(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For years, the Atlantic Coast Conference has been regarded as the basketball power lagging in football behind Southeastern Conference, considered stronger, tougher and deeper on the gridiron.
It’s a perception that doesn’t line up with today’s reality.
After two national-title wins against SEC opponents and two Heisman Trophy winners in four seasons, the ACC has closed the gap if not erased it entirely. And that’s left the two leagues — which have combined for 10 of the last 11 national championships — looking awfully similar these days, from clear top tiers and divisional imbalances to their Southern-stronghold recruiting bases.