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The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
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August 10, 2023 6:16 pm


The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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August 10, 2023 6:16 pm

On a Thursday Drive, Josh breaks down the "roadblocks" that ACC expansion is experiencing and what Notre Dame has to do with it, tells who the most impressive Carolina Panther has been, on and off the field in training camp, 6th man of the Tar Heels, BDaht, joins the show to talk about his trip to Columbia and to see what a "blicky" is, in a session of Grahammar School, Josh reveals his unders for ACC Football, this year, in Graham's Gamblin, and David Hale, of ESPN, joins the show to tell the latest he's heard and what the vote count looks like on the ACC expansion front.


This is The Drive with Josh Graham Podcast. We are killing it online. Tune into The Drive weekday afternoons 3 to 7 on WSJS.

So glad to have you. On this Thursday Drive, you are listening to WSJS News Talk Sports for the Triad. Well, here's the latest on ACC expansion. Last night, ACC presidents had a second virtual call, a second call in as many nights.

And the word that's been used in many places today, roadblocks were hit. Roadblocks in their discussions about whether to add Cal and Stanford or maybe even SMU too. Now, having roadblocks doesn't mean expansion is dead, but it is, or at least it seems like it's becoming less likely that the ACC is going to add in this cycle. The one school that's been public and vocal about their support for expansion is Notre Dame. And that is the perfect encapsulation of the Irish's relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Notre Dame is not a football member. They are not a full member of the league, yet they still get a full vote. And whether the league expands, they get one of 15 votes. Notre Dame is in favor of adding ACC membership. Just as long as it's not them. We're cool with you adding schools, but don't expect us to add.

No siree. And once again, Notre Dame has the ability to do good for the ACC, perhaps even save the ACC, but instead is choosing to harm the league rather than do good. That's Notre Dame for you. They've done more harm to the ACC than good. That isn't to say they haven't done positive things. Sure, you have the branding of having them part of your conference and playing a select number of football games against them each year.

There are some positives that you look at. But the cons outweigh the pros when you look at the large sample that we now have of this part time marriage, this part membership, Notre Dame in the league. There's no doubt that the ACC has given more in this partnership than they've received. The ACC has given them a home for all their non football sports. As the Big East was falling apart, the ACC gave those sports refuge. And that's an upgrade over what the Big East gave Notre Dame. Let's not forget this past athletic year, the ACC had more national championships than any other conference. It just wasn't in the sports that you really care about.

It's not in the revenue generating sports. So for non football programs, it was a step up for Notre Dame. The ACC was there for them. They give them a television chair. Now, it's not a full share because they're not a football member, but a television chair.

Nonetheless, they get a full vote on issues like expansion. They're treated like a full time member in that sense. And of course, during COVID in 2020, the ACC rescued Notre Dame when it was needed. Notre Dame needed the ACC.

And in that time the ACC was needed, the ACC came through. They didn't try to strong arm Notre Dame the way that they probably should have into joining the league, where everybody was only playing conference games at that point. Not a great time to be an independent member like Notre Dame is an independent school. Instead, for one year, they allowed Notre Dame to join the league and Notre Dame had its best season in over a decade.

Probably its best season in over 15 years. They went to the college football playoff. They went to an ACC championship game. Notre Dame had a heck of a year. And the ACC allowed for that to happen by being nimble, being flexible, not being rigid when Notre Dame needed the most.

The reason why, in hindsight, they should have tried the strong arm is because it's pretty clear now. The ACC can't get Notre Dame to love them. Notre Dame's never going to love them. Notre Dame's never going to return that favor for the ACC. They're never going to join because right now they could rescue the ACC. After the Big Ten expansion and what the Big 12 is doing currently and what the SEC is adding in Texas and Oklahoma, Notre Dame has the ability. They are the golden ticket in the ACC being included with that top tier in college sports, but they're not going to do it. Independence matters more to them than helping the ACC, than helping somebody that's helped them, now that the shoe's on the other foot. Rather, Notre Dame is now advocating for something harmful. They're advocating for expansion to the Bay Area in California to add Stanford in Cal. They're the one school that's putting their name on it.

