Our Conference Mock Draft: ACC Edition

Our Conference Mock Draft: ACC Edition

Ohio State, USC, LSU, The U, and Wisconsin? Come on down!

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This new ACC is all about the show. We kept a couple of rivalries but our main goal is to entertain you. There are Hurricanes, Badgers, three different Tigers, and some of the most annoying people on the planet wearing their stupid scarlet. So lean back in your drop top, and turn on the 8 Ball & MJG, because this conference is a par-tay.

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1. Ohio State

1. Ohio State

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How as a child of the midwest not from this state do you choose the Empire? The most annoying fanbase in America isn’t satisfied with the name Ohio State. They want to be knighted. Ohio State wants to be referred to in a different way than the other universities on earth: The Ohio State University. Even with my dying breath, I will never use that title to describe that university, but it’s part of why it’s my first pick. It has the largest enrollment of any school in America, and it’s an original Big Ten school which means it cares, to an extent, about academics. It’s also a school perfectly capable of recruiting a defensive backfield of players born closer to the ocean than they are to Lake Erie. Nick Saban won’t be at Alabama forever, but Ohio State will always be a school in the Big Ten that can bring in the bread, cheese, and dough — and also players who have never been near the Ohio border.

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2. USC

2. USC

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Talent. No state in the union is going to produce as much talent as California. With the campus being located right off of the I-10 in Los Angeles, this is always a desirable destination. Also, it has produced a plethora of professional athletes. There’s All-NBA performer Demar DeRozan, NFL all-pro Tyron Smith, and track and field legend Allyson Felix amongst many others. These young athletes can play sports in a small town or somewhere much bigger. USC will show just how much fun it is to be a star in a metropolis.

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3. LSU

3. LSU

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There was no choice but to make my SEC move in the second round. Programs were flying off of the board, and LSU solidified itself as a force in college football’s best conference. It’s been a top-five SEC program for nearly 20 years. There are plenty of programs with decades more of winning history, but LSU has two national championships and is launching players into the NFL like driving range balls. Traditional rivalries be damned — think of Ohio State and LSU alternating home games through the end of time.

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4. Miami (Fla.)

4. Miami (Fla.)

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Turn down a chance at the program that changed college football forever? HA! Obviously, it’s been a struggle since the late Sean Taylor was a top-five NFL draft pick in 2004, but what this university has pulled off is spectacular. A private school with no football pedigree became arguably the most recognizable college football program in America. It doesn’t win championships like it used to, but it still produces NFL players. Now, with former ‘Cane Mario Cristobal, who was part of two National Title-winning squads at the U, leading the program, and legal NIL money from crypto bros, Miami’s third reign could be near. And when that happens, this guy will have long purchased his personal section at LIV.

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5. UCLA

5. UCLA

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A goal of this draft is to preserve rivalries so congratulations UCLA, USC cares about its matchups against you. The school still puts out NBA stars such as Russell Westbrook, Zach LaVine, and Jrue Holiday, even if the past was stronger with Reggie Miller, Bill Walton, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Over in the NFL, there’s Marcedes Lewis, Matthew Slater, and Myles Jack. Chip Kelly might fail as a coach in Westwood, but at this gorgeous campus, there’s always a chance to win.

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6. North Carolina

6. North Carolina

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This program has always shown college football potential as well as consistent college basketball success. In a changing college sports landscape, this is a perfect program. It’s recognizable, and not awful at football. Michael Jordan has many other responsibilities, but he doesn’t have to fund the program. Just publicly pump it up and give people shoes. That’s all UNC needs to go from a perennial basketball contender to a college sports power. This is a “wine and cheese” crowd. Let them feel comfortable spending that cabernet and gouda money.

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7. Duke

7. Duke

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The only move that will be made in the new ACC where football is an ancillary part. Since the turn of the millennium, Duke has become a respectable college football program, and that just makes them more valuable. Now I can add a respectable football school as well as the most recognizable brand in college basketball, and preserve the sport’s best rivalry. Thank you David Cutcliffe for making this decision easy. Your time making a respectable football program makes some wild upsets in this conference possible, therefore allowing me to bathe in your basketball money.

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8. Wisconsin

8. Wisconsin

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Jump Around! An entire strong athletic program with the eighth pick. The home-field advantage is palpable in both football and men’s basketball. A Rose Bowl or Final Four appearance is quite feasible every single season. Clown the Badgers all you want, but this is a consistent program, perfect for this conference. They may not win, but they will always be in a prime heart-breaking position.

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9. Stanford

9. Stanford

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It’s not like this new ACC is devoid of academics. This is the fifth private school to be placed in the conference. We get it that most of the people who play sports for us will not become professionals. Of course, academics are important, but this ACC needs teams that can compete, especially in football, and Stanford can do that. It may not always be in the Rose Bowl, but they put teams to work. That’s what television wants. A 6-4 team — three of those wins were non-conference — putting the best team in competitive games. David Shaw’s Cardinal will push every ACC team whether it plays in the Lending Tree Bowl or squeaks into the College Football Playoff.

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10. Pitt

10. Pitt

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Sure it’s not the first program most college sports fans associate with national championships, but there’s much history here. Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, and Curtis Martin are some of the Hall of Famers from this school that will one day be joined by studs Darrelle Revis and Aaron Donald. Give me a team with that bunch and I’m willing to go against any program of NFL legends. In men’s basketball, Jamie Dix did a great job with his team — even with DeJuan Blair and his lack of ACLs. I’m also a bit biased because my cousin, Aysia Bugg, started at point guard for the women’s basketball team.

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11. Memphis

11. Memphis

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I grew up in suburban Chicago, and my schoolmates still wore Penny Hardaway jerseys and Orlando Magic starter jackets in the mid-1990s. Combine that with being a young adult while watching the “Grit and Grind” Memphis Grizzlies, Ja Morant being arguably the most exciting player in the NBA during the 2021-22 season, and Hardaway now coaching the University of Memphis — if I run a conference they’re in it. They perform respectably in football and men’s basketball, and I have no problem playing not only “Whoop that Trick,” but also “Stay Fly,” and “Space Age Pimpin’” at games for every single program. The Tigers will only win sometimes, but they will be fun all of the time.

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12. Jackson State

12. Jackson State

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The program is back on the national map for the first time since Black football players weren’t accepted en masse at major predominantly white institutions. Now with the SEC looking like HBCUs on the playing surfaces, but not in overall enrollment, a real HBCU will be represented in this conference. Deion may not stay forever, but Walter Payton’s alma mater will be an important member. If Jackson State becomes the ACC’s athletic doormat then fine, but if the state of Mississippi doesn’t want Critical Race Theory taught, then that graduate-level course will be offered in the new ACC as well as simple lessons about race so students will actually leave these institutions as better people.

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