It’s probably time to ease up on the ACC

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College football … and hell … maybe sports in general, seem to be the one thing where grown-arse men tend to not be able to get over the past like love-scorned college gals. No one holds the past against a team, player, or group of fans like grown men that like sports for some odd reason.

There is no, “it’s nothing that can’t be settled over a few beers at a corner bar … I’ll buy first round,” when it comes to this stuff (for whatever reason). Sports fans all start looking in the mirror at how their jeans look on them before they leave the house.

As far as college football conferences go, no one feels the brunt of that dynamic more than the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The ACC has been trying to explain to everyone that the 1-7 BCS bowl record betwixt 2004-’05 and Dec. 31, 2012 really should be gotten over by now.

Yet every year, here we are, hammering the ACC for past sins and saying the conference has no shot again this year if everyone else plays up to snuff, all things being equal.

The rise of Florida State has very drastically changed fortunes for a conference that just seems to get collectively flogged annually by the college football media, be it true or not. FSU has carried the torch, closing out the BCS era with two wins and then hitting the rim shot with a championship — as the system went extinct — over the champion of the SEC.

Last year, the conference went 7-6 against top-50 teams. That stat was actually best in the nation in terms of wins, and the ACC was the only conference other than the Pac-12 to finish with a winning record against such teams in the regular season.

Clemson has been FSU’s favorite bar-fight buddy during this time. The Tigers are working on a three-game bowl win streak, including dramatic wins over favored LSU of the SEC and Ohio State of the Big Ten, as well as an absolute drawing and quartering of Oklahoma last year. Also in that time span, they’ve won a high-profile game against SEC power Georgia.

Last season alone was particularly glaring as to why we should change the narrative of ACC weakness just because we aren’t familiar with the names in the league. The 2014 season illustrated why we should discard the idea that we ought to be uncomfortable with thinking Duke or Georgia Tech can compete at the highest level, in much the same way we see “Ginger Beer” on the shelf and assume it’s awful.

Actually, bad analogy. Ginger beer is rough. It has a losing record against top 50 beers for sure.

At any rate, Georgia Tech defeated highly ranked Georgia last season. Boston College stunned then-top-15 Southern Cal; and everyone knows about Virginia Tech handing eventual champion Ohio State a loss early in the season.

Really, every season should be a chance to see the slate wiped completely clean, because everyone is 0-0. It should be like actual college, when no one (should) care about your high school significant others and everyone’s starting over with a blank canvas.

FSU and Clemson again appear to be strong. While you can be forgiven for not knowing what the ceiling may be on Georgia Tech and its offense, expectations should be high there. VT is improving, and Miami is continuing to make its way back at something quicker than glacial speed. Louisville was a huge coup for the conference to bring on, one of the ascending powers in college football over the last decade and a half.

We should all probably give the ACC a break and stop blaming the conference for stuff that happened in its late-teen years, back in the BCS era. The conference is gaining steam by doing it the old fashioned way … winning games, and in FSU’s case, playoff berths and a championship.

Let’s do what we do with most other issues that need to be vetted out: get a 24-pack, build a fire, toss on some tunes, and figure out how to get over it and move forward. The ACC will be in good shape when we wake up with a ringing head.