NSD 2016 – Clemson and Florida State keeping widening gap with the rest of the ACC.


Here’s a sobering thought if you’re an ACC football team not named Florida State or Clemson, no matter how good you think your recruiting class was theirs was better, a lot better. The ACC had 9 top 100 Scout.Com players. They all went to Florida State or Clemson.  There were 4 Five Star players for the ACC. Yea they all went to Florida State or Clemson too. 24 Four Star players went to Florida State and Clemson. That was more than the rest of the ACC COMBINED.

On the field the Noles and Tigers, have dominated the ACC for years. They have won every ACC Title since 2011. In the last 3 years, Clemson and Florida State are an incredible 26-2 against the rest of the ACC. Those two ACC losses have came at the hands of just 1 team – Georgia Tech. Nobody else in the ACC has beat Clemson or Florida State in over 3 years.

Big 6 Bowl wins since 2012? Florida State and Clemson have 4 of the ACC’s 5 Big 6 Bowl wins – FSU Orange Bowl (2012), Clemson Orange Bowl (2013), FSU National Title (2013), Clemson Orange (2015). Georgia Tech sneaks in there again as the 2014 Orange Bowl winner. Both have  made playoff appearances.

I think the picture is pretty clear. Florida State and Clemson are not just great ACC teams, they are among the 4 best football programs in the country along with Alabama and Ohio State.

It is remarkable how Jimbo Fisher returned the Noles to national prominence after a 10 year hiatus. Ask Nebraska or Penn State how losing a coaching legend worked out for them. Dabo Swinney has reinvented Clemson since his arrival in 2008. A slow gradual build led to a national title appearance in 2015.

Add it all up, and the Noles and Tigers are in position to keep dominanting the ACC, and I’m not sure anyone is closing the gap at least not this year.

Clemson and Florida State aren’t backing up either.

Louisville is probably the most equipped to make a run at the Noles and Tigers, but even they couldn’t pull a top 35 class. Recruiting is tough, and I like the Cardinal’s class.

Georgia Tech is the one team that can point to some recent actual wins over the two, but they can’t put back to back quality seasons together. UNC recruited reasonably well this year, but do they have staying power following a top 15 2015. Several other programs have new coaches or coaches that are finishing their first year in the ACC. That leaves those schools 3-4 years away from realistically challenging FSU and Clemson.

Is this good or bad for the ACC? It is definitely more good than bad  that’s for sure. The bar is set for competing nationally and it’s right there in the ACC. If you win the ACC going through Clemson and Florida State you can play with anyone in the country. Both FSU and Clemson know if one of them slips, the other is ready and waiting. They push each other to be better. Winning the ACC means far more in 2016, than it did 7 or 8 years ago.

Whether a Louisville, Miami, Virginia Tech or someone else can ever get to the Clemson or FSU level is a blog for another day. Today we are focusing on Clemson and FSU pulling in more of the most highly regarded players in the nation. These two programs are positioned for more playoff runs, more 10+ win seasons, and more conference titles.

The rest of the conference is still playing catch up.

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1 comment

  1. Hokie Mark says:

    Miami might catch up to them now that Richt is running the show, but we’ll have to see. I’d give Narduzzi an outside chance at Pitt, also, as well as VT and UVa if either of them can really get that DMV + 757 pipeline pumping again.

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