch’s knowledge, Ol’ Roy and Dean for setting the Carolina success bar so high, fat Rams Club members who expect BCS-level results for the BCS-level salary, fish swimming around Mack’s tank, Les Miles for not leaving and opening up the LSU job a couple of years ago, the Browns for algrohing him and anybody else not readily seen from his shaving mirror, Butch’s explanations have gotten pretty funny, almost as humorous as his continuing bleats that he ‘cleaned up’ the Canes [much more on that still to come out]. It can be expected that pretty soon he will take notice of the political leanings for which his campus is famous and start blaming George Bush. Who’s left?
Every time Butch opens his mouth, he seems to be further making the case for the NCAA’s harshest of penalties, the dreaded ‘lack of institutional control.’ Even if anybody actually believed him, extreme stupidity is not considered a valid defense by the NCAA. Carolina is going to be hit with staggering sanctions designed to not only reduce, but eliminate any chance at competitiveness for a long time. Think USC, but very likely worse.
Butch’s frantic attempts to hold onto his high-paying job are certainly understandable. This is likely to be his last head-coaching gig at a major college. He is going to become this generation’s Jerry Tarkanian; anybody hiring him in the future will invite immediate close NCAA scrutiny, the likes of which few programs could withstand. The whispers that began circulating through ACC country last Friday that shortly after the season-ending Duke game, Butch will be shown I-40 and given instructions on how to contact the UNC Legal Department concerning any buyout will probably be correct.
In the meantime, the ACC continues to stagger through another football season. With few OOC losses left until Thanksgiving weekend, conference teams can now turn their attention on attempting to emerge from the mediocrity and into BoA Stadium in Charlotte. Oh, well, at least Tech fans will get a 3:30 start for this Saturday’s Wake game. It will provide a decent amount of tailgating time.