None of the other schools that are advocating for it, albeit we can guess who they are, are publicly putting their name on it the way that Notre Dame has. Here was Heather Dinnage this morning on ESPN explaining the logic of Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick. I was texting back and forth this morning with Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick because it was reported and sources confirmed that Notre Dame is pushing for Cal and Stanford.

I want to read to you the text message he sent that I can use on the record. He said, the notion that two of the very best academic institutions in the world who also play D1 sports could be abandoned in this latest chapter of realignment is an indictment on college athletics. If only there was a way that Notre Dame could help those schools rather than just being one of 15 votes.

If it really matters to you so much that these schools not get left in the dark, if only something you could do, Jack Swarbrick, because we all know in a heartbeat it would be a 15 out of 15 approval. If Notre Dame said, if you take on Cal and Stanford, we'll join the league too. Everybody would sign up for that if that were to happen. So Stanford and Cal need some help from their friends at Notre Dame, the same way that the ACC does. Are they going to help them?

Nope. We're not going to do that. It's not best for us. It's not convenient for us. So we're just not going to do it. That's the Notre Dame way. We expect you to help us and we will pursue this relationship as long as you always cater to us and you serve us.

But the moment that you need help and need something in return, we're not going to really be there for you. At every turn, Notre Dame, it just feels like kicks traditional members in the nads. The ACC, you know, they won an ACC championship in Greensboro in 2015 against North Carolina of all schools. They stole Sam Hartman from Wake Forest. They, you know, Clemson was in the playoff picture and had a chance to get the ACC back to the playoff until they lost in South Bend. And let's not forget that Jack Swarbrick, because of his relationship with the ACC, was allowed to be on a four person subcommittee that created the 12 team playoff. And was it a coincidence that the 12 team format that they came up with best serves Notre Dame better serves them than even serves the ACC?

Probably not. There are some positives that Notre Dame brings and has brought. And we can acknowledge those, but they've done more harm than they've done good.

We can acknowledge that, too. On Twitter, at WSJS radio, if you want in. Will Dalton, the executive producer of the show, you can also watch us in addition to WSJS radio on Twitter, on YouTube and on Twitch. W.D., what movie reference would be more apt in this moment? Notre Dame. Would it be other ACC members acting like Damien and Mean Girls yelling at the back of the gymnasium?

She doesn't even go here. The fact they're not a full member. Or is it Peter Parker letting the criminal go that went to kill Uncle Ben?

And when the person asked, why didn't you do something? He said, I seem to miss the part. That's my problem, where that's my problem, the way that the ACC should respond to Jack Swarbrick's suggestion of somebody needs to help for the good of the sport, Stanford and Cal. We're always going to prefer a good Tobey Maguire Spider-Man reference.

So we're going with that. The Carolina Panthers training camp is a wrap, transitioning things very quickly. How about Brian Burns? Brian Burns deserves more credit than what he's getting. NFL 100 list came out. He's the 11th ranked rusher. That guy might be one of the five best rushers in the sport right now, crushing the Jets offensive line yesterday. The only thing that could stop Brian Burns is a rain out today, which is what ended joint practices and ended training camp in term ahead of the first preseason game on Saturday against the Jets.

Just consider this. It's impressive that he's there. Nick Bosa is not at camp because he's in the same situation Burns is in. Hey, I need a new contract. I need a new contract now.

The same thing for Chris Jones in Kansas City. Brian Burns is at camp and here's why, according to Spider Burns himself. Mainly because I got a season to prepare for. So me sitting out or me not being here wouldn't do me or the team any good. Like I said, I got I got big things to accomplish and I believe in this team and and I'm a big piece of that. So can't miss. And like I said, I got I got things I want to do. So me sitting out with a I'll be a lot more I'll be a lot worse than what you see today if I wasn't here.

So that's it. It's good that he's there. That's what a leader does. And not only is he one of the best players in the league at a premium position. Now that Cam and TD and Greg Olsen aren't there, guys who were there when he was drafted and neither is DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey. He's the alpha of this team. He might not be the best player or he might not be the face of the franchise in the way that Bryce Young is. But he is the best player.

He is the leader of this team. And the alpha. There's a lot that we need to catch up on with the six man of Tar Heel basketball, B-Dot, who is now joining the show North Carolina released a non-conference basketball schedule. But that can wait.

