ACC Off To Strong Start In Non-Conference Games
September 22, 2022
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is off to a great start in nonconference games for at least two decades.
So far, it’s 28-6 against other conferences this season, including a 17-6 record against the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and 6-5 against members of the other Power 5 leagues.
Florida State and Louisville played in a close in-conference game, while the rest of ACC’s nonconference performance had varying results. Teams like Duke Blue Devils and Syracuse Orange had surprising outcomes week in and week out. Meanwhile, the Miami Hurricanes were unable to maintain their previous No. 13 ranking, losing to the Texas A&M Aggies.
The Clemson Tigers are 3-0 for the seventh time in eight years. They are reported to be heading to the College Football Playoff in the last eight years.
The team’s defensive end K.J. Henry was cautiously optimistic, saying they had the best conference.
“Wow,” he said. “The last thing I’m going to do is go out on the side of the street and say, ‘We have the best conference.’ That’s not for me to say.”
The seven teams of ACC, with five of them from the Atlantic Division, have remained unbeaten through three games. Syracuse won through three weeks for the first time since 2018, while Florida State is 3-0 for the first time since 2015.
The ACC has .824 win percentage in nonconference games, which is their best since at least 2000. Previously it had .800 mark in the 2020 season during the pandemic and its next highest was .771 in 2008. The league hasn’t made a winning record against the Power 5 since 2016.
ACC matchups, teams' performances
The ACC is reported to have eight more nonconference games this week, including three games against the Power 5.
In a matchup of ranked ACC teams, the Tigers are set to play against the No. 21 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Previously, the Demon Deacons won against the Vanderbilt Commodores on September 10.
Demon Deacons coach Dave Clawson said he preferred to start the season with four nonconference games before focusing on the ACC.
“That would be the ideal world, and this year was pretty close to ideal,“ Clawson said. “I feel like there’s been a progression with our schedule. And now this week, I can’t imagine when the year’s over that this isn’t going to be the best or one of the two or three best teams that can play all year.”
Meanwhile, the Boston College Eagles have finally picked up a win against the Maine Black Bears after losing its first two games against the Rutgers Knights and the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The Louisville Cardinals managed to beat UCF Knights two weeks ago, but faltered in the fourth quarter, resulting in the former losing 31-35 to the Florida State Seminoles.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets lost 0-42 at a home game against the Ole Miss Rebels last week. While the former managed to beat the Western Carolina Catamounts 35-17, they have been outscored 183-10 in the last four games against Power 5 teams.
Clemson’s offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter said that the Tigers would try to prepare themselves, regardless of whether the opponent was from the ACC, SEC, or FCS.
“That’s what the good teams do. They focus on themselves,” Streeter said. “There’s no doubt about it: the ACC has got some strong teams, and week-in and week-out we can see that. It’s always going to be a competition every single week.”