No. 23 Virginia and No. 3 Clemson to square off in ACC Championship game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WDBJ7) The Clemson Tigers have won two of the last three national titles, and they're in their 5th straight ACC Championship game.

Left: Clemson Head Dabo Swinney, Right: Virginia Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall (WDBJ7 photo)

Virginia is fresh off its first Coastal Division crown and the Cavaliers are anxious to get where the Tigers have been.

But while the two programs are at opposite ends of college football's pecking order, culturally, they're pretty similar under head coaches Bronco Mendenhall and Dabo Swinney.

"I believe that culture precedes performance" said Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia Head Coach. "I have no interest in building a program, nor being involved in college football period unless it represents something more than football and with that genuine and authentic belief, then it becomes something more than football, which is cultural. And then there becomes an identity which is formed with that. And it seems to me that Clemson has done that as well. In comparing the two programs, I can't say how similar but I do think the focus culturally has been emphasized similarly and has manifested similarly, other than Clemson is farther ahead and has reached a different level."

From day one, I've always been program driven and I think Bronco is the same way" said Dabo Swinney, Clemson Head Coach. "When that's your focus, sometimes you are going to have to make some tough decisions and you are going to have some challenges along the way, but you'll be better for it in the long run. We have a philosophy that we believe in and again, we just keep the main thing the main thing. I focus on the relationships and the culture of everything that we do and focus on always trying to get better, always learning, always growing."

The Cavaliers do have a sense of familiarity and a comfort level at Bank of America Stadium. They knocked off South Carolina there in the Belk Bowl nearly one year ago.

The ACC Championship kicks off Saturday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m.

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