Florida State doesn’t have much time to prove its point.
Jimbo Fisher is hardly the most outspoken coach in college football, and the last two years his perennial powerful Seminoles have had to take a back seat to Clemson in the ACC. But Fisher wasted little time at ACC media days to say he works in the best college football league in America. Period.
Fisher proclaimed the ACC No. 1 based on Clemson winning the national championship last season, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson walking off with the 2016 Heisman Trophy and the Tigers’ DeShaun Watson finishing second. But that’s not all.
The ACC sent 12 teams to bowl games last season and finished 9-3 for the best record among all conferences. Plus, Clemson defeated defending champion Alabama in the college football title game rematch to boost the ACC’s post-season record 10-3.
Many were calling the Big Ten the best conference in college football last season, but Florida State beat Michigan in the Orange Bowl and Clemson defeated Ohio State in the CFP semifinals, played in the Fiesta Bowl. All that is pretty conclusive evidence for a conference once considered merely a basketball league.
Fisher made his bold statements less than two months away from his team’s opening game of the season against preseason No. 1 Alabama in Atlanta. The Seminoles bookend their 2017 schedule with Alabama and Florida, which played for the SEC Championship last season.
At the SEC Media Day, Alabama coach Nick Saban – the new $15 million man – gave Florida State the backhanded compliment of saying the Seminoles reminded him of an SEC team, rather than praising them as a national power from the ACC. Saban said “Florida State, especially, is built like an SEC team. … You know, like our teams. You think of Florida State, you think of fast, explosive players … But they also are big, physical, play great defense.”
Saban, of all people, should know those kinds of teams are in other leagues, too. Maybe if the Crimson Tide loses a second straight to the ACC, Saban will admit it.