ACC commissioner John Swofford is the new Dan Beebe.
You remember Beebe, right? Last year’s Big 12 commissioner whose perceived ineptitude in the face of seismic changes in the college landscape led to his eventual replacement by the wizened Chuck Neinas, a man so old he began his commissioner days before passing the football was allowed. As Texas A&M and Missouri left for the SEC, Beebe worked around the clock to gently massage Texas as the rest of the Big 12 raged against the dying of the conference light.
Everywhere you turned on the Internet Beebe was lampooned for going down with the Big 12 ship. He became the Carrott Top of conference commissioners, the only professional casualty of realignment. Indeed, the only good public relations Dan Beebe ever received was from a fake Twitter account which continues to riff on the changing landscape of college athletics.
A fired Beebe fled the college athletics scene and has not been heard from since.
He now works as a short-order cook in a Stillwater Waffle House.
So far Beebe is the biggest loser of all in conference realignment.
But he won’t be the last.
Worst of all, Beebe really didn’t underperform, he was just the fall guy. Once the rest of the Big 12 schools realized they had no options, the conference was well on its way to recovery.
Now it’s the ACC’s turn to squirm because lots of ACC schools will have lots of options.
Maybe it’s time for a John Swofford parody account.
Because John Swofford may be about to replace Beebe as the biggest professional loser in conference realignment.
Thanks to an awful decision a few years ago to agree to terms with ESPN over Fox rather than biding his time and taking his television contract to a wider market that could have included Comcast/NBC as well, the ACC is stuck with a bad television deal. It can’t match the television dollars of other leagues, such as the Pac12, which has an inferior product but more bidders, and its leadership is beginning to look clueless and desperate. Adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse? Not a bad move, but clearly a desperate move. When you’re battling the Big East for conference relevancy you know you failed somewhere along the way.
That’s why Swofford is close to becoming 2012’s Dan Beebe, a boss who is blamed for an earthquake, the guy who gets hit by the falling tree in a rain storm.
The Florida State Seminoles hold John Swofford’s legacy on the tip of their tomahawk.
If Florida State bolts, the ACC sinks into the perpetual also-rans of collegiate athletics.
If the Seminoles stay then the ACC will have weathered the expansion storm.
For the moment, at least.
After all, the ACC stinks in the BCS era. Sooner or later more people are going to start noticing the league’s record in BCS games: 2-13.
Think about how hard this is to pull off.
Hell, the Mountain West has more wins in the BCS era and its teams have only had four chances to win.
Still not sure how putrid this performance is?
The ACC usually plays the Big East. And the Big East is 7-7.
The only thing worse than that 2-13 mark?
It’s a top-heavy 2-13.
Without Florida State and Virginia Tech — a combined 2-9 in BCS games — the ACC is just 0-4 in the BCS era.
So, yeah, John Swofford is panicking over the ACC’s looming collapse.
Here are 12 signs that he’s losing it.
1. Late at night he drunk dials the athletic directors at UConn and Rutgers, doesn’t say anything while the athletic directors furiously stammer in to the phone, then he emits a single expletive, the one dealing with fornication, that lasts eight syllables.
Then he hangs up.
2. Three days ago he signed up on Warchant.com, where 95% of members want to join the Big 12, and has been furiously posting as “ACC4ever” ever since.
Sample post: “Your crazy Weinkeswingman16, nobody, nobody!, will ever forget Petter Warric.”
3. He made Notre Dame a mixtape.
That was bad.
It included a Youtube video where he sang along to Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract.”
He played the role of MC Skat Cat.
4. He recently sent an angry email about the ACC title game sucking to a fan that began, “Without the ACC title game, 467,321 charity tickets that no one used would not have been distributed at the local Boys and Girls club.”
It slowly descended into a rant and ended with much less vim and vinegar:
“F—– Boston College!
5. He recently sent a bouquet of flowers to Deion Sanders with this note, “Congrats on your recent restraining order. ACC for life! Right?”
On the same day Bobby Bowden received a tomahawk candy cane with, “Yes, no, or maybe,” boxes left empty for a reply.
Bowden immediately ate the candy cane.
Swofford has retained a team of Duke literary analysts to deconstruct the significance of the move.
6. Last week he texted former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and asked, “Dan, what works better when your conference is disintegrating, bourbon or sleeping pills?”
Beebe replied, “Both.”
7. Every time his phone rings with a Florida area code, he squeals, climbs under his desk, and sends it straight to voicemail.
This is a coping mechanism that is designed to keep him from getting concussed again.
Last year when Mike Slive called his office he jumped through a plate glass window in the ACC’s Greensboro offices.
When he was awoken with smelling salts, he extended offers to Pitt and Syracuse.
When his concussion abated and he was told what he’d done, he said, “At least it wasn’t Central Florida and East Carolina.”
8. In the event he is not in jail, Swofford’s retained double ACC alum John Edwards as plaintiff’s counsel in his potential lawsuit against the Big 12.
What he doesn’t know is that John Edwards has already been retained by the Big 12 as defense counsel.
When asked why, Edwards replied, “Y’all, they pay better.”
9. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany mailed him a copy of “Silence of the Lambs.”
A shaken Swofford, attempting to discern Delany’s message, immediately called him back.
“If I let you eat my left arm, will you not take Virginia and Maryland?”
10. Swofford had an ACC map drawn that included these teams: South Florida, Cincinnati, Louisville, UConn, and Rutgers.
He emailed it and asked ESPN what their television offer would be for this conference.
Ten minutes later, an ESPN exec wrote back their offer: “LOL.”
11. Immediately thereafter, he sent another email, “No matter what happens, you’re with me Raycomm, right?”
Raycomm has still not replied.
12. Swofford called West Virginia and said, “About last year when I said, you weren’t good enough for the ACC, I was wrong.”
Athletic director Oliver Luck said he would consider the offer. He then sent a Fed Ex response.
Swofford tore open the envelope.
A 2012 Orange Bowl DVD.