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ACC-SEC on similar footing

(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.