The ACC has enjoyed a handful of success recently.. Wait, that’s wrong.
Clemson has enjoyed a handful of success recently. The Tigers have enjoyed two championships in three seasons as they look to unseat Alabama for the most dominant dynasty of the modern era. Head coach Dabo Swinney has enjoyed that success, having been the Tigers head coach since 2010 and having seen many of his Tigers teams be in national championship contention (2012-15). The first turn of the corner came in 2011 when Clemson knocked off defending champion Auburn in a clash of Tigers to open up the season. From them on it’s been total domination for Clemson, culminating in their first National Championship in 2016 behind the greatness of DeShaun Watson. But they weren’t the first team to unseat an SEC Foe for the big crown.
In 2013, the Florida State Seminoles put together arguably the most underrated season of all-time. Redshirt Freshman Jameis Winston led the team to a perfect 14-0 record behind a prolific offense (They averaged 51.6 points a game) and stingy defense (They yielded 12 points per game, including giving up 31 in the National Championship). The Noles have taken steps backwards every year since and this year they had the first losing season since ___ leaving many to wonder what happened to FSU’s greatness. Well for one, a coaching change happened. Jimbo Fisher had been the head coach since previous HC Boddy Bowden retired in 2011. Then before the 2018 season, he bolted for Texas A&M and their Texas sized football stadium (A&M seats more fans than anyone in the country) and Texas sized yearly payroll. But will Fisher be as successful in the SEC as he was in the ACC?
The Rest of the ACC is rounded out by teams such as Miami, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Louisville and others who have been competitive at times, yet none have pushed the National Championship bill like Clemson and FSU (Besides Miami in 2017 when they started 10-0 and were ranked #2). In retrospect, the ACC is like other conferences in that they are top heavy. The best teams win consistently and run the conference for years and years, however the same can be said of the SEC as of recent.
Alabama and Georgia are by far the cream of the crop of the SEC. Heck, the two teams have faced off in back to back years as the #1 and #2 teams in the nation, 2017 in the National Championship and 2018 in the SEC Championship. But who else in the conference has pushed these two to the brink in the past few years? The only team that comes to mind is Florida this past season, although programs such as Auburn, LSU & Mississippi State had times where they each ranked inside of the top 15 at times.