We've got grammar school in a second. B-Dot was in Columbia, not Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia, the country for about a week. What's the best story you've got for me, dot your travels to Columbia? I had a great time, did a lot of things culture wise over there, but there is a town called Palenque. I never heard of Palenque, but apparently a lot of the slaves or the enslaved individuals, you know how much I love black history. A bunch of enslaved individuals actually escaped in Columbia and found this area and turned it into their own village and have been living there for years. And this village is just filled with they did a lot of tribal dancing and showed us some dances that they would do there. And we ate some of the food.

There was a medicine man that gave us all types of little beverages. And it was just super cool, man, just to really experience the culture there. But what was really dope is they have a rapper and I can't remember his name, but he's one of my most recent followers on Instagram or one of the most recent people I followed on Instagram. But he's a rapper from Palenque. He has like thirty thousand followers. He's been to America to a couple of places. I went to his studio inside this hut and it was just so awesome being that we're celebrating 50 years of hip hop this year.

This is the 50th year. And just to see how far hip hop has gone and just to see it just impacting nations all over the country. It was super dope.

But jet skiing was dope. I lost my hat in the job as I was jet skiing, lost my hat in the river and the guy who was on the jet ski with me, 17 years old, jumps into the ocean, swims over there like flipper, grabs my hat, swims it back to me. And I just let him have that.

It's a Winston-Salem state hat. And he really wanted it. And that was super cool. And I've been keeping contact with him back before I was going to bring some shoes back. I had taken two pairs of shoes over there and they got a little dirty.

So I was just going to leave them there. But I hit him up and I gave them to him. What was strange about that is he wears, you can do this on math if you're listening right now, but he does. He wears a size 38 and my shoes were a size 46. And I said, these are too big for you.

He's like, no, no, no. Please let me have them. I'll put stockings in the tip of them so I can wear them and nobody will ever know. I've been talking to him over the last couple of days and he cleaned them up. They look brand freaking new.

He's got new shoe strings in them and he's wearing them. And it touched me a lot of different ways, man. Like I really enjoyed myself on a bunch of different fronts in Columbia. It was a great experience.

That is very cool. I'm still trying to process 50 years of hip hop it being the anniversary. Who's the top of the list for you?

I won't press you to say one, but maybe two, three, Mount Rushmore, even of guys that you put at the very top of your hip hop list. If I'm being very biased and just who I'm a fan of. That's it.

Bias. I mean, that's what I'm asking you. I'm not doing the hey, what's the best movies of all time? And you have to say The Godfather. I'm asking what your favorites are. Like, give me The Anchorman. Give me the like.

I'm not saying Anchorman is one of the greatest movie ever, but it's one of my favorites. So that's what I'm talking about for your hip hop act. No, I did Jay-Z for sure. Jay-Z is the tippy top first face on the Mount Rushmore list. There's Isaiah. He's about to go to open run.

He started his first day of private school. Get him. Yeah. Jay-Z for sure. Lil Wayne is on my list.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He's on my list, too. I love Lil Wayne when he was with Cash Money. So like that was just always DMX would be on my list and Busta Rhymes would be on my list.

My personal list. Excellent. Yeah. Lil Wayne circa 2008 might have been the biggest thing in the world.

At one point, it's hard to explain to people as he's getting set to do Undisputed with Skip Bayless and doing that type of stuff. Anyway, what? Wait a minute. Lil Wayne is doing that? It'll be Lil Wayne, Rachel Nichols and Richard Sherman that are rotating in there with. Wow. I saw the Richard Sherman news. I'm interested to see how that sounds. But Lil Wayne, that's very odd.

But I'd watch. Yeah. Let's get to one of our favorite games. Grammar School. Heritage hardwood floors. When it comes to flooring, they have no ceiling. Heritage hardwood floors with the jazz fingers.

You know what, man? When it comes to flooring, they have absolutely no ceiling. We appreciate our sponsors. Thank you.

And if you need some flooring, make sure you check them out. What's happening, Josh? I got a caustic question for you before you throw at me three terms, song, questions of the urban vernacular that I have to try and answer as this game continues to expand. Are you ready?

I'm ready to do it. OK. Frank Reich's the head coach of the Panthers, and he's a hip guy. Not like he very much gives off like high school or like pretending to be a high schooler, having the skateboard on your back and wearing like a backwards hat. How do you do fellow kids when he's telling us that you don't have to do things the way that everybody else does?

