Author: Dawson Haywood
Clemson has won the last six ACC Championship games and has dominated the Atlantic Division since 2015. Since the College Football Playoffs were created Clemson has competed in all but one. Now the SEC is clearly more competitive than the ACC but even the dynasty that is Alabama gets dethroned from time to time. Clemson and Oklahoma have won six consecutive conference championships which is currently the longest conference champion streak in college football. Eventually, Clemson has to lose. With Trevor Lawrence gone this is the year for a new ACC team to step up and claim the throne.
Now, I would not bet on Clemson losing the ACC title this year mainly because they have had the top recruiting classes in the ACC the last four years and Dabo is still Dabo. If Clemson were to lose the ACC title it would be because the team just lost a large chunk of their starting offense including one of the best quarterbacks to play college football, Trevor Lawrence.
There are three teams that I believe have the best shot at taking down Clemson. First, we have North Carolina who has been up and coming since Mack Brown took over the program in 2019. In ESPN’s way too early rankings, Carolina is sitting pretty at #7. With eight returning starters on offense and ten returning starters on defense, this is a team that was very successful last season and came close to defeating Clemson. Carolina does not play Clemson in the regular season this year but the likelihood of them winning the Coastal Division and making it to the ACC Championship game is high.
Next, we have Miami, who has a much smaller chance at beating Clemson than Carolina does but still possible. Miami is in the same division as Carolina and does not play Clemson during the regular season. Seeing Miami beat Clemson would have to come in the ACC title game. Miami is losing four starters on a powerful defense and two starters on an offense that played exceptional last season.
The last team I have that could knock off Clemson is Florida State. Though last year’s performance was not what any of us expected the talent to take Clemson down is there if they are playing their A-game and Clemson is having an off night. Florida State beating Clemson would really have to be one of those random teams that appear out of nowhere this season. Why Florida State has not seen more success in recent seasons is beyond me. The talent is there they just have a few kinks to work out to put that talent together and become a real contender in the ACC.
So, is it possible for Clemson to be knocked off the throne of the ACC? Yes. Anything is possible. Is it likely? No. What I do know is that teams cannot win forever. Every so often you have to lose. That's sports. Clemson will continue to be a dominant team in the ACC this is just the year where the skill gap is not as wide as it has been. The door has opened up slightly for other teams to win an ACC title.