September 6, 2016 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports) By: S.K. Patrick
The ACC is no Longer Little Brother
When it comes to college football there’s a judgement system about teams when it comes to evaluating and comparing programs. It usually boils down to “How well did one fair against the SEC?” The ACC has been known as “the SEC’s little brother” over the last few years. Due of its geographic placement and in-state rivalries, the ACC constantly gets compared to the big, bad, scary SEC when it comes to football. In basketball there is no competition ACC is king. But in football the gap is not as wide as once before now that conference realignment has been settled for now.
Little brother isn’t crawling anymore. The ACC has started to talk and walk like “big brother.” The 2013 season is when the tide turned; the ACC had its first national champion in football since the 1999 campaign. Florida State won the national title against a SEC team (Auburn) in the 2013 season and Clemson went down to the last seconds against Alabama in last year’s game. The ACC finished second behind the SEC in number of NFL draft selections in four of the past six years. Furthermore the eight wins the ACC owns against top 10 non-conference opponents the last two years are the most of any conference.
In 2014, the ACC managed their first winning record against the SEC since the 2003 season. The ACC went 4-0 on rivalry Saturday; Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Louisville all beat their SEC rivals. The ACC’s position in the Power Five conference is more than title contenders in Clemson and Tallahassee.
Miami’s new head coach Mark Richt, was at SEC powerhouse Georgia for 15 years and spent most of his 16 years as assistant coach at Florida State. Richt is the biggest name of the offseason of hires for the ACC’s Coastal Division. The Coastal division runs through UNC who brings back the explosive Elijah Hood. The Hurricanes head man is joined by former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia and Memphis former ball coach Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech. Spread offense mastermind Dino Babers joined the Atlantic; taking the Syracuse job.
Clemson and Florida State are not complete favorites in their own division. The University Louisville is tied with 16 returning starters for 2016 coming off an 8-5 season and beating two SEC teams. UofL is also home to one of the nation’s most exciting quarterback weapons in sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson. Louisville has helped usher in this bright outlook of ACC football. UofL joined in 2014 to take the place of Big Ten-bound Maryland. Petrino’s Cardinals are 17-9 since their arrival. Maryland has gone 10-15 in its new home.
The ACC has four teams in the preseason top 25; Louisville, Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina. Miami was the 26th team. A lot has changed in just a few years. Change is in the air. Coming out of the weekend of the college season the SEC went 7-7; a far cry from domination. The loses included defeats at the hands of Clemson, FSU and UNC gave Georgia all they could handle. Big brother it looks like little brother is eventually may win this fight.
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