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Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Countdown to kickoff: No. 9

By Heather Dinich

Here’s a hint about No. 9: There are nine more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31.

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We’re counting down with 25 reasons to be excited about ACC football this year. This list features coaches, players, games, themes, position groups -- 25 things for you to look forward to.

The countdown to kickoff continues with …

No. 9 Atlanta: The ACC will take center stage in the city of Atlanta in Week 1, with NC State playing Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff and Clemson facing Auburn the next night in the Georgia Dome. It’s a chance for the ACC to make a statement early on the national level, and for the conference to get off to a good start against its SEC opponents. The ACC hasn't had a winning record against the SEC since it went 5-4 in 2003, and it has lost each of its past three games against the SEC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game (UNC to LSU in 2010, Virginia Tech to Alabama in 2009, and Clemson to Alabama in 2008). The opening weekend in Atlanta will set the tone for the ACC this fall.

No. 10 NC State's secondary
No. 11: SEC rivalry games
No. 12: Virginia Tech's 10-game winning streak
No. 13: Florida State vs. Clemson
No. 14: North Carolina vs. NC State
No. 15: Unofficial state championships
No. 16: Talented true freshmen
No. 17: Unpredictability
No. 18: ACC vs. Notre Dame
No. 19: Clemson's offensive playmakers
No. 20: The ACC's record chasers
No. 21: Larry Fedora
No. 22: One of the nation's top rushing offenses
No. 23: The last season before expansion
No. 24: Brent Venables
No. 25: A fresh start at Maryland