Wide Right: The Grass is Always Greener
by Jeff Cockey, 9/10/03

Do you think that when Michael Jordan switched from basketball to baseball he regretted it? Do you think that he was embarrassed when he discovered that his unbelievable athleticism could not span the gap to MLB? Could it be that Emmitt Smith will regret his move from the Cowboys to the Cardinals for what will probably be his last hoorah on the grid iron? Did Steve Spurrier regret his decision to take the benjamins and leave his cushy digs in sunny F-L-A to play yes-man to Napoleon? And then was he embarrassed when he turned the Redskins into the 7-9 Washington Gators?

(As an aside, I am a life-long Redskins fan. I was rooting for Timmy Smith as he broke the Super Bowl rushing record in XXII, and I will be rooting for the Skins long after the departure of the two goofballs that are now running the team.)

Back to the point. How many times in your life have you been faced with a decision that would take you down a completely different path than the one in which you are accustomed? Everyone is faced with these decisions. "Youíve got a hair trigger aimed at your head. What do you do? What do you do?" (Anytime you can sneak some Keanu Reeves in, you should take advantage of it.) "I am an F Ė B Ė I agent." "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K." Oh my God, I canít stop myself.

I pose these questions for a very simple reason: After watching college football this past Saturday I wonder - deep down where I suppress these crazy notions - will we regret moving from the Big East to the ACC? Obviously the answer is a huge, emphatic, NO! But that might only be because it helps our non-revenue sports and basketball. So letís play devilís advocate for the purpose of this column, and speak only in terms of NCAA footballÖ

Is Wake Forest to be the best in the ACC this year? Two games into the season, they definitely seem to be. They came back and beat Boston College, a perennial bowl team, by scoring 20 points in the 4th quarter. Just so that win canít be written off as a fluke, they come back and thoroughly embarrass Heisman candidate Philip Rivers and his highly- touted Wolfpack. Can any other ACC teams make a claim this big?

Can Maryland make us proud to be a future ACC member? I question whether the rest of the ACC is proud to call Maryland a member. Good thing they have Gary Williams to bail them out. The Maryland Terrapins stunned the football world by losing their first game to Northern Illinois in an extremely exciting overtime. They followed up that performance by a not so stunning loss to Florida State. They were expected to challenge State, at least in the game, if not for the conference title. Fear the Turtle? Hmmm. Let me know when to regret our decision to move to the ACC Ö

How about NC State? Does anything else need to be said other than they lost to Wake? Wake Forest! The bottom feeder friend of the Dookies. You have a supposed Heisman candidate on a top ranked team that should be competing for a BCS spot instead of 4th place in their conference, and you give us a performance comparable to that of Roseanne Barrís Star Spangled Banner debacle. Is this enough for us to be embarrassed by our decision?

Duke? Not a bad job so far from a basketball school. Yet as expected, still no bowl game in their future. No reason for regret here, we knew Duke was our Rutgers Ö

"The University?" Are they a reason to regret our move to the ACC? I figured, as with everyone else, that the French would make a showing of it. It had been uttered that they might win the conference and maybe even appear in the BCS. Unfortunately it seems that they have again relegated themselves to an eternal appearance in the Peach Bowl. Thatís OK Al (Groh), Hot-lanta isnít that bad a place to spend the holidays. Maybe Vick will invite you over for a nice turkey dinner. I will have to check, but I am pretty sure that splitting a wishbone with Mike counts as an additional year of NFL experience. Check on it, but I think youíre good. Are we embarrassed yet?

Maybe Clemson will save us from second guessing our decision. Doubtful. I think the younger Bowden will be lucky to coach a single snap against us next year. If he doesnít get his head out of the Dantzler years, he will be sitting next to that ABC announcer with the ridiculously annoying southern drawl next year. Whatís that guyís name anyway? I am beginning to think we made a bad call Ö

Letís travel down to Chapel Hill for a look at the Tar Heels. Will they lead us to believe that we made the correct choice in joining the ACC? In a word, most certainly not. Maybe if Beamer had taken their offer and jumped ship to the drowning baby blue, it would be a different story. But as it is, they have been in dire straights ever since they decided to pursue that Ronald Curry guy instead of whatís-his-name.

So we move onto Georgia Tech. Can the Yellow Jackets help us, please? They looked somewhat impressive in their victory against Auburn (the experts' pick to shock the college football world). Well, weíre shocked. I donít think I can give GT too many points for this victory, even though Auburn was ranked. I mean "rank."

That leaves us with Florida State. Florida State is undefeated and looks to be unbeatable in the ACC, save Wake Forest. Thereís something I never thought Iíd say. But is Bobby B. really enough to make us proud of our decision to jump ship and join the ACC?

In order to properly answer this question we have to look at who we are leaving behind.

  • Rutgers = Duke
  • Temple = Wake (I am yet to be a true believer)
  • West Virginia = UVa, GT
  • Syracuse = Clemson (still living in the McNabb/Dantzler years)
  • BC = UNC, Maryland, NC State
  • Pittsburgh = Florida State
  • Miami = No ACC team could even shine their shoes
  • V-Tech = If we donít go undefeated in the ACC next year (save maybe Miami) then I will be shocked.

In conclusion, we are leaving a strong football conference to move to what appears to be, at least in the second week of the season, a weaker one. So am I embarrassed by our decision to jump ship? Do I regret that we are moving to the ACC?

Not for a second.


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