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College Football Rankings: Why ACC is Second Only to SEC in 2011

CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24:  Rashard Hall #31 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after a defensive stop against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Joseph HealyCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2011

Let's get one thing clear. The SEC is the best conference in college football. That's been true for quite some time and that's true for this season.

I have gone on the record as saying that I think the SEC as a whole is a bit overrated this season. With that said, they are still the best conference in the country.

It might surprise you that the second best conference in the nation is the ACC, not the Big 12 or Big Ten.

The Big 12 has the better top-end teams. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are all legitimate top 15 teams. The ACC may only end up with one top 15 team.

The Big Ten's top two teams, Wisconsin and Nebraska, are better than the best two teams in the ACC, but I have real questions about the teams behind those two.

From top to bottom, the ACC is better than each of those two conferences.

They currently boast four teams in the AP top 25. They are all in the bottom half of the rankings,yet all but Florida State have played their way into the rankings rather than being given their ranking to start the season.

Florida State, regardless of their ranking, is the class of the conference. They have more top-end talent than anyone in the league and it wouldn't surprise me if they ended up winning the conference after all.

Virginia Tech will be the team in their way. Frank Beamer's team is perpetually overlooked and this season is no exception. No one is talking about them and yet they are sitting there just outside the top 10.

Clemson has been as impressive as anyone over the last two weeks. They got an emotional win at home over Auburn in Week 3 and backed that up with a home win over FSU this weekend. 

Georgia Tech has piled up yardage on the ground faster than any team in the nation. The No. 21 ranked Yellow Jackets running game which averaged 398.8 yards through four games will keep them competitive against anyone.

North Carolina sits just outside the rankings, with their only loss coming at the hands of Georgia Tech.

The ACC's lack of success in BCS bowl games and their lack of brand name teams at the top of the rankings gets them criticized, but most of that criticism is unearned in 2011. The ACC has shown this season why they are a top conference.

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