It has been a long time coming, but in its seventh iteration, the ACC
Championship Game finally has the best matchup in the best city. It’s Virginia
Tech vs. Clemson in Charlotte, and the atmosphere Saturday night should rival
any SEC Championship Game or Big 12 Championship Game for sheer electricity. I
used to think bowl games were life or death affairs, but the ACC Championship
Game has supplanted any bowl the Hokies could go to in terms of importance,
outside of the BCS Championship Game.
When it first kicked off in 2005, the ACC Championship Game was a rousing
success. The 5th-ranked Hokies went up against unranked Florida State in
Jacksonville, and the game was sold out, to the tune of 72,749 in attendance. On
television, ABC sent iconic play-by-play announcer Brent Musberger to call the
game with Jack Arute and Gary Danielson. The game drew a 5.1 Nielsen rating,
better than the Big 12 and SEC championship games. The game was a disaster on
the field for the Hokies, but the ACC came away pleased with the results.
But it was not to last. That game was the ACCCG’s high-water mark, and for
the next four years, as the game remained in Florida, the newness wore off and
the Seminoles failed to make it again. Interest in the game was severely damaged
by matchups involving Wake Forest, Georgia Tech (twice), and Boston College
(twice), teams that either don’t travel well, don’t draw big TV ratings, or
The result was a sharp decline in attendance and TV ratings. Not until the
game moved to Charlotte last year did attendance recover, though TV ratings
remained abysmally low.
Championship Game History
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