Category Archives: ACC and Conference USA

Knight Commission Database: Clemson

When looking at the data for the ACC, the top three schools for greatest percentage of change from 2005-2011 in athletic spending per athlete may be a bit surprising. Those three schools are UNC at Chapel Hill (56%), Virginia Tech (44%) and Clemson (42%). Of those three programs, the least surprising for most fans would be Clemson, as the Tigers’ football team is touted as one of the more successful programs within the conference.

For the Tigers, there is some correlation between level of success and the spending the team saw the following year. In 2006, Clemson went 8-5, and saw only a slight increase in spending the following year, football spending per football player increasing by a mere 3% (Clemson was 9-3 in 2007). the Tigers increased their spending per player by 10% going into 2008, but produced a lackluster 7-6 2008 season and lost to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl, 26-21. In the hopes of improving the program the following year Clemson increased spending by a whopping 23% in just one year and followed up with a 9-5 2009 season. But Clemson learned that funding is important the following year. To possibly curb the spending increase from 2008-2009, the program decreased spending going into 2010 by 7% and saw its first losing season in several years, going 6-7. The slightest of increases the following year (1%) brought the Tigers a 10-4 2011 season.

Profiles

I liked this profile on Jameis Winston by Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples because of the structure. The first three paragraphs open with a similar statement, so it reads well. It’s also informative and explains the hype behind this talented athlete.

I liked this profile on Duke’s coach David Cutcliffe by Kevin Armstrong of New York Daily News because it takes a specific angle of how he helped mentor the Manning brothers. The lede is intriguing because it’s anecdotal. The profile is really detailed, and explains how things in his past affect his present work.

ACC profile pieces

The first piece I found is a profile on former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden. The piece shows Bowden looking back on his famed coaching career, but it also gives a look ahead into the 83-year old Bowden’s return trip to Tallahassee to be honored before the NC State game.

The second profile I found is on Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs. This was written back in May and it describes how the immensely talented Diggs just tries to fit into a role at Maryland after seemingly doing everything possible for the Terps his freshman year. It gives a good sense of how much a struggle it was for Diggs to just relax and become himself in the Maryland system.

What is next for the Tigers?

After Saturday night’s loss (51-14) against the undefeated Florida State Seminoles, Clemson has a lot to think about.  Giving up 52 points on their own turf, the Clemson Tigers have said goodbye to their chances of being the next BCS Champions.

Even with the hopes of Pasadena gone, Clemson still remains in the top ten in all polls falling from No. 3 to No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25 and from No. 4 to No. 10 in the Coaches Poll. Clemson still has high hopes for a BCS bowl if they can maintain their No. 9 rank which was just revealed on Sunday in the first BCS rankings of the season.

“We just have to keep leading,” said senior tailback Rod McDowell to the Bleacher Report. “You know what? If we win out and go 11-1, we’ll still go to a BCS bowl. And that’s my mindset. So we just have to keep executing on the little stuff.”

While some players are thinking ahead, what is fifth-year senior Tajh Boyd thinking? In a poll from the Bleacher Report 62.5% of people voted that Boyd’s chances at the Heisman are gone. Boyd went 17-of-37 for 156 yards and had two interceptions on a national platform. It also could not have helped that Boyd was going up against another Heisman one to watch Florida State’s quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston played his best game to date with 444 rushing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Winston came out on top in that head-to-head battle knocking Boyd and the Tigers out of the race.

University of Miami in the Clear

Breaking news today is that the University of Miami had its hearing and escaped with minor penalties. According to this SB Nation article, the university will lose nine scholarships over a three-year period. But that punishment is trivial: The Hurricanes are free to play and make use of their now No. 7 ranking.

What seemed to help Miami in fewer punishments from the NCAA was the school’s decision to remove themselves on their own accord from bowl play and the ACC championship last year. Therefore, the NCAA thought that further penalties were not necessary. There are no further bowl bans or television bans.

For anyone like myself who was still a little confused as to what the investigation was all about, today’s New York Times article did a better job in background reporting. Apparently, problems arose back in 2009 when word got out that a booster, Nevin Shapiro, had given a large amount of money to players on the team. The NCAA faulted Miami for not asserting control and monitoring actions within the athletic program.

