Regulated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, college Sports have become more popular than ever. From big sports like football and basketball to smaller sports like running, many college sports are played in conferences where they face local colleges. Conferences that feature Division 1 colleges and universities are typically based on the location of the school and as such have different levels of competition when compared to each other. Historically, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has proven to be very dominant across many major sports. However, recently the Atlantic Coast Conference has vastly improved and taken the title for the strongest conference in college sports. This article will detail how the ACC has taken the edge over the SEC, and all other conferences, to become the best conference in college sports.
Composed of 15 institutions in south atlantic states like Florida and Indiana, many ACC schools have had a lot of success in 2016. The primary accomplishment of the ACC would be the Clemson Tigers capturing the College Football Playoff championship. Playing in the finals of a bracket tournament of the top four college football teams in the country for the second year in a row, the ACC champions, No. 2 ranked in the nation, defeated the SEC champions the Alabama Crimson Tide in a rematch of the previous CFB finals. The game featured a very late comeback effort by Tigers who were on the verge of the defeat but became the first team to beat the Crimson Tide after being down ten in the beginning for the fourth quarter. The Tigers scored 21 in the fourth combined with a last second touchdown by Hunter Renfrow that gave them their first title since 1981.
The national title game handed the ACC the largest collegiate football prize this season. However, even besides the title, over the course of the previous year, ACC teams did very well going 9-3 in bowl games and 51-17 against nonconference opponents. Overall, unlike years in the past where the ACC was often referred to as the SEC’s little brother, this year ACC football teams outperformed their counterparts in the SEC.
Another rather vast area where the ACC has demonstrated its newly found stronghold over the SEC is College Basketball. Last season ACC division one basketball teams were excellent. Seven Schools made the NCAA tournament, with two different teams from the conference making the final four in the North Carolina Tar heels and Syracuse Orange.
The ACC’s success in college basketball is expected to continue next season. In a recent USA Today Coaches Poll on ESPN ranking the top 25 college basketball teams, five were in the ACC with the North Carolina Tar Heels leading the way at #9. Another poll conducted earlier by the Associated Press had five ACC teams ranked among the countries top 18 championship contenders. When looking at the conference historically, ACC teams have a 73-16 record that gives the conference the most wins and second best win percentage compared to every conference. In conclusion, the ACC’s extensive collection of Basketball talent and newly found dominance in football has made the long-time mediocre conference better than its historic rival, the SEC.