Last year, Pitt had arguably the biggest in-conference win when they upset Clemson on the road, giving the national champion Tigers their only loss of the season. Today at ACC Media Days, commissioner John Swofford mentioned that upset, in part, to demonstrate the conference's strength in football.
Swofford mentions that Clemson's two toughest regular season games — NC State, Pitt — came in ACC play. Speaks to the strength of the league— ACCSports.com (@ACCSports) July 13, 2017
To be fair, Florida State gave Clemson a great game, too. But Pitt and North Carolina State were the only teams to either beat Clemson or take them to overtime. And plus, it's obvious that he wanted to point to two of the more mediocre programs in the conference to show how deep he feels the league is.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher also got on board with that, calling the ACC the top conference after winning the national championship and going 9-3 in bowl games.
Truth? I don't know. I do like Swofford's sentiment in that the his point is that the conference is deep. A program like Pitt, which was 8-4 and had a very good year with such a difficult schedule was only around the middle of the ACC in 2016. And when you have teams like that so far down in the pecking order knocking off top teams like Clemson and Penn State, who was surprisingly good last year, it really does speak to depth.