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Programming ideas for the new ACC Network

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The ACC Network starts this fall but who will be watching?

NCAA Football: Miami at Notre Dame Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC Network (via ESPN) will launch on Thursday, August 29, 2019 with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets taking a road trip to face the Clemson Tigers. The Jackets will have a new head coach in Geoff Collins, while Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are the defending College Football Playoff National Champions.

The ACC joins the Pac-12, SEC, and the Big Ten Network as full on conference network programming. Back in 2006, the Big Ten’s first live broadcast was Appalachian State at Michigan in what could be dubbed the biggest upset in college football history. The Pac-12 Network has been an utter failure while the SEC Network, also an ESPN affiliate, has done well with a focus on homerism and Paul Finebaum.

For the ACC Network to really work as more than just a place to watch a few games- they’ll need more than a mixture of solid live programming, studio shows, and personal interest pieces. It would benefit the network to go with more left field ideas and I have a few that I would love to bounce off the ACC and ESPN executives for the 2019 season.


NCAA Football: Florida A&M at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

“Portal Leap”

While the prime purpose of the ACC Network might be to broadcast live football and basketball games, their primetime show will be based on The U. “The New Miami” might be the tagline but I’m calling the show “Portal Leap,” and of course it stars Miami head football coach Manny Diaz.

In “Portal Leap,” Manny Diaz goes through the transfer portal but instead of taking him to another campus in the present day, it will take him to the Hurricanes Greentree practice fields in different eras throughout time. Like the DeLorean, Coach Diaz could punch in whatever date he wants and pull a former Hurricane back through the portal and onto the 2019 Miami Hurricanes roster.

The U is known for its recent history of having put players into the NFL, winning five national championships since 1983, and having two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks down in Coral Gables. The head coaches have also been legendary from Howard Schnellenberger to Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson- Miami’s been the place where NFL Hall of Fame talent roamed the practice fields for decades.

Imagine the 2019 squad with 1991 Leon Searcy at left tackle, 1989 Randal Hill lined up next to Jeff Thomas at wide receiver, and 1994 Warren Sapp or 1986 Jerome Brown taking over where Gerald Willis III left off at defensive tackle?

When Manny portals back to 2019 he can swing over to Alex Rodriguez Field for a Mark Light Shake, take the new portal kombatants to LIV or throw the guys a kegger in the FSU parking lot. So far Coach Diaz has been a hell of an interview and knows how to play the social media game second to none and could show off his acting chops as the face of “Portal Leap.”


Temple v Navy Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

“Waffle House Party”

Geoff Collins has aligned himself with the Waffle House franchise in some sort of strange evil genius carb loving masterpiece of social media. The ACC executives could send Coach Collins to diners and dives that serve waffles while on the road, so he’s not having to cheat on his local Atlanta based Waffle House. That would be some great TV. The name of the show is “Waffle House Party” as Coach Collins even gets on the stove to show his favorite waffle recipes and toppings.

To open the ACC slate, the ACC Network could have Coach Collins travel to Clemson early to eat at Mayberry’s. Mayberry’s in Clemson, SC is a four-star rated diner that’s known for their top flight waffles per the Yelp community. It’s a four minute drive from the Clemson campus and stays open until 9pm.

When the Jackets head to Philly to face Collins’ former squad the Temple Owls there’s no Waffle House nearby. However, Philly does have Champ’s Diner. Champ’s is a 4.5 rated breakfast spot that serves beloved waffles in the Temple University area. It’s open 7am-3pm on weekdays and stays open until 3:30pm on weekends. Champ’s has a TV, free WiFi and is known for their chicken and waffles. Biting into chicken & waffles while watching a rerun of your own show has to be the most rewarding feeling on earth.

In Durham, the Jackets are on the road to face the Duke Blue Devils. When in The Triangle the best waffle spot is Dames Chicken & Waffles. Dames is only two miles from the Duke campus and is a four-star rated establishment. Dames has rotating hours and no TV so Coach Collins couldn’t watch the ACC Network while eating his chicken & waffles but it’s Dames and just a half mile walk to Teasers.