So, what does this cleared status mean for Miami? It’s great for recruiting (minus the loss of a few scholarships). In previous seasons, the unknown implications may have deterred players from signing with the school. In this year’s recruiting class, Miami made over 100 offers but only got 19 commits. But now, paired with their top 10 ranking, Miami should pose a threat to other good schools in recruiting top high school athletes.

David Cutcliffe creating winning culture at Duke

While Florida State, Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech have dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference’s headlines this season, there’s another team playing well in the ACC that hasn’t garnered as much attention — the Duke Blue Devils.

Duke is 5-2, and while only 1-2 in conference play, the Blue Devils are showing signs of success for a team that was laughable in the 2000s, going winless three times with only 10 total wins between 2000 and 2007 (six double-digit loss seasons in that span). But in 2008, the Blue Devils made a move that has made a clear positive influence in the program — David Cutcliffe was hired as head coach. Since his arrival, Duke has shown steady signs of improvement, earning its first bowl-eligible season since Steve Spurrier was head coach in 1989.

Perhaps the biggest sign of improvement is Duke’s ability to play from behind. In years past, when the Blue Devils would go down on the scoreboard, they were one of those teams that spectators just assumed would just coast to another loss. But on Saturday against Virginia, Duke was down 22-0 in the middle of the second quarter. Duke’s past would have suggested that the Blue Devils were well on their way to a big, conference defeat, but this team is different. Not only did Duke refuse to roll over, the Blue Devils marched to the tune of 35 unanswered points to earn the team’s first conference win of the year.

Now, the team’s focus turns to the last five games of the conference slate — at Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Miami, at Wake Forest and at North Carolina. With two wins, Duke will be bowl eligible for the first time since the Spurrier days, which would begin to put Cutcliffe in a similar light as “The Old Ball Coach,” who is widely considered as the most effective coach in Duke football history.

Hurricanes no longer held hostage by NCAA

On Tuesday morning, after over four years after the initial allegations had been discovered, the NCAA finally handed down its punishment in the Nevin Shapiro case regarding him giving extra benefits to Miami(FL) football and basketball players

The Hurricanes will lose 9 football scholarships over the next three years as well as being placed on three years probation. The school’s basketball program will lose three scholarships, as well as former head basketball coach, and current Missouri head coach, Frank Haith being suspended for five games.

For the past two seasons the Hurricane program has been placed under a cloud of doubt as to what would happen regarding the allegations. The Hurricanes had a self imposed bowl ban the previous two seasons, including forgoing an opportunity to play in the ACC Championship game last season. The Hurricanes have suffered in recruiting as well, due to the uncertainty about how the NCAA would handle the case.

Part of the reason the Hurricanes had to wait so long for a decision is in part to the NCAA’s own handling of the case. It illegally obtained documents to be used as evidence in the case, and employed one Shapiro’s lawyers on the case. Shapiro is currently serving 20 years for organizing a $930 million Ponzi scheme. Shapiro then told Yahoo Sports! about the allegations he committed while acting as a booster for the University in 2011.

Miami(Fl) president Donna Shalala commented on the current coaches have handled the process.” He(Golden) has been extraordinary as has (basketball coach) Jim Larranaga,” Shalala told USA Today. “But Al in particular has gotten the brunt of this, and we all couldn’t be more grateful.He’s a class act. He’s showed both his toughness and his commitment to the university.”

The Hurricanes comparatively got let off easy to that of other schools, specifically USC. USC lost 30 scholarships as well as a two year bowl ban due to the Reggie Bush allegations. USC appealed their decision which was upheld and started in 2010. Many feel that because Miami had say out of bowl games the previous two seasons their punishment would be less then that of others, which it is was.

USC athletic director Pat Haden commented on the punishment by tweeting “We always felt our punishment were too harsh. This decision only bolsters that view.”

With the worst part of the scandal in the rear-view mirror, the Hurricanes can finally look forward to the future. The Hurricanes are currently ranked No. 7 in the initial BCS rankings, and have a chance to move up with games at No. 2 Florida State, and a home game against No. 14 Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes also have the no. 4 recruiting class for the class of 2014 according to ESPN Recruiting Services. The future is looking the brightest it has in recent times for the Hurricanes