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July 21, 2013Sign-up for HokieHaven.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
The platform today was for the ACC at the annual ACC Football Kickoff at the Grandover Resort.
And commissioner John Swafford used nearly an hour before members of the media doing the expected back patting for where the conference is and what has been achieved. But unlike his counterpart at the SEC, Mike Slive, there was no belittling of anyone or anything or any jabs.
Swafford made the obligatory statements on the success of the conference, both academically and athletically. He mentioned how the ACC Digital Network, approaching two years in existence, has well-positioned itself. By 2030, Swofford said census estimates have 55 percent of the United States population in the new ACC footprint.
The ACC also has the toughest football non-conference schedule of any conference this fall, with nine games against the AP top 10.
But Swofford either sidestepped questions or took the high road when he had plenty of opportunity to do otherwise.
When asked about Notre Dame's partial addition to the ACC, which has drawn criticism from Duke's Mike Kryzewski, among others, Swofford said he stands by the decision for the Fighting Irish to be full members in every sport except football. Because of its television contract with NBC, Notre Dame will remain an independent but play five games each season against ACC teams.
"I think bringing in Notre Dame is the right thing to do at this point in time," Swofford said. "It was a unanimous decision by our institutions and a very positive one that has already benefitted us without question. I think Notre Dame is a great addition."
One member brought up many complaints that the divisions of the ACC are imbalanced. And with Louisville set to join next year and be placed in the Atlantic Division, with the likes of Clemson and Florida State, there's been even more criticism.
"Every time we add somebody, it's discussed and there's been a natural reason to discuss it with some regularity over the last few years," Swofford said. "Each time, our schools end up, basically at the same place where they started."
Even what's come to be the hated Bowl Championship Series, with all its inadequacies, drew a collected, "humph" from those in attendance.
"For all its issues and problems, I think it's been good for college football," Swofford said. "The growth of the game during the existence of the BCS has been phenomenal. I'm not saying it was because of the BCS, but it turned the sport, in a lot of ways, from a regional sport to a national sport."
Then, a reporter brought up the exit of Maryland after this coming athletic season. Surely, this would be a chance to say 'good riddance' to only the second school to leave the ACC since its inception in 1953. The Terrapins will join the Big Ten next summer.
"Maryland's been an excellent member of this league since 1953," Swofford said. "Their coaches and athletes, in playing their last year in our league, deserve the very best of the ACC and that's what they will receive."
So, all is peachy with the ACC heading into the 2013 season. There's still work to do, like working on an ACC channel and boosting the overall reputation of the league as a power conference after only two teams (Clemson and Florida State) finished in the top 25 voting last year.
But Swofford isn't publicly disgruntled with anyone or anything. He's still patting a few backs.
Virginia Tech NEWS