ACC is off to a strong start in non-conference games

Ken Reynard USA Today Sports


by Jimmy Gulen

AP . sports writer

Boston (AFP) – It all talks about how the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference are making the rest of college football irrelevant?

Well, the Atlantic Coast Conference would like to have a word.

Winner of two National Championships in the past six years – the only league other than SEC to claim even one – the ACC got off to its best start in the non-conference games in at least two decades. The ACC is 28-6 against the other conferences so far this season, including a 17-6 record against FBS and 6-5 against members of the other Power 5 tournaments.

“Wow,” defensive end Clemson KJ Henry said, although he urged caution. “The last thing I would do is go out to the side of the street and say, ‘We have the best conference. “This is not for me to say.”

No. 5 Clemson, who won everything in 2016 and 18, is 3-0 for the seventh time in eight years and appears to be heading in on his seventh trip to the College Football Playoff in the past eight years. But it’s not just tigers.

Seven ACC teams – five from the Atlantic Division – are undefeated in three games, which equates to the most of any league. Syracuse is unbeaten in three weeks for the first time since 2018, and Florida 3-0 for the first time in 15.

Altogether, the ACC’s win ratio of 0.824 in games without conferences is the best since at least 2000; Other than the 0.800 mark in the 2020 pandemic season, the next high was 771 in 2008. The league has not finished with a winning record against Power 5 since 2016.

“We have great opponents in this league and 82% against non-conference (teams), and that speaks volumes about how much we’ve grown in the league,” Henry said. “It will definitely be a week and week challenge.”

The ACC has eight more non-conference games this week, including three against Power 5. In a match between the ACC seeded teams, Clemson plays No. 21 Wake Forest, who beat Vanderbilt of the SEC on September 10 but had to undo the postponement. . Liberty, the freelance recently promoted to FBS, last minute 37-36 last week.

Dave Clawson, head coach of Damon Deacons, said he would prefer to start the season with four games without conferences and then turn his attention to the ACC. This year, with quarterback Sam Hartman missing the opening game, that has been particularly significant.

“That would be the perfect world,” Clauson said, “and this year was pretty close to perfect.” “I feel like there is progress in our schedule. Now this week, I can’t imagine when the year is over it will not be the best or one of the two or three best teams that can play all year.”

Even with the league’s success, there are some extremists.

After losing its first two games—against Rutgers of the Big Ten and opponent of ACC Virginia Tech—Boston College took home a win over FCS Maine. Louisville (1-2) beat Central Florida on the road two weeks ago but collapsed in the fourth quarter with a 35-31 loss to Florida State.

The Cardinals closed the first part of their non-conference schedule against South Florida.

“They are a much better football team than they have been in the past two years,” coach Scott Satterfield. “Again, it’s a big game for us this week.”

Georgia Tech lost 42-0 at home to the Ole Miss last week, adding that to a 41-10 opening loss for Clemson. The Yellow Jackets beat Western Carolina 35-17, but in their last four games against Power 5 teams, they’ve edged out 183-10. (Next: Central Florida, 20.5 points preferred.)

Brandon Streeter, attack coordinator at Clemson, said the Tigers are trying to prepare in the same way — whether it’s an opponent from the ACC, the Securities Commission or even the FCS.

“That’s what good teams do is they focus on themselves,” he said. “There is no doubt about it: the ACC has some strong teams, and we can see that in a week and a week. It will always be a competition every week.”

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