Friday, December 6, 2013

Big Ten-ACC Challenge: A Sportz Assassin Wish List

The Big Ten-ACC Challenge is over and it ended in a 6-6 tie for the second consecutive season.  I'm an ACC guy so I was sorta happy with the split.  Here is my take on this year's challenge as well as what the future holds.

*RECORD:  The ACC is now 10-3-2 in the Challenge.  The ACC won the first ten years; the Big Ten won the next three; and they've split the last two.  The ACC owns a 88-67 record in Challenge games.  In 15 years, two have been ties and seven were separated by just one game.  From 2003 to 2007, the ACC won the Challenge by five games four of the five seasons.

*MARYLAND OUT:  This year, the ACC has 15 teams and the Big Ten 12.  That means that three ACC schools (Virginia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest) sat out the challenge.  I wished Maryland was left out.  Yeah, the Terps are better than any of the three excluded schools but they are also set to leave the ACC for the Big Ten next season.  That left a weird taste in my mouth as the ACC was represented by a school that wanted out for the opposing conference.  Since the ACC had to sit three schools anyway, I would've rather Maryland was one of the schools that were left out.

*INFRINGING ON EACH OTHER'S TURF:  Speaking of next season, it will be weird seeing ACC schools that hail from Big Ten country (Louisville, Notre Dame) while the Big Ten will have schools in ACC country (Maryland, Rutgers).  Watching Notre Dame-Iowa this season just brought that out to me.

*THANK YOU NEWBIES:  Speaking of Notre Dame, they were the only ACC newbie to lose this year.  The Irish lost to Iowa while Pitt (vs Penn State) and Syracuse (vs Indiana) both won their matches.  If you figure the horrid Clemson, Va Tech and Wake Forest as replacements for those schools, the ACC most likely would've went home a challenge loser for the fourth time in five years (with five years without a win).

*NO MORE WISCONSIN-VIRGINIA GAMES:  When I saw the lineup for the Challenge this season, I figured this game would've been a snorer.  Both place defensive games that stress ball control on offense.  Think a high school basketball game in the 1940s.

*DUKE WINS AGAIN:  Duke is an amazing 13-2 in the Challenge with a perfect mark of 6-0 at home.  I get the home record since it is difficult for non-conference schools to go into the Cameron Crazies to get a win.  It is just a different beast that usually only ACC players are prepared for.

*HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE:  In the 12 games, only North Carolina and Wisconsin won on the road.  Wisky won the aforementioned low-scoring battle with Virginia while the Tar Heels went into #1 ranked Michigan State's house and beat Sparty by 15.  The ACC has won 51 of 72 home games in this series (Big Ten has won just 43 of 73 home games).

*NEUTRAL SITE GAMES:  I like having these games on campuses.  In the Challenge history, there have been ten games held in neutral sites.  Technically those sites are hosted by one of the schools ... just not on campus.  I like the feel of these games being held in home arenas and not in Chicago (Illinois), Detroit (Michigan State), Baltimore (Maryland) or Milwaukee (Wisconsin).  In recent years, they've ditched the off campus games which I really love.  I like seeing Michigan play in Cameron Indoor.  Or Indiana in the Carrier Dome.  Or even big schools heading to those smaller college towns.

*NEBRASKA IS THE BIG TEN'S BEST:  With their win over Miami, the Cornhuskers owns the best Big Ten record in the Challenge.  Just three seasons in the league, the Huskers are now 2-1 in the Challenge and have been the most dominant school.  Okay, that's a stretch.  Ohio State and Purdue are both 7-6 in the Challenge ... but that makes those three schools as the only one's with winning records.

*EVERYONE IS DOING THE STREAK:  The longest current winning streak in the Challenge?  Purdue with five straight wins.  The longest current losing streak?  How about Florida State with six.

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