It’s well known that the ACC has been known as a laughingstock, but it seems like that all has changed after they achieved an 8-3 non-championship bowl record. The most impressive came from Clemson and Florida State during the New Year games. This will be the first time that the ACC would dominate the SEC since having their dominance stripped away in the bowl game of 2005-2006.
With matchups being very arbitrary, there is no perfect way that i can make a legitimate comparison of the two conference powerhouses. Their levels of motivation also differ. But, i have to give the ACC credit because it did end their regular season with a 9-6 record playing many of the power conferences.
In contrast, when playing the foes of the Power 5, i saw that the SEC came out 6-8. Of course, this was prior to the game between Alabama-Clemson. In the regular season, ACC’s record was 9-4 and during bowl games with SEC they had an impressive 3-1 record.
According to Bill Connelly, an SB Nation statistics expert, the strengths of the ACC season were highlighted in an article published Dec. 19, showing a dead heat in the league against SEC which were measured using his efficiency ratings.
At the time, Connelly stated “It is an important time for the bowl games, we could actually see superiority come out of the matchup between both of the tied rivalries.”
This came to light in favor of the ACC.
So what was the changing factor in all of this? Well, first of all i noticed a change in their coaches.
When i took a look at the ACC’s change in coaching, i notice that Al Golden replaced Mark Richt in Miami, then won nine-straight games. Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech was replaced by Justin Fuente of Memphis thus having a tremendous improvement from a 7-6 record to a 10-4. Then there’s Bobby Petrino of Louisville, who created a Heisman trophy winner.
In light of this, i noticed a drain of coaching that has occured within the SEC. This mainly occured due to either the retiring or firing of head coaches during the span of 11 months during the 2015-2016 season.
Talent was never lacking for the ACC either. The ACC recruits talent in identical geographical areas that SEC recruits. The ACC also produces the same amount of draft picks too.
But, one can’t assume this to be the reasons why but it does explain the suffering that SEC went through as Alabama showed them how to be a dominate force. But still, no other teams had losses greater than four.
Another factor i measured involved team quarterbacks. The strongest quarterbacks of the season came from the ACC, with Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson leading the way. Mitch Trubisky, of North Carolina, became the first candidate quarterback to be drafted while Brad Kaaya of Miami has already gone pro.
On the other hand, i noticed that SEC’s Ole Mississippi had Jalen Hurts and Chad Kelly working for them.
Now, the question remains whether the ACC will be a conference that becomes better or equal from this day forward. It’s obvious that i can’t say right now. What i do know is that the season produced some of the league’s best teams to enter the conferences. Thus producing two great Heisman athletes that the season has ever seen.
It’s no doubt that a Clemson championship would ultimately be the icing on the cake. My only drawback is that i have to wait and see.