After an offseason filled with questions about the future of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Commissioner Jim Phillips told ESPN Wednesday that he feels “very, very good” about the league’s trajectory.
Changing the narrative around the meeting began Thursday night, when Pitt hosted West Virginia in an update on the backyard brawl competition. With ESPN College GameDay on hand, games will kick off the weekend and the ACC will showcase 12 games across the country over five days — including another big Power Sunday night between Florida State and LSU 5 Non-conference duels.
The ACC has traditionally scheduled tough non-conference games for the first three weeks of the season, but since 2018, with the ACC going 1-10 against Power 5 non-conference opponents in Week 1, it has kicked off an entire conference. narrative, that is hard to break.
Phillips understands what it means to win in these national spotlight competitions.
“I’m proud of the way we look at the schedule. It creates a narrative that’s hard to evaluate, especially early in the season,” Phillips told ESPN in a phone interview. “You start – fair or not – shaped into what kind of team they think your season can be and the type of team you have, so it’s important for us to have a good start. I hope we will. Do.
“If we don’t, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a really good group of teams. But it definitely gets you off to a fast start and enables you to create a narrative about your program [if you win], and your likely success throughout the year. “
Much has been done about the ACC’s place in the Power 5 hierarchy, especially after the Big Ten and SEC’s realignment over the past year. ACC is currently researching ways to increase its revenue stream.
“We will consider all options that can further strengthen our meeting,” Phillips said several times.
The Big Ten recently signed a seven-year media rights deal worth more than $7 billion, and Big Ten president Kevin Warren didn’t rule out “permanent and future growth” in an interview with HBO’s “Real Sports.”
“I still believe that the ACC is strong and one of the best all-around conferences in the country,” Phillips told ESPN. “I’m very confident in our desire to be together. I know there’s been a lot of rumour and speculation. We all understand that people want answers and certainty. But we’re really aligned right now and we feel like we’re getting some really good results to address some of them. A solution to the income gap. But not at the expense of all these things we’re doing.
“I know there’s been a lot of talk about dollars coming out of the latest TV deals, and congratulations to the Big Ten. But in the end, it’s not just dollars, and I think we’ve proven for a long time that we’re in the classroom and in the competition How successful both have been. “I feel very, very good about our current trajectory. “
Multiple ACC sources told ESPN they believe the discussion about income inequality has gained some momentum.
“It’s all under discussion,” Phillips confirmed.
What will certainly help the league is the high-level early performance of its national brands, including Florida State (vs LSU), Pitt (West Virginia and Tennessee) and Miami (week 3 v Texas A&M).
It’s also about going back to the discussion about the actual football game. Phillips, who will be in Pittsburgh for Thursday’s game, will be busy playing more games over the weekend, culminating in Clemson’s game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
“We’re all trying to make us forget all the issues that are in front of us, we’re dealing with professional and personal and in our world, it’s about a 3 or you can have a 3.5 hour experience,” Phillips said. “So I know everyone is looking forward to it. Of course I am.”