Study: Common factors in the last 5 ACC champions

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday June 05, 2017

What does it take to win the ACC championship? Take a look at what the last five league champions have done against ACC opponents:

- The first thing that sticks out is obviously that Clemson and Florida State are the only two schools to win the league title in this span. The FSU-Clemson game has determined the division/conference champ for six straight years. This six-year stretch for the Atlantic division followed four straight wins for the Coastal division.

- The past five ACC champions have finished in the top 3 in scoring in ACC games.

- The past five ACC champions have also finished in the top 3 in scoring D in ACC games. Clemson was No. 1 last season.

- Clemson has dominated one-possession games, going 7-1 this past year, including winning the national title on the final play.

19-13 win at Auburn
30-24 win vs. Troy
42-36 win vs. Louisville
24-17 OT win vs. NC State (NC State miss short FG at end of regulation)
43-42 loss vs. Pitt (Pitt made FG in final seconds)
42-35 win vs. Virginia Tech
35-31 win vs. Alabama (Win on final offensive play)

- Turnover margin hasn’t mattered. Four of the five teams had a negative margin in conference play, while FSU’s 2013 national championship team was No. 2 nationally in conference turnover margin.

- These teams kept drives alive. The past five ACC champions finished in the top 3 in 3rd down conversions in conference play.

- There hasn’t been a rematch in the ACC title game since 2011, meaning the top team in the Atlantic hasn’t played the top team in the Coastal before the title game since 2011. The crossover games can make a difference.

- In 2017, Clemson plays at Louisville on Sept. 16 and hosts Florida State on Nov. 11. Louisville travels to FSU on Oct. 21. 

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to