It is time to completely turn our attention to football. What are the top non-conference games in the ACC this year? This is how we rank them here.
1. Ohio State vs Virginia Tech – September 6
The more I think about this game the more I think Virginia Tech has a shot. Ohio State is playing the best defense it will have seen since the last time it played Virginia Tech when it lost to the Hokies by 2 TDs at home. This game will be on Labor Day, and will have the nation’s attention. Ohio State will come in as the number 1 team in the nation. Lane Stadium will be rocking for this one.
2. Notre Dame vs Clemson – October 3rd
They’ve been talking about this in Death Valley for 2 years. Single game tickets are already sold out for it. Think what you will about Notre Dame’s partial schedule with the ACC, but this game probably doesn’t happen with out. This game could feature 2 top 10 teams, and could college football playoff implications.
3. Georgia vs Georgia Tech – November 28
The last 2 years this game has went to overtime, and Georgia Tech’s win over UGA helped put the stamp on the ACC’s 4-0 record against the SEC during rivalry weekend. Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas are two of the most dynamic players in the country. Georgia Tech will try to beat Georgia in Atlanta for the first time since 1998.
4. Auburn vs Louisville – September 5
If Louisville wants to make an early statement, they will have their chance against the Auburn Tigers in this season opening game. Two of the better of offensive minds in the country coach these two these teams, Bobby Petrino at Louisville and Guz Malzahn at Auburn.
5. Georgia Tech vs Notre Dame – September 19
There’s a good chance both teams will be ranked in the top 20 when they play this game. The last time Georgia Tech went the Notre Dame the Yellow Jackets won 33-3 in 2007. Notre Dame may have one of the better offensive lines in the country. That will be a good test for what should be an improved Georgia Tech defense.
6. Nebraska vs Miami – September 19
Put this game in the 1980s or early 90s, and this may have been one of the games of the year in the country. It is still quality matchup, for two former national powers that have seen better days. This is a game Miami needs. This game will could define the path their season takes.
7. Florida State vs Florida – November 28
Florida State is one of the nation’s elite program, but Florida has slipped to being mid-tier SEC team. This is still a marquee non-conference and after losing two straight and four of the last five to the Seminoles the Gators will be desperate for a win.
8. Clemson vs South Carolina – November 28
ClemsonSouth Carolina is always an intriguing game. Last season the Tigers beat South Carolina with QB Deshaun Watson who had a torn ACL. It stopped a 5 game losing streak to the Gamecocks. This time the game is in Columbia, and the Gamecocks will be looking for revenge.
9. North Carolina vs South Carolina – September 3
North Carolina needs something positive to happen to their program in the worst way. South Carolina will not be great, and this is a winnable game for the Tar Heels. If UNC can’t win then the season could spin out of control for the Tar Heels and their coach Larry Fedora.
10. Louisville vs Kentucky – November 28
The best thing thing that ever happened to the LouisvilleKentucky rivalry was becoming part of the ACCSEC year ending rivalry week. That took this game from a nice non-conference matchup to one that is part of something bigger nationally. As all the SEC teams in ACCSEC rivalry week will be doing, Kentucky will be looking to avenge last season’s loss to their ACC in-state rival.