ATLANTA (CBSMiami/AP) — There are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the Atlantic Coast Conference.READ MORE: Suspected Shoplifter Shot By Police After Pulling Weapon At The Falls Shopping Center In SW Miami-Dade
One month into the season, the ACC looks as top-heavy as ever with three-time defending champion Florida State and Clemson the league’s only ranked teams.
This was not the plan coming into the season.
The league wanted to show it was not a one-horse show. It hasn’t worked out that way.
While No. 11 Florida State has won 25 straight Atlantic Coast Conference games, perhaps it’s still too early to judge the league as a one-trick pony again. The strong showing by Duke’s defense in last week’s win over then-No. 20 Georgia Tech is just one sign that new contenders could emerge to the Seminoles’ throne.
The most obvious contender is No. 12 Clemson, the preseason favorite to win the league. The Tigers likely would zoom past Florida State in the Top 25 if they beat No. 6 Notre Dame on Saturday night. Florida State visits Clemson on Nov. 7.
The Seminoles’ last conference loss was to North Carolina State in 2012.
“They’re really just considered the best in our conference until someone proves otherwise,” said Wolfpack senior center Quinton Schooley.
The only longer streak in in the ACC was Florida State’s 29 straight wins after it entered the league in 1992. Oh, and Florida State also won 24 straight from 1998-2001.
Clearly, the league’s one-trick pony reputation is well-deserved. Clemson’s only ACC title since Florida State joined the league came in 2011.
“We’ve had failures, but it hasn’t caused the team to lose focus,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said this week. “… It’s the same mentality every week. It’s one bite at a time. You can’t win a title or lose a title in one game.”
The Seminoles, still adjusting to the post-Jameis Winston era, did show some vulnerability in their ACC opener, a 14-0 win over Boston College on Sept. 18. They play at Wake Forest on Saturday.READ MORE: CDC's New Mask Mandate Encourages People To Get COVID Vaccinations
“Certainly they’ve been the class of the ACC for the last three years,” said Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson. “They’ve won the ACC championship three years in a row. … It’s been almost three years since they lost an ACC game. They’re certainly a different team than a year ago, but they’re still, talent-wise, as good a team as we’ll face all year.”
Last week wasn’t good for the league’s quest to show there’s more to it than just Florida State.
Georgia Tech fell out of the Top 25 with its loss to Duke. Also, Virginia lost to Boise State, Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina and Wake Forest lost to Indiana.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he has been too busy with his team to think about a bad week for the league. Asked about the depth of quality teams in the ACC, Fisher just shrugged.
“I don’t know. I ain’t even thought about it,” Fisher said. “I’m worried about our depth. … I watch the films. They are well-coached, good players and good teams. I know that.”
But don’t count out the Yellow Jackets just yet. Georgia Tech was No. 14 before losing at Notre Dame to start a two-game skid. The Yellow Jackets face North Carolina, which has won three straight, this week.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson insists going through the ACC schedule is tough.
“I think there are a lot of good teams,” Johnson said. “I think (Duke) is a good team. They’re good defensively, I call tell you that.
“There’s not an easy team in our league. It’s hard to pick one out to say ‘OK, man you ought to blow them out. That’s an easy game.’ I think the league has gotten better every year.”
Perhaps, but the league hasn’t improved enough to have a consistent answer for Florida State.
“They’re the reigning champions right now so they’re the better man right now in the ACC,” said Duke linebacker Dwayne Norman. “But this year everybody has a chance and a new slate.”MORE NEWS: 'There's More Aggression, More Confrontational Attitude': Miami Beach Police Chief On Increasing Safety, Security
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