The Washington Times - September 20, 2008, 07:16PM

It was not a good day for North Carolina. And who knows how things will unfold in the just-started Wake Forest-Florida State game.

But this is undeniably a good day for the ACC.

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Besides the fact Virginia couldn’t lose because it was on a bye, the fact the conference went 6-0 in nonconference games today was a big boost for the much-maligned league.

* It won two games easily it absolutely should have won easily (Clemson over South Carolina State, Maryland over Eastern Michigan).

* It won a game against a ranked team most people thought it had no business winning (N.C. State over East Carolina in OT).

* It won a game that easily could have been close (Boston College, pulling away from Central Florida with a second-half flourish).

* It won a pair of toss-up games against other BCS conference teams with ease (Georgia Tech routing Mississippi State, Miami destroying Texas A&M in College Station).

Is there a program-defining victory in there? No. A win that will look exceptional in late November? Probably not. But there are some solid performances, and it inched the league ever closer to getting that elusive ninth bowl eligible team by the end of the season.

A day that brought short- and long-term good with virtually no harm? Sounds like just what the conference needed before league plays really starts rolling with North Carolina-Miami, Maryland-Clemson and Virginia-Duke on tap next week.

Patrick Stevens