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ACC Directors Cup Analysis: The Old Guard

Part three in a series of posts looking at the performance of ACC teams in the Directors Cup. Everyone knows Stanford has ruled the roost, but how has the ACC fared? To start, we'll look at the pre-expansion teams in the ACC.


Last week we took a look at Virginia's performance in the Directors Cup over the last ten years. Today, we wanted to show you how the "old guard" of the ACC fared during the same time frame. By "old guard" we're referring to the seven remaining original teams - Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Wake Forest - plus the addition from the first ACC expansion (Georgia Tech in 1979) and the second (Florida State in 1991). South Carolina was an original member but they jumped ship to become an independent (they'd later join the Metro conference and finally, of course, the SEC).

We'll look at these teams first to form a baseline for how the ACC should perform. Then on Wednesday we can take a look at the three teams that joined in the third ACC expansion (Boston College, Miami and VPI&SU). Next week we'll look at the newest additions - Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

So let's take a look at a chart of the performance of all nine of the "old guard" teams:


Admittedly, with nine teams on the chart its a little hard to tell much from the data (but make sure to click it for a larger version). But there are a few things you can tell:

  • I see a dividing line right around 800 points that separates the good teams and the not as good.
  • Clemson, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Wake Forest are not very good overall. None of them have broken the 800 point mark even once.
  • Maryland made a push for a little bit, but they're only marginally better.
  • Duke and North Carolina have consistently been the cream of the crop.
  • Florida State and Virginia both moved from the lower group to the upper group over the course of the ten years.

I find that last point particularly intriguing. Maybe someone from the Florida State community can reach out and talk to us about what has happened with their athletics program that caused a rise in performance like ours.

Now, as I said, that chart is a little hard to read with all the data. So let's look at it a different way:


Now that's a pretty chart. The orange series is the average points that each team earned over the ten year span. The blue series is their average ranking. The horizontal lines in each of those colors are the averages of all nine teams over the ten years.

There are a lot of things that stand out in this chart:

  • You could probably argue that the 800 point line of demarcation I mentioned earlier is closer to 700. But on the averages, there's no one between 700 and 900.
  • There are very clearly four teams at the top - Duke, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia. Those four teams all average being in the top 15 in the country.
  • Just as clearly, there are four teams at the bottom - Clemson, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Wake Forest. All four average being below 45th in the country.
  • Maryland falls very near the average.
  • The symmetry of the graph is interesting. Too bad the alphabetical ordering of the teams doesn't really mean anything.
  • I formatted the chart so that most of the points and ranking markers would align for the teams. It's interesting to note the ones that don't align as well as the others. Florida State's points are higher than their ranking, relative to the other teams. Maryland is in the opposite situation. My personal read on that is that Maryland got higher rankings in some years with fewer points just because of circumstances of other teams. The reverse would be true for Florida State (and Wake Forest). But maybe that's my bias against Maryland's athletics department.
So now we have a baseline to which we can compare the new teams that have been added since in the last two expansions. We'll start that on Wednesday.