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Let's Talk About Losing For The Greater Good

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

What's good for the league? There's a fun question to ponder. There is this notion that it's better for the ACC to have a team run the table and theoretically compete for a spot in the national title game, as if this defers some sort of credit to the ACC down the line. This is nonsense, but here we are.

If N.C. State still harbors hopes to one day win a national championship - and believe me, it does - the best course of action is for the Wolfpack to lose to No. 3 Clemson on Thursday.

And not just lose. Get blown out. Give up 50 points. Bore the daylights out of ESPN's announcing team. Make all of us change the channel. Make Tajh Boyd look like Bo Jackson in Tecmo Super Bowl.

This time, it's for the Wolfpack's own benefit.

If an ACC team were to reach the national title game this season, be it Clemson or Florida State, it would mean next to nothing for the league moving forward. There is no automatic strength of schedule bonus for a "team from [insert conference] recently played for national title" achievement. The only thing that matters now, and the only thing that will ever matter, is the larger picture, and that is the league environment in any given year.

That's why this "it's important for the league" sentiment is ridiculous. If Clemson drops out of the national title race Thursday or wins convincingly, in the grand scheme, it hardly makes an ounce of difference. The outcome of any one game means little because it can't alter the league context to a significant degree.

The ACC is a mediocre football conference--it will be mediocre well into the foreseeable future--and there isn't a damn thing NC State or Clemson can do about that on Thursday.