|Over the past two seasons, Atlantic Coast Conference football players have won 15 of the 18 major national football awards sponsored by the College Football Awards Association, including the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Player of the Year, the Outland Trophy, the Nagurski Award, the Lombardi Award and the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Trophy, the “Academic Heisman”.
The ACC has the best record among the Power Five Conferences in the New Year’s Six Bowls and College Football Playoff Games (formerly the BCS) since 2012. Over the past three years, ACC teams have posted a 4-1 record, including a National Championship with Florida State's win over Auburn, Clemson defeating eighth-ranked Ohio State, Georgia Tech victory over seventh-ranked Mississippi State and Clemson’s win over ninth-ranked LSU.
Since 2011, the ACC has had 139 players drafted. As of March 26, 2015, 91 percent of them are still in the NFL.
At the end of the 2014 season, four ACC teams ranked in the final Top 25 of both the Associated Press and Amway Coaches polls with two teams ranked in the Top 10 of each. Florida State was ranked fifth in AP and sixth in the Coaches poll, while Georgia Tech was ranked eighth in AP and seventh in the Coaches poll. They were joined by Clemson (15th in each) and Louisville (24th in each).
Six ACC players were named consensus first-team All-Americans in 2014 which is the most of any conference in 2014 and ties the league’s all-time high set in 2013. Clemson’s Vic Beasley was the only repeating consensus All-American nationally from last year. He was joined by G Laken Tomlinson of Duke, S Gerod Holliman of Louisville and PK Roberto Aguayo, G Tre’ Jackson and TE Nick O’Leary of Florida State.
Nine ACC schools were honored last fall by the AFCA for their football graduation rates, the second most of any conference. Duke and Note Dame shared top honors with two other schools, while Wake Forest and Miami also were honored for graduation rates of 90 percent of better. Boston College, Florida State, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech were honored for graduation rates of 75 percent or better.
Though Florida State’s ACC-record 29-game winning streak came to an end against Oregon in the Rose Bowl CFP semifinal game, the skein tied for the 12th-longest winning streak of all time.
In its 2013 rating of American Universities, the U.S. News and World Report ranks ACC schools cumulatively amongst the highest of any conference playing major college (FBS) football. Eight ACC institutions rank among the nation’s top 50 universities and 12 are ranked 68th or better. The ACC’s current formation of schools has an average rank of 55.3, marking the seventh consecutive year in which the ACC has had the best average rank amongst Power 5 conferences.
Duke senior offensive guard Laken Tomlinson (Chicago, Ill.) is the winner of the 2014 Orange Bowl/Football Writers Association of America Courage Award. Tomlinson became the third winner from an ACC school joining Clemson’s Daniel Rodriguez (2012) and Ray-Ray McElrathbey (2006), and was one of six ACC student-athletes nominated for the honor this year, including Deon Hill of Georgia Tech, Ian Frye of Virginia, Rori Blair of Pitt, Lorenzo Mauldin of Louisville and Jarvis Byrd of NC State.
The ACC is in its second year of a 12-year agreement with the Capital One Orange Bowl, in which the ACC Champion will annually play in the bowl against either the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame as part of the College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six Games.
In addition to the Capital One Orange Bowl, which will annually feature an ACC team on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, the ACC has announced relationships with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla.; the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, New Era Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx, Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman in Annapolis, Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Detroit Lions Bowl in Detroit and the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl in St. Petersburg.
In years when the Capital One Orange Bowl serves as a semifinal site for the College Football Playoff, the ACC Champion is guaranteed a berth in either the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta or the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz., as part of the College Football Playoff's New Year's Six.