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Friday, June 18, 2010
ACC's 'untouchable rivalries'

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Drum roll please ...

To be honest, this got kind of tricky after the first four. Thanks for all of your nominations. Here's my version of the ACC's best rivalries:

1. Florida State vs. Miami: Wide right, wide left, any which way you kick it, this rivalry is tops in the ACC. Last year’s lead changed seven times. Miami leads the all-time series between the two schools, 31-23. Since Miami joined the ACC in 2004, the Canes have won three of six matchups against FSU with the Canes winning in 2004, 2007 and 2009. The series between the two programs dates back to 1951.

2. Clemson vs. Georgia Tech: This one only recently passed the Commonwealth Cup game because of the closeness of the games. It has to be one of the most competitive series in the league, as 12 of the past 15 games have been decided by five points or fewer, including both games last season. There was a six-game streak from 1996-2001 in which every game was decided by exactly three points.

3. Virginia vs. Virginia Tech: This one has lost some luster since the Hokies have won 10 of the past 11, and most of them have been pretty convincing wins. The history here is hard to beat, though, as the first game was played in 1895. Virginia Tech holds a 46-37-5 edge in the series.

4. NC State vs. UNC: It’s the fourth-most played series in ACC history. Carolina leads the all-time series, 63-29-6. Carolina is 0-3 in the last three seasons. The series is the fourth-most played in ACC history. Last year was the first time the rivalry game was the season finale for both teams since 1995 and only the third time ever. UNC’s 28-27 loss to NC State was the closest margin of victory in the series since NC State won 35-34 in Chapel Hill in 1986.

5. UNC vs. Virginia: The series with Virginia dates back to 1892 and is the South's oldest rivalry and the fifth-longest running series in FBS history. Carolina holds a narrow edge, 57-53-4. But the Tar Heels have dropped four straight games to the Cavaliers and have not won since a 7-5 victory in 2005 in Kenan Stadium. Carolina has lost 10 of the past 12 meetings.

6. Virginia Tech vs. Miami: Another former Big East matchup, this one now a factor in the Coastal Division race. Miami leads the all-time series 17-10, with the series even at 5-5 since the turn of the century. The two programs have played 18 straight seasons.

7. Maryland vs. NC State: No, really. This has been one of the more competitive series in the ACC, with eight games being decided by an average of 5.2 points since 2000. (That's with the exception of the 2007 and 2009 games). They’ve played 66 times, including every season since 1956, and the series is now dead even at 31-31-4. Nick Novak hit game-winning field goals for the Terps in the final seconds in 2002 and 2003, and Maryland scored the game-winning touchdown in 2001 with 41 seconds left. Quarterback Shaun Hill rallied the Terps from a 15-point halftime deficit in the 2000 game for a 35-28 double-overtime victory.

8. Boston College vs. Virginia Tech: This transplanted Big East rivalry has pitted the two programs against each other twice in the ACC championship game, and produced one of the most thrilling comebacks in BC history. Matt Ryan started it all in 2007 when he bailed the Eagles out of a 10-0 hole with 4:11 left in the game.

9. Duke vs. UNC: I know, it’s not basketball season, but the in-state rivalry carries over. North Carolina leads the all-time series between the two schools 56-36-4. The Tar Heels have won the last six games in the series and 19 of the last 20 since 1990.

10. Maryland vs. Virginia: The border rival was played for the 74th time last year between the Terps and Cavaliers, the most between Maryland and any other school in the Terps' 116-year football history. The schools have met every season since 1957. Maryland leads the all-time series, which began in 1919, by a 41-31-2 margin.