Later in the season the Jackets head south to Miami Gardens to take on the Hurricanes, Collins can stop into Big Pink on Collins Ave for ego’s sake. Big Pink is a three and a half star “retro diner” with a Breakfast Anytime menu. Also, the menu’s size rivals the Cafe Tropical menu from Schitt’s Creek. The Twitter slappies seem to love Big Pink, too so that’s a plus. I personally can’t argue with mimosas, dinner all day, or waffles.

The University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville, VA. They’re also the home of Milli Coffee Roasters, a four and a half star coffee spot near UVA. Milli serves both The Special Waffle and just a plain waffle. The Special comes with brie, green apples and honey. They’re open 7am to midnight but again, there’s no TV so no ACC Network for Geoff to peruse.


NCAA Football: College Football Playoff-Champions Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“Being Lawrence”

The ACC Network could turn to scripted programming with their original series “Being Lawrence.” “Being Lawrence” would star Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence who would be the long lost Lawrence brother. In case you forgot (I’m not sure why I remember), the Lawrence brothers are Joey, Matthew, and Andrew who once had a TV show show called Brotherly Love starring the three real-life Lawrence brothers that aired from 1995-1997 while spanning 40 episodes and two seasons.

The pilot to “Being Lawrence” would start with a pick up basketball game where Trevor fouls Joey too hard, Joey yells “woah,” and a fight ensues. The three older, wiser, less famous than Trevor, brothers would try to decide how to approach Trevor about his ego while making sure they’re not overstepping their bounds.

The end of the episode, where we get our morality lesson, comes when Matt, Andy and Joey sit down to explain to Trevor that fame is fleeting so he should treat people nice before his season gets canceled like Blossom.


NCAA Football: Clemson at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

“Play or Pass”

In case you’ve been under a cave or in a rock, Willie Taggart’s tenure at FSU has started quite inauspiciously. Taggart’s inaugural season as Seminoles head coach was a 5-7 disappointment behind weak offensive production. Then the quarterback issues hit as Deondre Francois was dismissed from the FSU football team and Sam Howell spurns the ‘Noles for the UNC Tar Heels. Taggart, an offensive minded coach, has now failed to sign a legit quarterback in two cycles... what will he do next?

This gives the ACC Network the open door to capitalize on the success of The Bachelor and the new Pauly D and Vinny dating show coming to TV’s soon: Willie Taggart’s own courtship show called “Play or Pass.” In “Play or Pass,” the FSU head coach looks for the quarterback of his dreams. Disregard the fact that Wisconsin transfer quarterback Alex Hornibrook has made it to Tallahassee, that’s just a pun waiting to happen on a courting show.

In “Play or Pass,” Coach Taggart can house the Elite 11 quarterbacks in a remote mansion and try to find the perfect match for the FSU football program. Each week the QB’s will be put to a challenge most Florida State passers seem to struggle with, such as: not testing positive for THC, house clean up- where they have to throw trash into trash cans around the house without missing the target, and Willie can even take them out to fancy dinners for one-on-one time because that’s part of the creepy recruiting courtship process; grown men lavishing fancy meals on 17 year old kids.

In the end, the quarterback Taggart picks will get “The Golden Spear,” but much like the relationships on The Bachelor (or an FSU recruiting weekend) eventually his pick would wind up with someone else.


The Wrap

The ACC Network is going to have to be more than just stream live games and put on a boring studio show in order to pull eyes away from other services. 2019 is a world of sound bites and video clips as humans don’t have the mental stamina to sit through a four hour game anymore. Hell, humans will hardly even sit through a clip show like SportsCenter when they can access exactly what happened instantly on Twitter before ESPN’s flagship show even airs.

Yet with this increase in technology and decrease in attention span, Americans are tuning in to cooking competition shows and watching The Office reruns like they’re dialing up TGIF at age 12. If you program it, viewers will come- it just can’t be the same old crap they’ve seen on Twitter or every other channel.