Those who thought they saw a big transformation of the Atlantic Coast Conference last week when the ACC announced it was adding three more teams, likely had no idea that they would see yet another huge transformation just a few days later – that Clemson football would be knocked off of its perennial pedestal as the de facto best football team in the league with a good chance to win a national championship.

But that’s exactly what happened on Monday night, Sept. 4, in a nationally televised football game, when Duke University – over the decades a frequent doormat of a team – knocked off the Clemson Tigers in convincing fashion. The Clemson Tigers, a 14-point favorite who no doubt expected a fairly easy win on Monday night, instead, got taken behind the shed and beaten like a rented mule.

The ninth-ranked Clemson football team got whipped by the Blue Devils 7 to 28 at Brooks Field in Durham in a game where Duke grabbed the lead at the start and Clemson could never fully recover.

Some football observers might be tempted to write the game off as a one-time fluke. However, there are many indications that the game marked a seismic shift in the ACC rather than merely represented a one-off surprise.

The Duke Blue Devils, who looked amazingly solid during the game, were coming off a very convincing 9 win and 4 loss season last year that saw Duke go to a bowl game and win it.

Duke Football Coach Mike Elko was ACC Coach of the Year last year and now has the team playing at a level where it can clearly compete with any other college football team in the country.

One game does not a spectacular season make, however, the Sept. 4 season opener for Clemson, which was considered to be the best team in ACC football, seems to suggest that there is a major change going on in the conference.

After the game, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said he had literally never seen anything like it – a game where Clemson rushed for 200 yards and threw for 200 yards, yet lost.  In the past, when the team had done that, he said, the team had 108 wins and zero losses.

It was such an exciting football game that it was a shame many people didn’t get to see it because Spectrum cable and The Walt Disney Company haven’t been able to work out a deal regarding broadcast rights for Disney’s content – including ESPN content, which is owned by Disney.