From an all-sports perspective, it was a great year for Florida State, a very good one for North Carolina and, locally, not so good for Georgia Tech.
As an athletic department, the Seminoles had the most successful year in the ACC, according to tabulations run by the AJC. FSU won championships in football, softball and women’s soccer and had the top overall track teams (cross country, indoor and outdoor track).
North Carolina, which had five women’s teams win regular-season titles, finished narrowly behind Florida State. Tech was boosted by its conference champion golf team and runner-up football team but was 12th overall.
Teams were awarded points based on either regular-season finish (for sports with head-to-head tournament championships) or championship finish – 14 points for first place in a 14-team sport, 13 for second, etc. The total was then divided into the total possible number of points available for each school based on the sports for which it fields teams. (North Carolina is the only school to field teams in every sport in the ACC program.)
Track was counted as one sport, with cross country and indoor track weighted 25 percent and outdoor track 50 percent. The model follows the one used to determine the SEC’s all-sports champion. The ACC does not keep such records.
For Tech, its performance in track stands out (tied for 14th on the women’s side, 13th on the men’s side). The school has a rich history of producing NCAA champions and Olympians, but faces significant challenges with facilities – no cross-country course or indoor track – and also scholarship funding. Both the track and swimming programs do not operate at a fully-funded level, limiting the amount of aid they can offer in comparison to their competition.
The men’s basketball team also had a singularly frustrating season with its pile of last-minute losses in ACC play.
Florida State edged Louisville, in its first year of competition in the ACC. Had the Cardinals earned 1.5 more points , they would have had the top men's program. FSU claimed championships in football and the overall track title.
Not a great, or even decent, year for Tech’s women’s teams. Only one out of six teams finished in the top half (the tennis team, in sixth) of the conference. Again, limitations in scholarships and/or facilities are obstacles for track and swimming. The other two women’s sports that Tech fields, were in rebuilding stages with a first-year coach (volleyball) or second-year coach (softball).
It was a pretty phenomenal year for North Carolina, whose women’s teams earned first or shared it in volleyball, soccer, lacrosse and tennis and were second in track.
Most efficient department?
Interestingly, Florida State’s success, at least by one metric not without flaws, was not cheap. While finishing with the highest score, the Seminoles were merely average in turning athletic department dollars into on-field success. North Carolina was the most efficient, spending $403,650 per ratings point. Duke and Virginia Tech were both three places higher in their efficiency score, the largest jump.
I used athletic department expense figures available on the U.S. Department of Education website, although they were for the 2013-14 school year and not the most recent one. The website provides the “grand total expenses” for spending on athletics for each school (as well as breakdowns into different subsets such as football, basketball, men’s and women’s sports).