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Divisions and title game are ACCs hot topics

HOT SPRINGS, Va. – It was a popular question Sunday at the ACC Kickoff at the Homestead Resort in the Virginia mountains.
"What division are you in?"
With the addition of Boston College, the 12-team ACC is separated into Atlantic and Coastal divisions.
While many members of the media themselves had troubles determining which schools are in which divisions, they still took glee in testing the players with the same question.
If it was a summer school course, half would have passed and half would have failed.
Clemson cornerback Tye Hill faired well when naming the teams of the Atlantic Division, in which his Tigers are a member.
"There is us, Florida State, Maryland, Boston College, N.C. State and, um, um …. Duke?," Hill said.
Actually, the other one is Wake Forest but five at six would certainly have put Hill at the top of the class for the day. (By the way, the Atlantic Division is comprised of Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech and North Carolina).
Some players seemed a little coached by their respective sports information directors on the answers while others clearly didn't know and quite frankly weren't all that concerned.
"I don't really know. I just show up and play the games and play whoever is on the schedule that Saturday," said Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans.
Maryland linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was even more succinct than Hagans.
"We play Navy the first game and that's all I'm thinking about right now: Navy," Jackson said.
It may take a while for the players to remember who exactly is in there division, they all are well aware why there are divisions.
The winners of the two divisions will meet in the ACC's first ever title game at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., in early December. The winner of that content earns an automatic berth into the BCS.
Getting to this point in which the ACC could have these two divisions and conduct a lucrative title game was the whole reason behind the push for expansion two years ago and the saga that followed.
Now with Boston College entering the conference this season, the ACC has its 12 teams, its two divisions, and, yes, its title game.
That title game looming on the horizon has certainly heightened the excitement for the leagues officials and fans but has also raised the anticipation for the players as well.
"I don't think anyone really has a grasp on everything about the division, what they're called and who else is in their division but I know everyone understands the whole concept of a title game," said North Carolina quarterback Matt Baker.
Added Jackson: "I love it. If you make it to that title game, it's like being in two bowl games in the same season."
Of course, the splitting into two divisions does have repercussions on the traditional way of doing things in the ACC. Some rivalries will be lost and history has shown that title games are not always conducive to getting a league's best representative into the BCS.
"It's definitely going to make it tougher to get into BCS. At the same time, we are now part of an elite conference," said Virginia Tech tight end Jeff King. "It's good for the teams a lot more and are going to have more exposure. Rivalries will be made inside the divisions.
Added Hill: "Overall, I like the whole thing but I always enjoyed playing Virginia and North Carolina. We had some good games with them and now I'm not going to be able to ever play those guys again," said Hill, a senior.
Again, the overall sentiment was positive. Just the potential idea of two top-ranked teams or undefeated teams meeting in a winner-take-all title game seemed to entice the players.
"It is how it should be. One team wins one division and the other wins the other division and then they meet to determine who the best team is. I think it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds," said Georgia Tech's P.J. Daniels.
Added Boston College's Will Blackmon:
"It's the fairest thing to do. Get the two best teams and have them duke it out."
Perhaps it was Virginia Tech's Darryl Tapp that gave the day's best answer and tied it all together and didn't miss the forest through the Homestead's ample trees.
"It all comes out good for the ACC. More games equals more money," Tapp said.