Or as he puts it. It doesn't have to be tradition. That's right. It doesn't have to be tradition. Not traditional.

It doesn't have to be tradition. Or when he's meeting for the team with the team for the first time and he's looking for a message to send to them. This is the message that he came up with that he thinks will unify the group.

So I checked around with a few guys. I checked around with a few guys and I said, OK, we're going to keep it 100, right? Am I saying that right?

Am I saying that right? We're going to keep it 100. That's what he was going to do.

Keep it 100, B-Dot. Yeah. So with that in mind, I just need you to tell me, what's the last team Frank Wright coached? That was a great set up. Isaiah, do you know the last team that your head coach was? He was a head coach last year. What did he coach last year? Who did coach Frank Wright coach last year?

Was it the coach? That's correct. Yeah. Bang, bang, bang, bang, pow, pow. But yeah, he's he's super hip. Pretty clear, though, right, Dot? Hip guy.

Frank Wright. Again, Josh, you know, he said 100 and it's more hunnid. Like, you don't have to pronounce that hard R. What is the issue with y'all trying to pronounce the hard R all the time? Let the R's go.

Let the R's go. It's just hunnid. Got it. All right.

I'm with it, Dot. I know it's hunnid. Yeah. And also Bryce Young knew. Bryce Young corrected him. He's a rookie, but he'll correct his coach. That's right.

It doesn't have to be tradition, as we know. OK, what's the first thing you got for me? Josh, what is the Blicky? The Blicky? Yeah, the Blicky. The Blicky?

Hey, save that sound, W.D. What is the Blicky? Oh, it feels like one of these words that has things combined. So it's like a Licky with something that starts with a B. So I'm going to say, is it that Blicky or a Blicky? You can have that Blicky or you can have a Blicky. I'm going to say when in doubt, it's probably drugs, as you always tell me.

I'm going to say it's like a joint of some sorts. A Blicky. Now, I always tell you it's when in doubt, it's either what or what? Oh, no, it's drugs or guns is what you usually ask. The Blicky is the gun, Josh. The Blicky is the gun.

Darn it. How does this always work that way where I don't know something? I default to one of those two things and odds are it's it. Why?

Why does that happen? Yeah, the Blicky. A Blicky? Yeah, the Blicky.

What's next? Second, Josh Graham, what does it mean to be swole? Swole. I actually know this one. There we go.

Swole means to be shredded, to be ripped, to be jacked, to be strong or strong, as some people say. There you go. I'm proud on that one. 100% correct. Go ahead and give my man the bill. Bang, bang. Pow, pow. Got my Blicky out. Got my Blicky out. Yeah. Hey, so this season, Josh, when somebody's shooting the lights out, when Ryan Cormac's shooting the lights out, you said you brought the Blicky in with you this week, didn't you, my boy?

You couldn't walk up to RJ. You had the Blicky on you, didn't you? Yes, sir. Hey, have you seen have you been seeing RJ and and Deja Kelly in the Bahamas dating their Instagrams? It's so awesome. That is really cool. Yeah.

Dream couple relationship. Last one. We don't have music today, Josh, but this is a music question. Hey, as Frank Reich taught us, like traditionally we would have music, but we don't. It doesn't have to be tradition. That's right. It doesn't have to be tradition.

It does not have to be tradition. Josh, to win today's episode of Grammar School, all you have to do is tell me how many members are in the group OutKast. Oh, boy.

Is it just big boy and Andre 3000 to. That's my guess. That is 100 percent correct. That's right. Let's go back to that in here, man. Let's go. It doesn't have to be bang bang Mike Breen on them.

My boy pulled the Blicky out of with Mike Green on them. We're keeping it 100 in here. Don't keep it 100.

It doesn't have to be tradition. On the way out, what did you think of North Carolina's non-conference basketball schedule that was released? Hey, Zay. Yeah, for those watching, you just saw Isaiah walk right past. I thought it was real Duke-like. I'm not going to hold you, Josh Graham.

I thought it was real Duke-like. Like they don't have any true road games? Yeah, just a bunch of games where we'll be the even if we aren't the favorites for the game. Satwise will be the favorites in the arena a lot of the times.

