Did the ACC kill off a star in opening act with Clemson-FSU in September?

Or is league office giving the game's loser a chance to recover?

Clemson's Corey Crawford sacks Florida State's Jameis Winston during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Corey Crawford sacks Florida State's Jameis Winston during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

Why, someone asked on Twitter, would you kill off your main character 30 minutes into a movie?

The ACC did just that when, for the third time in four years, it chose to match Clemson and Florida State in a September ACC opener.

For five straight years, the winner of the Clemson-Florida State game has gone on to play in the ACC Championship Game.

Last fall's mid-season meeting became the first-ever game between top-five ACC teams, and drew ESPN's College Game Day to Clemson's campus for the second time in two months.

So why play on September 20?

The only logical explanation is that the ACC office decided to give the league perhaps its best opportunity to put its two best teams into position to compete for a spot in the new College Football Playoff.

From the league's perspective, a best-case scenario would be for FSU and Clemson to win their high-profile openers against Oklahoma State and Georgia, and then, after an FCS detour, play for the early-season pole position.

Assuming that the defending national champions get the nod as the nation's preseason No. 1 team, the Seminoles would strengthen that position with a victory over the Tigers. On the other hand, a Clemson victory would likely propel the Tigers well into the top 10, while keeping the Seminoles there.

Either way, both teams would have nine weeks to build their playoff resumes.

The cost of the early meeting is the forfeit of what potentially could have unfolded as the 2014 season's highest-drama race to the wire, extending conference and national championship storylines deep into the season.

The ACC made its curious call, and now it's up to the Tigers and Seminoles to make the most of it.

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Comments » 13

CUTigers1865 writes:

Interesting take.. unfortunately I believe if Clemson loses to FSU a chance for a top 4 position is out of the question because of overall conference strength. I believe even if Clemson was 11-1 heading into the playoff games they still would be out of the top 4. Especially if the ACC is as weak as it has been in recent years. An 11-1 BAMA, 11-1 Oregon, or 11-1 Texas, etc, etc.. would get the nod over the tigers simply do to conference strength. I don't believe Clemson's out of conference schedule is enough to make up the difference b/c I believe SC and UGA will have similar years to what they had last year. we shall see.

brookesdad729 writes:

I really don't think the conference will be as weak as it was last year with the addition of Louisville and with NC getting better and Maryland gone! I know they will be without Strong and Bridgewater but don't go to sleep on Patrino! Losing to FSU and running the table and eventually beating what we would hope would be a highly ranked SC team would definitely help our chances! Beating FSU would be really nice though! Of course we can come up with all kinds of scenarios but reality is what matters huh?

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

They did it because the brain dead people (John Swofford) that are in the power do not want any other teams but UNC and Duke and State to get any national attention. The best time to play the FSU Clemosn game would be the 9th game of the season. By then, you got a good idea if either one of them are any good or not and if you had two one loss teams or maybe undefeated teams you could really generate some national attention. The 3rd game of the year is a ridiculous date for this game to be played. That's some of Swofford's crap doing this. I can't stand him and wish he would get fired.

brookesdad729 writes:

in response to tigerrob44#291802:

They did it because the brain dead people (John Swofford) that are in the power do not want any other teams but UNC and Duke and State to get any national attention. The best time to play the FSU Clemosn game would be the 9th game of the season. By then, you got a good idea if either one of them are any good or not and if you had two one loss teams or maybe undefeated teams you could really generate some national attention. The 3rd game of the year is a ridiculous date for this game to be played. That's some of Swofford's crap doing this. I can't stand him and wish he would get fired.

You're 100 on that one! I don't care for Swofford either! He got his wish to make this a basketball conference for sure catered around the Tobacco Road schools but they'll be in for a rude awakening with Louisville and Syracuse in the conference now! They will get just what they deserve! Classic beat downs!

