Florida State & UNC wins put the rest of the country on notice of the ACC

ACC Champion trophy on display during the ACC Kickoff Media Days event in downtown Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday, July 26, 2023.
ACC Champion trophy on display during the ACC Kickoff Media Days event in downtown Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday, July 26, 2023. /

If there is one thing we learned from Week 1 of the college football season, it’s this. It’s time to give the Atlantic Coast Conference some respect after a flurry of big results.

Florida State and North Carolina dominate SEC opponents

When top NCAA conferences come to mind nationally, the SEC and Big Ten are always at the top of the discussion. Next is the Big 12, then the soon-to-be-defunct Pac-12. The ACC is generally the last Power 5 conference to be brought up, but after what Florida State and North Carolina did over the weekend to LSU and South Carolina, it’s time to give the conference its due nationally.

First, we’ll start with North Carolina. Mack Brown’s team led 17-14 at halftime in Charlotte in the Duke’s Mayo Classic, but the Tar Heels dominated the Gamecocks in the second half to pull away for a 31-17 win. Quarterback Drake Maye threw two touchdown passes and the defense held South Carolina to 11 rushing yards in the game. Eleven rushing yards for an SEC team in a game.


Second, how dominant was Florida State Sunday night against LSU in the Camping World Kickoff in the 45-24 win? Very impressive and an early overreaction is that the Seminoles are back. Trailing 17-14 at halftime, Florida State came out for the final 30 minutes and made a big statement to the rest of the country by rolling up 31 points on the fifth-ranked Tigers.

FSU QB Jordan Travis accounted for five touchdowns as the Seminoles’ defense came to play all night long, getting turnovers on downs twice deep in their own territory. Florida State’s offense racked up 483 yards on Brian Kelly’s defense and it doesn’t look ready for the tough SEC.


It’s just one week, but Florida State and North Carolina made a statement for the conference after dominating two SEC teams.

Overall good weekend for the ACC

In the big picture, it was a good opening weekend for the ACC. Lousiville won a shootout over an up-and-coming Georgia Tech team, Pittsburgh blew out Wofford, Syracuse had little trouble with Colgate, Wake Forest blew out Elon, North Carolina State beat a tough University of Connecticut team, Miami, Florida took down Miami of Ohio and of course, Virginia Tech beat Old Dominion.

Virginia lost to Tennessee, which comes as no surprise, but if there was a look that wasn’t good for the conference, it’s Boston College. The Eagles looked unmotivated and lost in overtime to Northern Illinois at home.

It’s just one week, but the conference is already in better shape than it was a year ago. Florida State looks like a playoff team and to get there, they’ll have to go through Clemson twice. Overall, it’s time the rest of the country takes notice of the ACC. Tonight, the Tigers get to show what they have against Duke.

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