Could the ACC Atlantic be the best division in College Football? It’s certainly possible and seems to be just getting better as the programs progress.
We receive some intriguing questions from readers on almost a daily basis, but I was floored by a question we were presented with on Thursday via Twitter.
Could the ACC Atlantic be the best division in College Football?
My first reaction was to laugh it off. I mean, the ACC Atlantic has teams named NC State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Boston College in it.
Interestingly enough, however, when you look at the stats, the ACC Atlantic is at least one of the best divisions in the country right now.
Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney was asked about the perception of the division and if it could be compared to the SEC West.
"“Oh, there’s no question,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said via TCI. “I mean, the SEC has been a phenomenal conference, and still is. But I’ve said for several years that people just don’t really know, but they’re going to know. As we stepped out of conference the last several years, not just us at Clemson, but as a whole, I think people have taken more notice.“Then you look at what’s happened in the playoff, the national championship scene, all that stuff. I think this conference is well-represented and very strong. You look at the head-to-head last year I think in the rivalry games, the SEC vs. the ACC, it was pretty good.”"
First of all, the Atlantic is the only division in the country with three teams in the AP top-10.
Clemson, Florida State, and Louisville are all ranked inside the top 10 at this point and the Seminoles and Cardinals will match up this Saturday.
The winner of that game will have the inside track on the division and should automatically move inside the top-three in the nation. The loser of the game should still, at the very least, be in the top-15.
Both schools will have to play Clemson later on. That makes for two more likely top 10 match-ups. The prestige of these three teams in and of itself make this a strong division.
Surprisingly enough, the ACC Atlantic is 9-1 out of conference to this point as a whole. The only loss came from NC State getting beat by East Carolina on Saturday.
Here is a list of the nine victories outside of conference for the division:
Clemson beat Auburn, Troy
Florida State beat Ole Miss, Charleston Southern
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Louisville beat Charlotte
Boston College beat UMass
Syracuse beat Colgate
Wake Forest beat Tulane
NC State beat William and Mary
I know these are not impressive victories by any means, but they are games that the teams of the past may have lost.
Wake Forest is 2-0.
I would like to point out that Boston College did beat UMass by more points than Florida as well.
At the end of the day, the ACC Atlantic may have as many as five teams be bowl eligible this year, but this will continue to be a top-heavy division.
I ask you this, however:
If you were an average football program, which division would you rather play in? The Atlantic where you have three guaranteed losses or another division like the SEC East, for example, where you probably have a chance in every game?
It’s an interesting dynamic.
So, to answer the question that was asked: I don’t know.
If Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State finish in the top-10 and then you have one more team emerge (maybe a Boston College) as a top-25 team, this division certainly will have a chance to be the best in America.
I don’t there’s any doubting that the Atlantic is on the rise and that it contains three really good teams, but only time will tell just what the division holds as a whole.