Week 1 shows more subtle signs of the ACC’s improving football product.


Sometimes changing the football perception of a conference isn’t just always about who you beat it’s also about who you don’t lose to. Conferences and their football prowess, it’s a narrative we hear all the time. Maybe it’s over blown, but if the last couple of years have taught us anything it matters with TV Contracts, it matters with recruiting, ( you commit to programs, but how many recruits have said they wanted to play in the SEC? ) it happens.

With Clemson and Florida State in a position to make a run to the national title game, they need the rest of the ACC to be better. It helps the entire conference and everyone in it when there is top to bottom improvement, and there subtle signs that is exactly what is happening.

We started with the recent 4-2 bowl season. Florida State’s blowout Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois was largely dismissed, but that same Northern Illinois just went to Iowa and knocked off the Hawkeyes in week 1.

Of course there was the big Clemson win over LSU, and Georgia Tech win over pre-season #1 USC. You must add Louisville’s win over Florida too. It’s moved to recruiting season, where 6 current and future ACC teams are in the 25 in recruiting and the conference as a whole is recruiting behind only the SEC. Anyone else notice the current and future ACC is 3-2 against top 10 teams from the SEC in their last 5 matchups? If Miami can defeat Florida this weekend it would be 4-2 against not the SEC, but the TOP 10 of the SEC, which would be rather remarkable.

It has largely gone unnoticed by the national media, but shouldn’t if Miami beats Florida.

Now let’s look at week 1 where a whopping 8 FCS schools beat FBS schools with 3 coming against Power 5 conference schools.

Eastern Washington 49 (Pac 12) Oregon St. 46

North Dakota St 24 (Big 12) Kansas St 21

Northern Iowa 28 (Big 12) Iowa St 20

or these losses to lower Division FBS teams

Northern Illinois 30 (Big 10) Iowa 27

Western Kentucky 35 (SEC) Kentucky 26

Do you notice not a single ACC schools on that entire list? ACC teams beat lower division FBS and FCS teams by an average of 34 points this week with 2 shutouts by Georgia Tech and Duke . Don’t get me wrong you don’t hang your hat on by beating Elon by 70 like Georgia Tech did, but what if they had lost? What if NC State had been beat by Louisiana Tech? What if Boston College had not been able to finish off a feisty Villanova team? There would again be those blasting ACC football.

Led by the monster marquee win by Clemson over Georgia, and Virginia’s quality win over BYU, the ACC’s only losses were to top 10 SEC teams Alabama and South Carolina, and a close loss by Syracuse to Penn State.

All in all, the ACC got the big win from Clemson giving the ACC a chance at an elite team the conference has been waiting years for, and didn’t suffer any embarrassing losses. No other power 5 conference can say the same. It’s a start to the season the ACC can build on.

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