At first, it looked encouraging for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clemson and Florida State both were in the Top 10 in pre-season rankings. Some pundits even had the pair as Top 5 contenders.

Then it changed. Florida State stumbled out of the box. It was nearly beat by Ole Miss in its opener  Two weeks later, the Seminoles came to town and were embarrassed at Louisville.63-20.

O.K. No problem. Clemson and Louisville emerged as leaders of the pack.

But there were signs that not everything was working the way it should. Clemson looked sluggish. The Tigers, who had blitzed their way to the national championship game against Alabama a year ago, looked…beatable. And Clemson QB DeShaun Watson, a pre-season favorite to win the  Heisman (he was third last season). was not the dominant force of a year ago. Watson wasn’t even the best QB in his own division, being overshadowed by Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.