I know we were talking and maybe not in Madison Square Garden, but I'm even thinking there. The Carolina faithful will be more than UConn. That part scares me. But what I love about it is I think it'll really give confidence to the younger guys and to the transfers. I think by the time it's time to get to conference play, our upperclassmen, our seniors, they'll be able to hold us down.

And really the most important thing we need this year, especially for the first half of the season, is confidence from the younger guys and the transfers and with HD with this new squad. So I like the schedule. I can see us going anywhere as far as 10 and 2 to 12 and 0 in that 12 game run.

See, I just worry. My only concern is you're not worried about the first three games, which are cupcakes at home. But then when you get to Atlantis and you have we don't know what the schedule is yet, who they're going to get. But we know which teams are there. And other than Northern Iowa, it's Memphis, it's Arkansas, it's Villanova, it's Texas Tech. Good teams that are there. You're not going to get a break in the schedule there. And then in a row, it's Tennessee, it's UConn, it's Kentucky, and then it's Oklahoma with the jump man. And you're also going to get an ACC game probably during that stretch somewhere, too.

So you're talking about like an eight game stretch where you don't have any breaks and you have a lot of new pieces that are in there. That's my only concern with the way the schedules put together. But when you look at some of those neutral sites, you don't have the big ticket opponent that's in Atlantis, but Atlantis itself is a destination when you're talking about the tropics. If you go to MSG, you're facing the reigning national champs. If you go to Atlanta, which is a little bit more geographically convenient, it's Kentucky and you have those blue bloods facing each other. If B-Dot, the sixth man of Tar Heel basketball, can only go to one of those. And also Atlantis is during the holidays. It's during Thanksgiving. Which of the three is he going to prefer out of those options? The wife and I are already making plans to be in the Bahamas.

That's already a thing. We've never been to the Bahamas. I would love to go over there and see the boys kicking some butt. I'm not sure exactly what we're going to do with the kids yet, because, of course, that is Thanksgiving.

But they've got aunties and uncles in the area. But I definitely want to experience the Bahamas this year and then Maui next year. Maui next year.

Bahamas this year. Love it. B-Dot, I love you, man.

It's always good to see you. W-B. Love you, gang. Here we go.

Sixth man of Tar Heel basketball, B-Dot, joining us. I'm in a great mood today. Oh, man. Great mood. Bang, bang. Pow, pow. Got my Blicky out. I'm sorry I'm a little winded.

A lot of talk. This is The Drive with Josh Graham. You're not nervous. I'm nervous.

Yeah, I'm not. The Orioles a couple of days ago had the best closer in the American League, maybe in all of baseball, allow a go ahead grand slam in the ninth inning. Jordan Alvarez hit it and the O's lost by one run. So Alvarez represented the game winning run and hit that grand slam in doing so. Or excuse me, that was Kyle Tucker, who just so happens to be on deck right now, I should point out. And the situation is the Orioles are up by two in the ninth inning. The Astros have two runners on base. So.

The batter at the plate represents the winning run. It feels like Groundhog Day all over again. But again. You don't care. You're not nervous. I'm nervous.

I'm excited to know that. OK, yesterday we shared our ACC football overs for the twenty twenty three season. Clemson over nine and a half. Miami over eight and a half. And Boston College over five and a half.

Those were the three that we liked. Now we get to the unders. And frankly, I feel a lot better about the unders than I even do the overs. And I'll tell you why right now in a part two edition of Graham's gambling this week. If you're not gambling, come on now, let's talk some money. You're not trying. You are so money.

You don't even know what you do. Let's play some bats. I'm going to make you rich. This is Graham's gambling.

Alrighty. Three more bets to place. And the first one is Florida State under nine and a half wins. Let's just look at their schedule very quickly. Not only do they have to face Clemson in Death Valley, but they also have what should be a top five, top six preseason ranked LSU in the opener Labor Day weekend that Sunday night.

Let's just assume for now that Florida State were to lose both of those games. That would mean they'd have to win every other game on the schedule in order for them to hit the over here. And they still have to go to Gainesville. They have the Miami Hurricanes per usual. They have road trips at Pitt, at Wake, and dare I say, at Boston College as well.

