The ACC as a conference isn’t exactly held in high regard within the inner circle of collegiate football. Most people immediately place the conference as the fifth or sixth best of the “big six” conferences. So there really isn’t any way for the Atlantic Coast Conference to go but up, and a good turnout this bowl season could do just that.
The ACC’s postseason became a success the second that Chandler Catanzaro’s field goal went through the uprights to end the Chic-Fil-A Bowl. That winning kick gave the Clemson Tigers a 25-24 win over ninth-ranked LSU. At last, the ACC could boast a win over the mighty SEC in a game that mattered. That is the kind of win that can help the conference’s reputation in the future.
Georgia Tech also made a surprising impact when they upset Southern California in the Sun Bowl. To be fair, USC senior quarterback Matt Barkley didn’t play and the Trojans weren’t exactly excited to be there. However, a win is a win, and when that win comes against a traditional college football superpower (like USC) it immediately makes the conference look better.
Like I said, there is nowhere to go but up, and these two wins did just that for the ACC. The conference is one of the more stable in the land, but that means nothing unless the conference as a whole is a contender. Despite these two huge wins, the conference will still be considered the little brother until a true national championship contender emerges.
Where the ACC goes now is a total mystery, but Clemson and Georgia Tech have provided the conference with hope and a bit of pride going into the future.