Palmetto State Report: Comparing the SEC East and ACC Atlantic

Joseph AlbersonAnalyst IOctober 25, 2010

South Carolina and Clemson fans share a few characteristics, but most of all, they love to antagonize the opposite fan base after a loss.

Both fans have had a chance to antagonize this year as South Carolina is currently 5-2 (3-2) on the year and sits atop the SEC East.

Clemson is currently 4-3 (2-2) on the year and sits alone in third place in the ACC Atlantic.

South Carolina fans always point out that playing in the SEC, specifically the SEC East, is a helluva lot harder than the wimpy ACC.

But is that the case this year, considering the down year for the SEC East?


The SEC East is still head and shoulders above the ACC Atlantic.

Both divisions are weak(er), with the SEC East unusually weaker than previous years, while the ACC Atlantic is at its usual strength...weak.

I just am dumbfounded currently at the amount of trash-talk Clemson fans are capable of this year.

When you factor in the 34-17 Carolina drubbing over Clemson last year and Carolina's national title in baseball (beating Clemson twice in a row to eliminate the Tigers on the way), you'd think Clemson fans would realize when they're beat.

The most entertaining argument Tiger fans use this year is that the only reason Carolina is in first place in the SEC East, is because the division is weak.

It's like the pot calling the kettle black. The SEC East this year is a representative of what the ACC Atlantic is every year.

Let's take a look at the teams of both divisions and look at how they're likely to finish up. I think the teams can basically be broken into five tiers.


The first tier has one member, Florida State (ACC). The Seminoles are a cut above any team in the two divisions this year.

I think it's safe to say the 'Noles are back and they should run the table to finish 8-0, in conference, as ACC Atlantic Champions. 

ACC 1, SEC 0


Tier two has a couple of old rivals (albeit basketball rivals). South Carolina (SEC) and NC State (ACC). I only put these teams in a tier together because I believe they will finish with the same conference records, 6-2 or 5-3.

It's possible one team finishes with a better record than the other and I would give that edge to USC, as I almost put them in the same tier as FSU.

South Carolina is a step above NC State when it comes to talent and the product on the field, despite the records. 

ACC 1, SEC 1


The next tier, ironically, contains another set of old rivals. Georgia (SEC), Clemson (ACC) and Maryland (ACC).

Looking over the remaining games for each team, I see them all finishing 4-4 in conference. If each team were to face head to head, I'd take Georgia over either team, any day of the week (especially with A.J. Green back in the Dawg's arsenal).

SEC 2, ACC 1


The fourth tier has a couple of "fallen from grace" teams in the Gators and Eagles.

Kentucky (SEC), Florida (SEC) and Boston College (ACC) round out the fourth tier of SEC East/ACC Atlantic teams, and should finish 3-5 in conference play.

Both the Wildcats and Gators could handle BC rather easily, so this one again goes to the SEC.

SEC 3, ACC 1


Last, we have the fifth and final tier, the bottom feeders of each conference. That "fallen from grace" theme is also present in this tier.

Vanderbilt (SEC), Wake Forest (ACC) and Tennessee (SEC) make up the bottom feeders of each conference. I see all three finishing 1-7 in conference.

Just two years ago, the Demon Deacons were an 8-5 bowl-winning team, while just four years ago, they were ACC champions.

Three years ago, the Vols were playing for the SEC championship.

My how the mighty have fallen.

With the SEC having two out of the three bottom teams, you'd think the edge would go to the ACC in this tier. But if we continue the "on the field–head to head" comparison, I think Tennessee beats either team.

SEC 4, ACC 1


So Clemson fans, it's time to stop overlooking the inefficiencies and misgivings of oneself while trying to point out the same in others.

Understand that your conference will never compare favorably to the SEC. It just won't happen.

Go ahead and continue clinging to the past while you fire back with your more national championships argument (cough...bought, cheaters...cough).

Come Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010, this Gamecock will awake and cherish the fact he has bragging rights for another entire year.