They have to go to Chestnut Hill. Always fade the hype team in the ACC, the team that everybody drums up during talking season. That team is Florida State this year. So Florida State under nine and a half is the first bet that we're handing out. Next up, North Carolina under eight and a half.

This is a scheduling problem. It's the reason why that this feels like an under. The first six games are a gauntlet. South Carolina is a really good team. You're going to Charlotte to face them.

It's a neutral site. South Carolina finished the season so strongly with wins against Tennessee and against Clemson. A lot of their guys are back. That's a very tough game. Even if you do get past that, then it's Appalachian State.

Then it's Minnesota. You have a road game at Pittsburgh in there. You got Miami early on. And then the last three games, you know those as well. It's Duke at home at Clemson at NC State back to back to back weeks. So when you look at that six game gauntlet and those final three games to close things out, you have to finish six and three in those games if you're North Carolina. And that's a reach for me, considering you lose Phil Longo, you're replacing an offensive coordinator. You're trying to replace Josh Downs and Antoine Green, and we're still waiting to see what's going to happen with Tez Walker's eligibility.

That's still in question. There are a lot of concerns, and we don't have a large sample size for Drake Mayette, who really struggled in the month of November after the Coastal Division was clinched a year ago. It just seems like a lot of things have to break North Carolina's way to get to last year's regular season win total of nine. So we're going under that under eight and a half. This one's going to make me a jerk, and I understand it.

I don't love that I'm doing this, but I've got to be truthful about it. Virginia under three and a half. I feel like such a bad person for doing this because of what happened with them at the end of last year. My wife is a Virginia graduate, so I married into this, and they have the smallest win total in the league.

But even though it makes me a jerk, they just don't have any gimmes at all. They're the worst team in the ACC this year in Tony Elliott's second season, and there isn't one spot on the schedule they can take a breath. You look at their non-conference schedule.

Here's what they got. You've got Tennessee and Nashville, loss. James Madison, who's now been in FBS. This is going to be their second season in the Sunbelt.

We know how good that program can be. Maryland, yikes. And you also have William and Mary, who might have their most talented team they've ever had. It's a lot of reasons to feel like there's problems for Virginia just trying to win a couple of games this year. So even if they go two and two and they split those, I don't know if they're going to win two league games. Virginia under three and a half is our third and final play.

So there you go. Florida State under nine and a half. North Carolina minus or under eight and a half wins. And Virginia under three and a half wins.

Those are our ACC unders for 2023. W.D. Stress. Yeah, what's going on over there now? So they walked Kyle Tucker to load the bases. Five to three Orioles and then a line drive was hit to the left side of the infield. Our gold glove third baseman had it go off of his glove.

The bad news is he didn't catch it. So a run came in to score out to they. The good news is that it didn't go into left field with two outs, which would have probably led to two runs scoring to tie the game. So it's still an Orioles lead at five to four. Come on, Batista, like you throw a hundred and one.

There's a great inside pitch to make it 0-1. I know this isn't great radio or video streaming or however you're consuming the show, but I don't know. I disagree. I think people actually are entertained by seeing you stressed out. So I actually think this is great radio.

Very stressed out. Yeah. I mean, we say it all the time. Swing and a miss.

0-2. When the host is bothered, we get the best content, do we not? Yeah.

Here's what you need to know, though. So the Orioles are one strike away from winning this. They were up five to two. And of course, they always make things interesting. Of course. Adly Rutchman's probably the best player on their team, W.D.

W.D. is going to be a future star in Major League Baseball. Who knows, maybe even an MVP type of player one day, one time, one time. Pop up, shortstop, Gunnar Henderson gloves it game over. So the Orioles avoid the sweep, win five to four. They win the game. Wish I could say the same about the Atlanta Braves.

How about this, W.D.? Atlanta was up four to nothing today on Pittsburgh and allowed six or seven straight runs unanswered. They lose seven to five. That game just wrapped up. The Orioles, this is the stat I was going to bring up. Adly Rutchman started playing for the Orioles in May of 2022.

So a year and a few months ago. A week before Rutchman made his debut, the Orioles got swept in a series. They have not been swept in a series since.

That's impressive. So Adly Rutchman was, he debuted in mid-May. The Orioles have not been swept since that happened.

