The  harsh reality of the 2016 college football season for Louisville is that unless Clemson loses two of its last 3 games–the Tigers face Pitt, Wake Forest and South Carolina–the best the Cardinals can do is finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division.

But, barring numerous upsets around the country, that won’t get the Cardinals into the Final Four in football.

Granted, the consolation prize is a trip to the Orange Bowl, but it isn’t a Top 4 finish, which guarantees a chance to win the national championship. Adding to the shine of the package is that Louisville QB Lamar Jackson will have to do something in the next few weeks to LOSE the Heisman Trophy.

Having acknowledged all of that, the status of the ACC as a top tier Power 5 conference is gaining momentum.

With Clemson sitting in the Top 5 in the rankings and Louisville tucked in at No. 7,  the ACC Atlantic Division must be included  in the discussion when the top of best division in college football is being examined.

If you follow the theory that Florida State’s three losses this season are a speed bump on a highway which will have the Seminoles back in contention for the national championship next season, you have a trifecta that is the equal of any division in college football.

But the long range question is this: Is the ACC TOO top heavy in the Atlantic Division?  A check around the ACC revealed there has been no talk at all about changing any team in the divisions because of a competitive imbalance, just as there has been little or no talk about making a change in the SEC where the SEC West is vastly superior to the SEC East. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.