The Atlantic Coast Conference has risen to be one of the best, if not the very top, football conference in college football mostly behind strong quarterback play. But this season the ACC could be known for defense too.
Matt Brown of Sports on Earth ranked the Top 25 defenses in college football Thursday and placed seven ACC units on the list, which was tied for the most among all Division I conferences. Clemson led the way for the ACC behind only Alabama at No. 2.
The Tigers have lost a lot to the NFL on defense over the last couple years, but Brown says Clemson will be dominant on the defensive line.
“This year, the Tigers have the nation’s best defensive line, featuring Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell,” Brown wrote. “They lose LB Ben Boulware and a couple starters in the secondary, but they’ll have one of the nation’s best pass rushes, and they still have experience and potential at linebacker, giving them a phenomenal front seven that can help make up for any growing pains in the defensive backfield.”
But Clemson is hardly the only defense to be excited about in the ACC. Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech were also ranked in the top six, giving the ACC four of the top six defenses on the list.
Besides Alabama, Ohio State was the other non ACC school in the top six at No. 3. Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech were rated fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
N.C. State earned the No. 16 spot on the list. Louisville and Boston College were the final two Atlantic Coast Conference ranked on Brown’s list at No. 17 and 25, respectively.
Seven ACC defenses was tied with the Big Ten for the most among any conference. The SEC was third with five, and Pac-12 finished fourth with four.