Since he was brought up. To put that in perspective, the Orioles are the only team in baseball this year who have not been swept. So they've nearly gone, right now they've gone a season and a half. They might go close to two seasons of not being swept. Because again, today they just figured out a way to beat the Houston Astros. What do you got now Wayne and Greensboro? He still got that grand slam from the other night.

He still got the series. There you go. Glad the birds could get it done. Before we get to David Hale of ESPN, a quick word from our friends at Crossroads Ford. Where are they located again, WD?

Oh, that's right. Kernersville Highway 66, NK Vegas. You can go and see them. Go see John and the gang off of Highway 66. Great sponsors of the show and they can get you in a new Ford or a new Ford truck, a new Ford SUV, you name it.

They also have pre-owned vehicles as well. Okay, David Hale of ESPN has been all over the ACC expansion story this week. That shouldn't surprise anybody since he has a television show on the ACC network covering this league week in and week out. David joins us now. Okay, things change hour to hour, day to day. What's the most interesting thing you've been told today, David Hale?

I've largely sat today out because I think everybody needs a break and has kind of walked away in effort of hoping that clear heads prevail. I will say the most, well, I've heard a lot of different interesting things. I have heard some genuinely crazy stuff over the last few days. I think it is mind boggling to me that Notre Dame is at the head of pushing this expansion idea. Jack Swarbrick doesn't even sit in on the football meetings most of the time because they're not a football member of the ACC. And yet somehow this league is interested in Notre Dame's opinion on expansion. I think it is fascinating in general just to see how all this has played out because you can do a lot of math here and sort of read between the lines as to what is driving this. And I think a lot of it comes from, look, you and I have both heard Jim Phillips stand at podiums and talk about how while it stinks they're not first or second, they're third and that ain't so bad.

An inverse Ricky Bobby, if you will. Third is the first, non-first or second. Except then they've watched over the last couple of weeks the Big 12 expand greatly. And I think suddenly that perch in third doesn't seem so secure anymore. And if you go back to spring meetings and what created the chaos there was this idea that maybe enough teams would leave the ACC to void the league's existence. And I thought that was ridiculous at the time because it was, and I still think it is, but I think there's enough folks around the league that started to grow concerned and say like, well, how do we ensure if the Big 12 is catching up that enough teams don't leave here and go to the Big 12? Well, what we'll do is add to the total and therefore the total vote to leave has to get higher in order to erase the ACC's existence.

And so let's add some teams. Like it is very panicky, I would say. And it is, I will say I talked to one AD yesterday who said he is dumbfounded by the level of panic exerted by or shown by university presidents. So I think there's a lot going on here to answer your question in a long way.

How many yeses do you believe there really are among the university presidents and among the noes, how solid are those noes? There are three, I think, noes that are absolutely not going to change their mind. Which means this is a dead issue in your opinion, because as long as there are, well, actually you can get 12 of 15. You can get to 12.

So you can get to 12. My understanding is that there is 10, maybe 11 that would vote for it now. Of that group, I think there are a few that are sort of very much straddling the fence and a few that are very much driving the bus.

There are, I believe, four to five no votes right now, of which I would tell you three I think for sure are definitive, no chance they're changing their mind unless the money aspect shifts somehow miraculously in some significant way. So what you're saying is that basically they're playing to an inside straight right now. I think that's why they walked away last night hoping to sort of regather with a fresh perspective and attack it again. But I would say right now, if you're asking me to put my chips on one side or the other, I think it's less likely to happen than it is.

And I probably would have said the opposite at the start of yesterday. Now that we have a large sample, David Hale with us here from ESPN, of what Notre Dame's part membership looks like in the ACC. Do you think their part membership with the league has been positive for the ACC, a net positive? A hundred thousand percent, yes, it has been a net positive.

And anybody who doesn't think so does not really understand how money works. Notre Dame has brought a lot of attendance, attention, viewership, marquee matchups, and genuine credence to the ACC during its time in working with the league. I think it is absolutely true that Notre Dame has not been to the league what the ACC might have wanted, which is eventually coming on as a full-time member.

