The ACC posted a 4-5 record against the SEC in 2010, including a 2-0 record in the bowl games with wins over Tennessee and SEC East champ South Carolina.
The league was hardly embarrassed by the bully of college football, but can it improve upon that success in 2011?
It can and it will.
The ACC has five chances during the regular season this year to close the gap between it and the best conference in the country: Clemson vs. Auburn, Clemson vs. South Carolina, Florida State vs. Florida, Georgia Tech vs. Georgia and Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt. Three of those are home games, but Clemson and FSU will end the season on the road against their rivals.
Here’s your bold prediction for 2011: The ACC will finish 3-2 against the SEC with wins over Auburn, Florida and Vanderbilt.
Vandy is under a first-year head coach in former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin, so there will be some familiarity there as he has coached against Wake Forest in the Atlantic Division. Still, it’s a transition year for the worst team in the SEC, and Jim Grobe’s group will be older and better. Auburn is not the same team that won the national title, and Clemson has something to prove in that game after losing in overtime on the road last year. And right now, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher owns the state. He’s ahead in recruiting and winning over both in-state rivals Miami and Florida.
Even if Georgia Tech and Clemson both flop against their in-state rivals (again), there is enough transition going on throughout the rest of the SEC that the ACC has enough working in its favor to finally turn the tables on the SEC in 2011.