N.C. State wins, but the ACC loses

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins catches a pass in the second quarter of the Tigers' game against Florida State.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins catches a pass in the second quarter of the Tigers' game against Florida State.

FSU's 'bad' is good for Clemson, right?

Certainly, from the narrowly-focused perspective of Dabo Swinney and the Tigers.

One day at a time, take care of business, and let the chips fall as they may.

It's the right approach for the Tigers.

Switch to the bigger picture - the one where the ACC lives up to its TV contract as a viable player on the national scene - and FSU's stumble wasn't really good for anybody, maybe excluding N.C. State.

The best team in a big-time conference puts itself in competitive position for the national title. Its top tier should be in the running for a second, at-large BCS bowl spot.

The ACC, already fighting the malaise of mid-level mediocrity, has now beheaded itself at the top, as well.

Various computer-generated power rankings now have the ACC ranked behind the Big East and/or the four FBS independents (Notre Dame, BYU, Army and Navy). As might be expected, the league is taking a drubbing on the perception front.

Following are a handful of examples of what is being written and said:

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel

Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that they did it to us again.

The Florida State Seminoles have deluded, deceived and defrauded us.

How does the old saying go? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Well, shame on me.


Good grief, how does this happen year in and year out? The Seminoles, without fail, always lose to teams they shouldn't lose to. Coming into this season, they lost to Wake Florist, er, Forest four of the last six years.

They lost to Wake Forest AND Virginia last year. They lost to N.C. State the year before that. They lost to Boston College the year before that. And I could go on and on and on.

Does anybody play down to its competition more than FSU does? How can a team that continually lands some of the best recruits in the country keep losing to the likes of Wake Forest and N.C. State? This is not acceptable.

Heather Dinich, ESPN.com

The ACC hasn’t changed. It’s still looking for a national title contender, and it can’t get out of its own way. No. 3-ranked Florida State’s national title hopes have all but disappeared with the 17-16 loss to NC State. Along with it went EJ Manuel's hopes at winning the Heisman. Once again, with the nation watching, the conference came up short. Miami was pummeled by Notre Dame, Boston College lost to a winless Army team, and Florida State failed to live up to the hype and the preseason expectations...

It took six weeks.

Six weeks for the ACC to implode.

Six weeks for the ACC to lose its national title contender and top Heisman hopeful.

We’re not even midway through October and the ACC found a way to fade into irrelevance again. This conference is a bigger tease than Notre Dame joining the ACC. And the ACC could use the Irish right now. You’ve heard of Clemson “pulling a Clemson?” Nope. Not this year. It’s the ACC pulling an ACC. At least last year Clemson made it to 8-0 before losing on the road to Georgia Tech. No. 3-ranked Florida State couldn’t even make it through its first road ACC game...

Shame on us for buying in, for actually thinking this year could be different.

John Feinstein, The Washington Post

Welcome to another thrilling season of Atlantic Coast Conference football, where all the games that really matter are played before basketball practice begins.

Practice starts for college basketball teams this Friday. The ACC football season — except for players, coaches, close friends and family members — ceased to have any real significance late on Saturday night.

Tony Barnhart, CBSSports.com

If a one-loss team is going to get into the BCS championship game, it won't be the one-loss team whose nonconference schedule included three-quarters of a game with Savannah State (55-0) and full games with Murray State and South Florida (2-4).

Florida State couldn't help scheduling Savannah State because West Virginia bailed on them. The Seminoles' loss to North Carolina State in Raleigh was a crushing blow to the ACC, which has not been to a BCS title game since 2000 and is basically out of the national championship conversation.

Florida State can still win the ACC Atlantic if it wins out and N.C. State loses again. So that means the Seminoles can still win the conference championship and a spot in the Orange Bowl. But all of that national championship conversation, which was premature at best, is over.

Kyle Symes, Bleacher Report

Every year, when the Seminoles seem to get some momentum going and place the team in title contention, they find a way to lose a game like this one. A national title contender doesn't lay an egg like FSU did against a conference rival.

The game against NC State should've been another blowout win on the FSU schedule. This was the year for the team to not only retake control of the ACC with the usual powerhouses stumbling, it was the year for the 'Noles to finally climb back into the National Title picture...

Coach Fisher and the Seminoles are going to need to find a way to avoid this kind of loss that seems to haunt the team every season.

Championship contenders are allowed to have off-games, but they still find a way to win. If the Seminoles ever want to be the powerhouse they once were, they too will need to find a way to win games like this one.

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Comments » 3

richardcd writes:

The ACC is now ranked below the Big East in football! ACC football stinks. Please, somebody explain to me why the ACC won't make the commitment to football that's required to be relevant. I think that Clemson has. I think that Florida State has. But who else? Clemson and Florida State should have gotten out when they could. Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Wake Forest, NC State, Miami, Boston College, VA Tech. Do they really want first class football programs? And GA Tech. Any team that plays an odd-ball, out dated offense with second tier players like GA Tech will never be a winner on the national stage. Why won't they invest the money? Rather than making it almost impossible to leave the ACC ($50,000,000), they should have set a minimum on the members' investment in football.

MoncksTater writes:

Good point RICHARDCD... but who honestly cares about a conferences perception on a national level...I only want for the Tigers to rise to national prominence again..that is all I ever want. I don't give a hoot if UVA or GT are bunk ..or if FSU or Miami never regain their former glory . Give me a Tiger ACC domination..that will put us in position to be the team we all aspire to see year in and year out . I would love to go to a second straight Orange Bowl ...would love to win this conference title in repeat fashion. The ACC is weak and disrespected they say ? Who cares !

richardcd writes:

I care about the conference's "national" ranking, because the overall poor conference "national" ranking reflects poorly on Clemson. Rankings are not rocket science. They are mostly subjective with perceptions playing a big part. Losing to a team from a highly regarded conference does not hurt like losing to a sorry un-ranked ACC team. We now know that Clemson has played a weak schedule and will finish out the season playing a weak schedule, except for SC from the highly regarded SEC. Who has Clemson beaten? Auburn, Ball State, Furman, Boston College and GA Tech. Clemson lost to the only team in the conference worth a darn other than Clemson, i.e., Florida State. And Florida State lost to who? That hurts Clemson's "national" ranking.

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