ACC looks top-heavy again with only FSU, Clemson in Top 25
This was not the plan coming into the season.
The league wanted to show it was not a one-horse show. It hasn't worked out that way.
While No. 11 Florida State has won 25 straight Atlantic Coast Conference games, perhaps it's still too early to judge the league as a one-trick pony again. The strong showing by Duke's defense in last week's win over then-No. 20 Georgia Tech is just one sign that new contenders could emerge to the Seminoles' throne.
The most obvious contender is No. 12 Clemson, the preseason favorite to win the league. The Tigers likely would zoom past Florida State in the Top 25 if they beat No. 6 Notre Dame on Saturday night. Florida State visits Clemson on Nov. 7.
The Seminoles' last conference loss was to North Carolina State in 2012.
''They're really just considered the best in our conference until someone proves otherwise,'' said Wolfpack senior center Quinton Schooley.
The only longer streak in in the ACC was Florida State's 29 straight wins after it entered the league in 1992. Oh, and Florida State also won 24 straight from 1998-2001.
Clearly, the league's one-trick pony reputation is well-deserved. Clemson's only ACC title since Florida State joined the league came in 2011.
''We've had failures, but it hasn't caused the team to lose focus,'' Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said this week. ''... It's the same mentality every week. It's one bite at a time. You can't win a title or lose a title in one game.''
''Certainly they've been the class of the ACC for the last three years,'' said Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson. ''They've won the ACC championship three years in a row. ... It's been almost three years since they lost an ACC game. They're certainly a different team than a year ago, but they're still, talent-wise, as good a team as we'll face all year.''
Last week wasn't good for the league's quest to show there's more to it than just Florida State.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he has been too busy with his team to think about a bad week for the league. Asked about the depth of quality teams in the ACC, Fisher just shrugged.
''I don't know. I ain't even thought about it,'' Fisher said. ''I'm worried about our depth. ... I watch the films. They are well-coached, good players and good teams. I know that.''
But don't count out the Yellow Jackets just yet. Georgia Tech was No. 14 before losing at Notre Dame to start a two-game skid. The Yellow Jackets face North Carolina, which has won three straight, this week.
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson insists going through the ACC schedule is tough.
''I think there are a lot of good teams,'' Johnson said. ''I think (Duke) is a good team. They're good defensively, I call tell you that.
''There's not an easy team in our league. It's hard to pick one out to say `OK, man you ought to blow them out. That's an easy game.' I think the league has gotten better every year.''
Perhaps, but the league hasn't improved enough to have a consistent answer for Florida State.
''They're the reigning champions right now so they're the better man right now in the ACC,'' said Duke linebacker Dwayne Norman. ''But this year everybody has a chance and a new slate.''
AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard in Raleigh, North Carolina; Will Graves in Pittsburgh; Joedy McCreary in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Joseph Reedy in Tallahassee, Florida and Pete Iacobelli in Clemson, South Carolina contributed to this report.
AP College Football site: www.collegefootball.ap.org