The Washington Times - September 13, 2008, 06:54PM

When I saw ACC associate commissioner Michael Kelly at the EagleBank Bowl press conference on Wednesday, I asked him what it was like these days to be the conference’s football point man.

He was in College Park today, and needless to say he had reason to be happy.

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North Carolina drilled Rutgers on Thursday. Maryland stunned California. And Duke handled a plucky Navy team at home. Right now, it hardly matters what Virginia does against Connecticut; it’s been a good week for the woebegone league.

Those are all games that had virtually no prayer of going the other way at this time last year. Carolina was embarking on rebuilding under Butch Davis. California hadn’t gone in the tank. Duke was, well, Duke.

Over the last four years, Carolina, Maryland and Duke can safely be considered second-division teams in the 12-team league. And if they’re each beating a likely bowl team – or at least a team considered a solid postseason candidate – at this stage, then that’s a pretty good sign for a much-maligned league.

Patrick Stevens