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The ACC & the Mothership

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From the “Just out of curiosity” file …

You’d expect Duke and North Carolina to be the most high profile of the ACC’s teams in terms of national exposure.

And that means plenty of appearances on the Four Letter Network.

It’s always interesting to see just how much those Tobacco Road titans command attention from ESPN. And the release of the entire league schedule (including TV assignments) goes a long way to answering that question.

And here are the results, not including the ACC tournament, for the number of appearances on the Mothership:

SchoolTotalACC games
Duke1410
North Carolina
107
Clemson42
Georgia Tech
33
Maryland31
Boston College
22
Florida State
22
Wake Forest
21
N.C. State
11
Miami11
Virginia00
Virginia Tech
00

Pretty wild, huh?

And how about this: ESPN (the main network, not the “family of networks”) will not carry a conference game this season that does not include either Duke or North Carolina.

Not one.

Put another way, the non-Duke and North Carolina appearances for the entire league are from the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Clemson and Wake Forest), the Maui Invitational (potentially Maryland twice) and the 76 Classic (Clemson).

Unquestionably, Duke and North Carolina are the league’s most high-profile programs. There certainly wouldn’t be any argument with airing a full season of games from a program that’s won two of the last five national titles.

And chances are, TV networks do well when folks tune in to root for the Tar Heels and against the Blue Devils (at least twice at the same time this season, both times on ESPN). And if that’s what it takes to jack up the rights fees (which all 12 schools benefit from), it makes sense to provide a platform for the bluebloods.

But when two schools combined for 24 such appearances and the other 10 combine for a total of 18? At the least, it certainly looks interesting.

Patrick Stevens

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