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to tigerrob44#291802:

They did it because the brain dead people (John Swofford) that are in the power do not want any other teams but UNC and Duke and State to get any national attention. The best time to play the FSU Clemosn game would be the 9th game of the season. By then, you got a good idea if either one of them are any good or not and if you had two one loss teams or maybe undefeated teams you could really generate some national attention. The 3rd game of the year is a ridiculous date for this game to be played. That's some of Swofford's crap doing this. I can't stand him and wish he would get fired.

You figured it out! You were smart enough to see Swofford's diabolical scheme to make UNC, Duke, and NC State the football powers of the ACC. B/c after the FSU-Clemson game all anyone talked about was NC State, UNC, and Duke football!

I really don't know how you can say there would be more interest by the 9th game of the season. I thought there was plenty of interest for the game this year. It was on national TV with plenty of hype. They covered Clemson coming out of the locker room, onto the bus, the bus ride around the stadium, getting off the bus, running down the hill, releasing the balloons...... and getting a 37-point beating. The only difference this year b/t playing FSU in the 3rd game or the 9th game is that Clemson fans don't get 6 additional weeks of wrongly thinking that they're national championship material with narrow escapes over BC and NC State.

lhaselden writes:

If we lose to FSU and beat UGa nd USC and one of them wins the SEC east or even the SEC then we are in the hunt for the 4 playoff spots.
I think we can wind 2 of the 3 and still be in the hunt, unless we lose to USC, then we would have to win the ACC title to have a shot.....

michtiger writes:

Here we go again!! We start a new QB we play in ACC, new RB, lost two best receivers and there is talk of being in final four. Can't we just hope for a competitive team and development of some young players in stead of digging this same destructive illogical fantasy for the team. Give the kids a break. If we stay in top 25 that will be a good season.

TigerNE writes:

Maybe the ACC is just trying to spread out intra-league marquee games to get more national coverage.

Duke and UNC will have to battle it out with each other and with Miami. No big chance that they get any advantage from an earlier Clemson or FSU loss. With a hot RS QB from NJ likely starting for Miami and with a healthy Duke Johnson and a few key returning receivers (Coley and Waters), and a lot of other recently recruited talent, Al Golden has the talent to dominate the Coastal. He now has to coach it into position.

kellytown writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

You figured it out! You were smart enough to see Swofford's diabolical scheme to make UNC, Duke, and NC State the football powers of the ACC. B/c after the FSU-Clemson game all anyone talked about was NC State, UNC, and Duke football!

I really don't know how you can say there would be more interest by the 9th game of the season. I thought there was plenty of interest for the game this year. It was on national TV with plenty of hype. They covered Clemson coming out of the locker room, onto the bus, the bus ride around the stadium, getting off the bus, running down the hill, releasing the balloons...... and getting a 37-point beating. The only difference this year b/t playing FSU in the 3rd game or the 9th game is that Clemson fans don't get 6 additional weeks of wrongly thinking that they're national championship material with narrow escapes over BC and NC State.

Hey TROLL go back and get under the bridge on exit 5. Bluff Road. Yard Buzzard.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

What I meant when I said play the game late in the year is the fact it would have an immediate impact on the final standings if we both were undefeated or a one loss team. Early in the year it gets early season recognition and that's not close to being as much or as important as late season recognition. That's my opinion on playing the game late and not early. We use to play SC the 5th or 6th game of the year. While it would still be big it wouldn't have the same impact on the national level as it does now being the last game. Remember 2012 they knocked us out of the Sugar Bowl and had we played that game in Oct it would have meant nothing nationally pretty much.

TheTruth46 writes:

Hope all my Clemmons buds on here will stay safe and warm during this winter storm. I enjoy the banter. Take care guys.

33dtb writes:

ACC never misses a chance to hobble Clemson

clemvol writes:

Doesn't matter how the schedule falls, it really comes down to just one game and that's the last one. To me, all games before this are just o.k. and entertaining.

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