There’s an outside chance that the ACC’s Coastal Division will make history by having every team finish with a 4-4 conference record this season.
While that level of mediocrity has never occurred in a FBS football conference, we decided to take a look at who has come the closest in the past. So here’s a look at the most #goacc conferences of the past:
4-4 Champion: The Big Ten actually had a 4-4 champion, but it took some NCAA intervention to produce it. In 2012, Wisconsin finished third in the Big Ten Leaders division with a 4-4 mark. Ohio State (8-0) and Penn State (6-2) were both ineligible for the postseason due to NCAA sanctions, putting the Badgers in the championship game, which they won, of course, beating Nebraska 70-31.
Multi-Team Pileup: The Southwest Conference set a record for most co-champions in their final year of existance, but again, NCAA meddling helped to produce it. Texas A&M went 6-0-1 in 1994, but the Aggies were serving a one-year postseason and TV ban, making them ineligible for the title. Texas, Baylor, TCU, Rice and Texas Tech all tied at 4-3.
Despite the unimpressive records, the SWC champs had some star power. Texas had running back Priest Holmes, who went on to NFL stardom, and future NFL linebacker Zach Thomas was on Texas Tech. Plus, Rice had backup quarterback Kurt Roper, who went on to become an offensive coordinator at Duke and Florida.
Close but no Cigar: Most conferences with a logjam at the top of the standings had teams that had records well over .500. For instance, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa tied for the 1990 Big Ten title, but each had a 6-2 record.
Colorado State, BYU, Utah and Air Force also finished 6-2 to share the 1995 WAC title.
The 2004 Big East came fairly close to combining parity and mediocrity. Syracuse, Pitt, Boston College and West Virginia all finished with 4-2 marks.
UConn was 3-3 that year, and Temple and Rutgers tied for last place at 1-5. But, the ’04 Big East finished just four games away from immortality: If Rutgers had managed to beat Syracuse on October 2 and Boston College on November 6, while Temple got wins over Pitt on October 9 and West Virginia on November 6, every team would have finished 3-3.
Four games is a close call, but several conferences and divisions came even closer.
3 Games Away:
The 2005 ACC Atlantic had two teams (FSU and BC) at 5-3, one (Clemson) at 4-4, and three (NC State, Maryland, Wake) at 3-5, coming three games away from an all-team tie for the lead.
The 2012 Coastal title was shared by Georgia Tech, Miami and UNC, and if three games had turned out differently, there would have been a six-way tie at 4-4.
The 2000 SEC West was won by Auburn at 6-2 but was also just three games away from an all-division 4-4 mark.
Colorado won the 2005 Big 12 North at 5-3, and the division as also three games away from pure parity.
2 Games Away:
Here’s the mark that the 2014 Coastal is chasing. Two divisions have finished a mere two games away from history.
2001 SEC West: Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas did their part, finishing 4-4. If co-champions LSU and Auburn (5-3 each) had each lost to 2-6 Mississippi State, every team would have been even.
The 2008 ACC Atlantic had four teams (Maryland, Wake, Clemson and NC State) at 4-4. The co-champions, BC and FSU, were 5-3, finishing just two additional losses to the Coastal away from a six-way tie.
Not only that, but if BC and FSU had suffered those losses, then the Coastal would have only needed two additional games to change results to have every team in THAT division finish 4-4. In other words, the 2008 ACC was just four games away from having all 12 teams finish 4-4.
The dream is alive. #goacc.