They’re the biggest games of the ACC season and the ones that truly matter in the championship chase. They’re the ACC’s top 10 conference games.
10. NC State at Clemson, Oct. 15
If the Dave Doeren era is going to start getting rolling, this is the game to do it. It’s going to be thought of as a layup for the Tigers, especially with NC State coming off a date with Notre Dame, but they could be looking ahead to Florida State.
9. Clemson at Georgia Tech, Sept. 22
Everyone needs time to prepare for the Georgia Tech offense. Unfortunately for Clemson, it has a game against South Carolina State five days earlier. Remember how the Yellow Jackets beat Florida State at home last year? This could be their next great ACC upset.
8. North Carolina at Miami, Oct. 15
This will either be gut-check time for Miami or a chance to build on the momentum – the Florida State game is the week before. There’s a chance this will be for the Coastal title if the Tar Heels can ramp up the offense like its 2015 version.
7. Virginia Tech at North Carolina, Oct. 8
The Hokies have a fun start to the season playing Tennessee at the Bristol Speedway, and it has a few interesting home games against Boston College and East Carolina. With four road games in the next five, they’ve GOT to be beat UNC. Speaking of must-wins, this is the Tar Heels’ home game in between Florida State and Miami.
6. Florida State at NC State, Nov. 5
Will the Wolfpack be good enough to content for anything big in the ACC? It’ll have a perfect time to screw up the Seminoles in the dog days of the season. This is the perfect letdown moment coming off FSU’s home showdown against Clemson.
5. North Carolina at Florida State, Oct. 1
Florida State has a rough run of three road games in four weeks, and it’ll be coming off dates at Louisville and South Florida with Miami coming up – it’s the perfect time for UNC to come up with something amazing. On the flip side, this is UNC’s lone road game in a four week run.
4. Florida State at Louisville, Sept. 17
The Cardinals start out the ACC season at Syracuse, but this is it. This is the moment when they get a real shot at Florida State and a true chance at making a statement in the Atlantic race. If the Seminoles are back to their national title-level form of a few years ago, this is an opportunity they’ll feast on.
3. Florida State at Miami, Oct. 8
Mark Richt will have several big moments throughout his first season with the Hurricanes, but if everything breaks the right way, this could be the preview of the ACC championship. If Miami get beat Georgia Tech on the road the week before, it’ll be 4-0 and the hype will be rolling.
Florida State will be finishing up a run of three road games in four weeks with games against Ole Miss, Louisville and North Carolina already under its belt.
2. Louisville at Clemson, Oct. 1
Clemson will have had time to prepare with the road game against Georgia Tech on the Thursday before – it’ll have an extra few days – but will it be enough to handle the veteran and explosive Cardinals? Louisville, though, will be closing out a run of three road games in four weeks with the home date against Florida State in the midst of it all. If it’s somehow 5-0 on October 2nd, it’ll be national title talk time.
1. Clemson at Florida State, Oct. 29
Louisville is going to have its say. The Cardinals are loaded, talented, and good enough to beat both the Tigers and/or the Seminoles.
But if that doesn’t happen, and Florida State gets through a brutal first half of the season unscathed, and Clemson doesn’t blow it against Auburn or Georgia Tech on the road, this will be for more than, effectively, the ACC championship.
Both teams will have two weeks off to prepare, giving the game time to build up the momentum – again, if everything goes the right way.