FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher coaches during the ACC Championship game of Florida State versus Georgie Tech at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, December 1, 2012. (Stephen M. Dowell/ Orlando Sentinel) (Stephen M. Dowell / February 27, 2013)
Here are five ACC college football games to watch this upcoming season.
Monday, Sept. 2
8 p.m.; ESPN
The Buzz: Florida State opens the season with a primetime Labor Day matchup against one of the newest additions to the ACC, Pittsburgh. It’s been 30 years – 1983 to be exact – since these two teams met on the gridiron with the Panthers holding a 3-5 edge in the series. Pitt is coming off a 6-7 season, which included a loss to Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl. The Seminoles are coming off a 12-2 season that included an Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois. Fans will need a who’s-who roster card when it comes to identifying the changes on the coaching staff alone. Seven assistant coaches left the program in the offseason giving this team a whole new, look and feel when it hits the field this fall.
Thursday, Sept. 26
The Buzz: Virginia Tech hits the road to take on Coastal Division rival Georgia Tech in a Thursday night showdown in Atlanta. The Hokies are coming off a disappointing 7-6 season, but are hoping to use capitalize on the momentum from their 13-10 victory over Rutgers at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. The decision by Logan Thomas to return for his senior season was huge and couple it with the addition of former Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler should help improve Virginia Tech’s dismal offensive showing last year. Loeffler’s history of developing quarterbacks – he’s worked with Tim Tebow at Florida – could come in handy. Georgia Tech is coming off one of the most bizarre seasons in recent memory. The Yellow Jackets earned a spot in the ACC title game after Miami self-imposed a postseason ban, then needed an NCAA waiver to play in a bowl game, which they upset USC in the Sun Bowl.
Miami at North Carolina
Thursday, Oct. 17
The Buzz: Both of these programs contended for the Coastal Division crown and both ended up forced to watch someone else play in the title game. In his first season at the helm of the Tar Heels, Larry Fedora lead North Carolina to an impressive 8-4 finish despite the program being forced to sit out the postseason under an NCAA-sanctioned bowl ban. If not for that, the Heels would have earned a date with Florida State in the title game in Charlotte. Miami was in the division hunt most of the season, but with an NCAA investigation hanging over its program, the school decided to self-impose another postseason ban in an effort to avoid a harsher penalty later on. The opened the door for Georgia Tech to play in the title game.
Florida State at Clemson
Saturday, Oct. 19
The Buzz: This series has quickly developed into one of the best rivalries in the ACC. Since 2009, one of these two programs has gone on to represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC championship game. Last season, Florida State rallied from a halftime deficit with 21 points in the third quarter to outlast the Tigers, 49-37. The victory assured the Seminoles a spot in the ACC title game. The series benefits from some home cooking as the home team’s won 10 of the past 11 meetings. Clemson’s high-powered offense returns star quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins which spells trouble for a Florida State team currently undergoing some major changes on-and-off the field.
Miami at Florida State
Saturday, Nov. 2
The Buzz: One of the best rivalries in the state of Florida as taken a backseat, as of late, to the Florida-Florida State rivalry. It’s no surprise when you consider that the Seminoles have won the past three meetings including last season’s 33-20 affair in Miami. Florida State shook off a slow start to tally 20 second-half points and the victory. Miami coach Al Golden is still looking for his first victory against the ‘Noles. A victory, which could go a long way into helping the Hurricanes get back on track when it comes to earning respect in the state of Florida.
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