I understand folks who are jaded and upset that John Swofford didn't use 20-20 as a way to force Notre Dame's hand. And yes, Notre Dame could be the savior of the league and refuses to do it. All of that stuff is true, and yet the ACC is still better off having gone through this experiment for the last decade than if it hadn't happened. The only pushback I would have on that is, I wonder, I truly wonder, does Notre Dame get into the room with Jack Swarbrick as an air quote representative of the ACC for the four-person subcommittee to create the playoff, if not for this partnership? And that no doubt best served Notre Dame the 12-team playoff, how it ended up shaking out. And on top of that, it always seems like they kicked the traditional members in the nads like they did Clemson last year. Part of the problem has been that the ACC has not held up its part of the bargain. Plenty of other teams, including I believe Stanford and Marshall last year, did beat Notre Dame. The ACC, on the other hand, I believe took the L across the board. So I'm sorry, but that's not on Notre Dame.

Yeah, it's not. Well, David Hale's with us here from ESPN. I'm interested how much of this week's news you think is related to Florida State's threats last week.

Partially. I don't think anyone inside the league is super concerned about Florida State right now. And I don't want to suggest that that means that no one thinks Florida State's going to leave. I think most people inside the league think Florida State is going to leave at some point, but most of them also feel fairly secure that that point is not today and that when that point comes, it will come with a really, really, really big check that is written to the teams that remain. So, yeah, I think there is part of it that is about, you know, shoring up membership for the long term. I think part of it is just a general state of panic about the larger picture of college football, of which Florida State's barking was part of that. And I think part of it, again, goes back to making sure that you've got numbers and a pure math equation that Florida State doesn't get an easy out. And that's the one thing they I think a lot of people have come to terms with Florida State leaving at some point.

No one within the ACC wants to see it made easy for the Sentinels. Last thing for you. You said you've been told a lot of crazy things over the last few days. What's the craziest thing that you've been told that you haven't been able to corroborate enough in order to put in your reporting? I'm reluctant to say anything too much that might get me in trouble, but I will say this.

Here's the thing that seems crazy, but might be actually the sanest thing that I've heard. And more people should be saying this because I believe deep down most of them realize it. And I had someone, a fairly significant influential person within the ACC who is who said basically, it is insane what is happening around college football and within our league because in five years, college football is going to be blown up completely and it'll look completely different and the world will be different.

And we all know it and no one wants to say it. And we're making all of these huge moves and doing these reactionary things for what might last two to three more years before the system gets blown up again. And I think that's a very real possibility. In that case, I think that is probably what's best for leagues like the ACC. If you like basketball or baseball and want the regional sports that you grew up with. Is it going to be easy to put the toothpaste pack in the tube when you have some of these leagues joining?

What exactly might that look like? What are the challenges that present? Well, I mean, look, this is college football's biggest problem in my mind is that we're constantly reverse engineering reality to fit this vision that the NCAA or college elders have for what this sport should be and where its place should be. It's ridiculous. College football is different than every other sport. College football does not supply money to the NCAA. College football brings in a significantly different revenue stream. A huge swath of Division I college sports in general don't even play football at the FBS level. Like it's just an insane thing where we have been shoving a square peg into a round hole for a long, long time. And that doesn't even get into the fact that, you know, our players should players be paid and NIL and the transfer portal and all the stuff that is going on that is tearing at the fabric of college sports today that really shouldn't impact the vast majority of student athletes. But all of them are being swept along in this current to address issues of college football that I think could be very easily addressed by just taking college football out of the equation and making it its own thing.

David Hale, it's very well said and mirrors what a lot of people within the sport are saying and in ACC circles, some are even rooting for. Appreciate you spending the time with us. Best of luck with the rest of whatever this journey, wherever this journey takes us and we'll see where we're at when we kick things off in a few weeks, OK?

I'm a little bit sad. I thought we were going to get like one dumb question before I leave. Usually you leave me with one dumb question to answer. Oh, let me see if I have a dumb question for you. Do I have anything dumb for him? Usually it's pretty easy for you to think of. Yeah, usually I have great dumb questions. I'm really disappointed with the elevated level of conversation we just had. And the next time I come on, I just want nothing but stupidity. I'm going to write that down and I'm going to make sure to do that. Next time we catch up with you, David Hale, only stupid questions and we're going to make that happen. Thanks, David. See ya.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-10 22:25:09 / 2023-08-10 22:43:23 / 18

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