Clemson has won 23 straight ACC games dating back to the 2017 season, including 20 straight in the regular season. The top-ranked Tigers will try to extend those win streaks on Saturday when they host Virginia at Death Valley in a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship Game.
But is Clemson’s dominance of the ACC going to be challenged this year?
Teams like Miami and Pittsburgh are already off to 3-0 starts, while six teams in all are ranked in this week’s Associated Press and Coaches Polls. Three of those six teams are ranked in the top 10 and two in the top 5.
“I would just say watching [the conference] it has been very competitive in the ACC,” Clemson linebacker Mike Jones said. “We have a lot of teams playing some great football right now. We have to bring it week in and week out. The league is looking tough.”
The Tigers (2-0, 1-0 ACC) will play four of the other five teams ranked starting with No. 8 Miami on Oct. 10. The ACC announced on Monday the Miami game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by ABC.
Clemson will also play No. 5 Notre Dame on Nov. 7 in South Bend, Ind., No. 24 Pitt on Nov. 28 and No. 23 Virginia Tech (Coaches Poll) on Dec. 5 in Blacksburg, Va. There is also a chance Clemson could play No. 11 North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game.
“You can see that those guys have really taken the off-season serious,” Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said about the number of good teams in the conference. “They have put in the work and they have done like everyone else, just trying to create as much energy as they possibly can.
“You can see that they are confident and that their confidence level is high. There are going to be some good challenges for us going forward, so I am looking forward to it. But we are not going to look too far ahead.”
With a possible top 10 matchup with Miami looming in the background, Elliott recognizes how well the Hurricanes are playing, but he is making sure his players know they have other business to attend to before they worry about the Hurricanes or anyone else down the road on the schedule.
“Right now, we are focused on Virginia. This is a rematch of the ACC Championship right here,” he said. “We were able to score a bunch of points, but when you go back and look at it, it was not quite as clean. They popped a couple of plays they would like to have back and probably feel like they missed a gap or something that we were able to take advantage of.
“They are very experienced on defense. It is good to see them play, so we can get a good sneak peek because we have not seen them on tape up to this point. So, it was good to see who they ran out there first and what their philosophy was going to be against Duke and how they were going to try and play and match their philosophy because it is good to get a sneak peek at those guys. We have been practicing and preparing because a lot of it was based off of last year, so we got some confirmation and we also got some information as well.”
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