CLEMSON – The Atlantic Coast Conference has not fared well in the BCS system, failing to produce a national title winner since Florida State in 2000, while the neighboring Southeastern Conference has won six straight national titles.
Conference commissioners reached consensus on a format for a four-team college football playoff Wednesday, proposing a seeded, four-team field that will not include automatic qualifiers for select conference champions.
Although the new format improves the ACC’s chances of placing teams in national title contention, it likely would not have helped the ACC in the past decade. The new format must be approved by college presidents later this summer.
Based on BCS standings, the last ACC team to finish in the top four was Virginia Tech in 2007.
If using BCS points, the SEC would have sent nine teams to the four-team playoff since 2006 while the ACC would have sent one team to the playoff during that period.
Despite the recent history, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he thinks his program can accomplish all of its goals in the ACC.
“Look at us last year, we weren’t even ranked, we weren’t even on the radar (in the preseason) and we went to fifth in the country,” Swinney said of Clemson’s high-water mark in BCS standings. “That just goes to show you what we can do in this conference. The fact of the matter is it has been very competitive, very balanced. We have not produced that 13-0, 13-1 team.”
While details of the selection process for the four-team playoff are not completely clear, what is known is a selection committee will attempt to pick the best four teams using measures like strength of schedule and rankings while also considering conference champion status.
Of course if programs like Florida State and Miami return to status as elite programs, the ACC could benefit greatly from the new playoff format.
If including then-Big East members Miami and Virginia Tech as part of the ACC, the ACC would have sent seven teams to the playoff field from 1998 to 2004 while the SEC would have sent five.
The new format must be approved by college presidents later this summer.