Part of the perception of a conference in football is not only OOC results, but also inter-conference games. Let’s be honest there haven’t been alot of ACC football games that had national championship ramifications. I thought there could be a nice round robin set of high profile games between Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Florida State, but the Hokies de-railed that with their train wreck performance at Pittsburgh this weekend.
That leaves Florida State and Clemson as clearly the game of the year in the ACC this year. Two top 10 teams Florida State ranked #4 in both polls, and Clemson ranked #10 in the AP poll and #9 in the Coaches Poll. ESPN Gameday is going to be there. A win for either puts them on the short list of national title contenders. Especially with future top 15 SEC opponents for both, South Carolina for Clemson and Florida for Florida State, the winner of this game wouldn’t completely control their own destiny to the national title game, but they would be close especially the Seminoles.
I’m guessing a Clemson win probably puts them in the top 8, and win for Florida State may move them into the top 3. Florida State in particular would appear very capable of running the table if they won Saturday. I know they play at Virginia Tech later in the year, but the Hokies have plenty of work to do before then. We could still see some other big ACC games. Georgia Tech may go to Clemson in a few weeks 4-1 setting up a big game. The Hokies could still right the ship and re-enter the polls before games with Clemson and Florida State, but this is clearly the ACC’s showcase game of 2012.
This is the ACC’s biggest game since… well let’s see if we can find out with some recent candidates. I went back the last 10 years and this is what I came up with…
October 25, 2007: #2 Boston College (8-0) vs #9 Virginia Tech (6-1) – Boston College 14 Virginia Tech 10
This was a monster Thursday night game, but Virginia Tech was coming in with a 48-7 loss to LSU, and probably wasn’t getting into the national title chase even with a win.
November 5, 2005: #5 Miami (8-1) vs #3 Virginia Tech (8-0) – Miami 27 Virginia Tech 7
Miami had a legitimate shot of the getting to the title game after this win, but couldn’t follow it up. Two weeks after this one they were upset in Miami 14-10 by Georgia Tech.
September 10, 2004: #4 Florida State (0-0) vs #5 Miami (0-0) – Miami 16 Florida State 10
This was supposed to be a perennial matchup of top 10 teams when Miami joined the ACC. Florida State looks ready to claim their customary spot in the 10 in the top 10, but Miami looks years away from seeing the top 10.
October 16, 2004: #7 Florida State (4-1) vs #6 Virginia (5-0) – Florida State 36 Virginia 3
Wow two top 10 matchups in the ACC in a single year!
There might be other top 10 matchups in the ACC in the last decade, but I didn’t find them. In addition this is the ACC’s first in top 10 matchup nearly 5 years and it’s about time.