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Jul
06
2014

The most Pivotal game in 2014 for each ACC Atlantic Division Team.

Winston

We just looked at the most pivotal ACC Coastal Division games. I want to take a look at the most pivotal game for each ACC Atlantic Division team now. Like with the Coastal Division description,  this doesn’t mean the toughest game, or even the biggest game on the schedule. It may not even be traditional rivalry game, but it’s the game that I think is the most critical for that team to have a successful season. The best way to describe this game is it’s a toss-up game, you can’t lose.

Clemson Tigers – South Carolina, November 29, 2014 

Clemson most likely isn’t winning at Florida State, so you can scratch off national title or ACC title aspirations off. Beating Georgia is nice, but Clemson’s been there done that. In the last 3 years, there have been ACC Titles, Orange Bowl wins, top 10 finishes, wins over Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, and Ohio State. What there hasn’t been is a win over in-state rival South Carolina.

I think the Tigers could enter this year’s game with the Gamecocks 7-4, and if they beat South Carolina, the season will be considered a success. With the ACC Title not all that realistic, due to the freight train that is Florida State, the Tigers absolutely must defeat South Carolina this season. It’s that important this year for Clemson.

Florida State – Miami, November 15, 2014 

I really don’t think there is a toss-up game for Florida State this year. They will be considerable favorites over everyone they play. I’m naming Miami, because of the late season November games that could derail a national title run this is the only one that’s a possibility.

In a rivalry game on the road anything is possible. The Seminoles probably can’t afford a November loss. They can lose a game in earlier in the year, but a November loss will really hurt. This is a game the Noles need to win, and with the other November games in Tallahassee, it’s the most dangerous one.

Louisville – Syracuse, October 3, 2014

I really like Miami chances in their season opening game with Miami. With that in mind Louisville could enter a Friday night road game at Syracuse 5-0. Clemson is after that. This is a trap game, and is pivotal to the Cardinals having a big season.

The schedule is pretty favorable overall, but to it make a special opening ACC season where the Cardinals win 9 or 10 games, I think this game in Carrier Dome is a must win.

North Carolina St. – @South Florida, September 13, 2014

Why is a game against a mediocre South Florida so pivotal for the Wolfpack’s season? Well for a rebuilding N.C. State team, the goal should be a bowl game. They need to start the season 4-0 with games against Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, at South Florida, and Presbyterian. Georgia Southern and Old Dominion could be tougher than expected, but they are at home.

South Florida has some talent despite a 2-10 record last year. I can’t see the Wolfpack making a bowl game without this game, which is toughest of the opening month.

Syracuse – Maryland, September 20, 2014

Syracuse has a tough schedule this year. Games with Notre Dame, Louisville, Clemson and Florida State dot the schedule, so the Orange can’t afford to lose winnable home games. The Big 10’s Maryland comes to the Carrier Dome on September 20.

With games against Notre Dame, Louisville, and Florida State following the Maryland matchup, I don’t like Syracuse’s chances of a bowl type season if they can’t beat a fairly mediocre Maryland team on their home field.

Wake Forest – @Utah State, September 13, 2014

When you’re Wake Forest, a program at a cross-roads, you need early season momentum. It’s imperative that Wake Forest start the year 4-0, if they want a reasonable chance of making a bowl game.

Winning at Utah State will be difficult task. The Aggies are coming off a 9-5 season with a bowl win, but it’s a game the Deacs have a shot in. I think they have to find a way to get a win there, because after the opening 4 games, Wake Forest heads to Louisville and Florida State in back to back to weeks… ouch.

Boston College – Pittsburgh, September 5, 2014

I’ll be looking at this Boston College/Pittsburgh with a lot of interest early in the season. I have it as Pittsburgh’s pivotal game of the year as well. The winner of this game stands a great chance at a 5-1 or even a possibly 6-0 start.

That would be huge for either program trying to go from a bowl team to top 25 caliber team. For Boston College with USC visiting the next week, you really don’t want to go into that game with a loss. I have a prediction the winner of the Boston College/Pittsburgh game will have an 8+ win season.

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