Injuries have ravaged ACC's elite players

The ACC has been at its best this season.

And yet the conference could still be so much better.

Injuries have robbed the ACC of some of its brightest stars this fall, sidelining an All-ACC cast of characters. Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, Miami running back Duke Johnson, North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner, Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro – all of them record-setters at their respective schools, and among the best in the conference and country at their positions – have all suffered season-ending injuries.

What a cruel, unforgiving sport we love.

“It’s unfortunate how the game of football works,” said Miami quarterback Stephen Morris, whose own performance has been hindered by an injury most of the season.

Within the past four days, the ACC has lost Campanaro, Johnson and Renner.

It was announced on Tuesday that Renner, who holds school records for most career 300-yard passing games, completion percentage (66.5) and single-season touchdown passes (in 2011 and 2012), will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. He’s having surgery Wednesday.

On Sunday, Miami released the news that Johnson will miss the rest of the season with a broken right ankle. He was injured late in the third quarter of the 41-14 loss to Florida State. Johnson has been one of the most exciting players in the conference to watch, especially in the return game. He was the No. 2 rusher in the ACC and ranked No. 4 in the country in all-purpose yards.

Campanaro also went down this weekend when he broke his collarbone in a loss at Syracuse and had to be taken to the hospital. He spent the evening thanking his fans for an outpouring of support, and wrote: The Love and Support I've Received From Family And Friends Has Kept Me Positive! Deac Nation Is The Best!! #GoDeacs #Deac4Life !!

In mid-October, Maryland lost to Wake Forest, and the Terps lost their top two receivers in the process. Diggs and Deon Long were both injured against the Deacs. Long broke his tibia and fibula, and Diggs, one of the best all-purpose players in the ACC, broke his fibula.

Johnson, Diggs and Campanaro were all selected to the preseason all-conference team this past July. Johnson was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Year last fall. All four of those players were ranked among ESPN.com’s top 25 ACC players before the season, with Johnson and Diggs checking in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

Two of the ACC's top five players, done.

Injuries are unavoidable; they’re inescapable every season. They’re part of the game, and there are plenty of other talented players throughout the conference who have had their seasons cut short.

With so many elite players out in November, though, when the games matter the most, the ACC and its fans have collectively suffered one big loss.