MACK McCARTHY: Thoughts on the Vols, Schiano and this week's ACC Power Rankings.

By Mack McCarthy

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As quickly as the coaching carousel moves, this could literally be yesterday’s news before it gets read, but here we go.  

Did the University of Tennessee’s attempt to hire Greg Schiano as its new football coach change the dynamic of fan involvement a university’s athletic hiring process? 

Social media reacted with vitriol which I have never seen, in reaction to the UT Athletics Department decision.  It caused the University to withdraw its offer, when both sides had already reached an agreement in the form of a “memorandum of understanding”.  While I have seen negative fan reaction to hires, this was something on a level I’ve never heard of in collegiate sports. 

I’ve seen coaches back out of jobs, even after starting to work, but never have I seen a university have to retract an offer to a coach due to public opinion.  Is this healthy?  Is this the fans’/boosters’/media’s formula going forward for holding athletic administrations accountable for their decision making?  Could this have been avoided by having a strategy that would have predicted and possibly countered the social media response?  Regardless of where you fall in answer to these questions, or what your role in college athletics is, this is a situation that should give everyone pause as to their role in these situations going forward. 

Now to this week's ACC Power Rankings:

Not many changes in the ACC Power Rankings this week, but some clarity with some teams facing challenges.  Still sticking at 8 as the probable number of teams making March Madness, however, we will get more information as the schedules present some opportunities for teams to make an impression coming up.

 

1.      DUKE.  The Blue Devils went to the Phil Knight Invitational (PK80).  They trailed in all three games, and won. They played 5 freshmen for an entire overtime period against a team that will be in the NCAA, and won. They played the best team in the SEC, and won.

2.      NOTRE DAME.  Won the Maui Invitational and beat a very good Wichita State team.  Next big test coming up vs Michigan State this week.

3.      MIAMI.  No quality wins to keep them at number two, but we’ll learn more about the Canes with their contest vs. Minnesota on Wednesday.

4.      NORTH CAROLINA.  The Heels were in the other bracket in Portland, Oregon for the PK80 (*BTW, this tournament might have been the best regular season event ever).  UNC played well, losing in the finals to the best team in the Big 10, Michigan State.  A friend suggested if the Tarheels defended as well as the University legal team did vs. the NCAA, they would have won their bracket.  

5.      VIRGINIA.  Solid week for the ‘Hoos on the hardcourt, beating Vandy and Rhode Island handily to win the NIT Season Tip-off.  

6.      FLORIDA STATE.  Played well in Jamaica Classic.  They have a big test coming up in a rivalry game at Florida next Monday night.

7.      VIRGINIA TECH.  Hokies continue to score at a record breaking clip, and have a big week facing them with a home game vs Iowa and a road game at Ole Miss.

8.   LOUISVILLE.  Finally we will learn where the Cardinals should be ranked.  They play Purdue and Seton Hall this week, and that’s pretty much it for being tested until the Kentucky game late in December.


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About the Author:  Mack McCarthy has spent over 40 years in Division I Athletics including 19 years as head basketball coach at Chattanooga, VCU, and East Carolina.  Mack led his Chattanooga teams to the NCAA Tournament five times including a trip to the Sweet 16.  Mack works as a TV Color Analyst for multiple networks covering the ACC, SEC, Conference USA, Big South, and Southern Conferences. 

William Roth