CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford told The Clemson Insider that Clemson has elevated the league the last three years in how it is viewed nationally.
Clemson of course has made the College Football Playoff in each of the last three years, while playing for one national championship and winning another in the process. The Tigers are once again the hands on favorite to win the ACC for a fourth straight year, and should be picked as such this week as the league hosts its annual ACC Football Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte in Charlotte.
“It has been phenomenal,” Swofford said. “What has happened at Clemson under Dabo’s leadership, Clemson has become an unquestioned premiere football program in the country. They win at a high level consistently and you have to do it consistently to be considered one of the elite programs. So it has really been tremendous to watch and has been a great thing for Clemson, but it is also a great thing for the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
Clemson will more than likely carry the ACC banner this season as well. The Tigers are talked about as one of the favorites to get back to the CFP and contend for another national championship. With the ACC and ESPN unveiling its network logo Wednesday for next year’s launch, the Tigers’ rise to national prominence could not come at a better time for all involved.
“It elevates the entire league,” Swofford said. “Every league at different periods, and I don’t care if you look at the SEC, The Big Ten, The Big 12, every league has a couple of programs that lead that league.”
Swofford points out that in the SEC its Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. In the Big 12 it is either Oklahoma or Texas, or Michigan or Ohio State in the Big Ten and in the ACC it is Clemson and Florida State.
“The thing I feel so good about, and not only that Clemson and Florida State have done it more consistently than anybody else in the ACC, but we have some programs on their way,” Swofford said. “They have legitimate national potential, whether it is Miami or Virginia Tech. NC State’s program seems to be really evolving.
“When you look at Clemson, their toughest games and singular losses the last couple of years have been against conference teams, not non-conference teams. I think that says something about the league and the competitiveness of the league. There are so many teams in the league now that on any given week they can beat you.”
But not many are beating Clemson, which is good for the ACC.
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