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Monday, November 12, 2012
ACC title game could be interesting ... really

By Heather Dinich

Dear ACC:

It’s time to call an audible.

You have the power, now use it. Throw a flag on your own ACC championship game. Throw caution to the wind. Throw the Coastal Division out the back door.

Give us No. 10 Florida State vs. No. 11 Clemson playing for it all. Again.

Pretty please?

OK, OK, so I’m half-joking -- especially knowing the ACC can’t afford for either of those teams to lose again if it wants two BCS bowl bids for the second straight year. But those tickets would sell faster than the SI Swimsuit issue. You really want a championship game featuring the Coastal Division’s top eligible five-loss team? Nah, didn’t think so. Just about every scenario -- with the exception of Florida State-Georgia Tech -- will be a rematch of a game ACC fans already changed the channel on this season.

Give them a rematch that won’t make their eyes bleed. The FSU-Clemson game on Sept. 22 stands as the best game of the ACC’s regular season. Quarterback EJ Manuel delivered a Heisman-worthy performance in the 49-37 win. Mark Stoops’ defense made impressive adjustments at the half. Both teams combined for 1,093 yards of total offense. ESPN’s "College GameDay" crew was there and the ACC delivered on the national stage. Florida State and Duke? Wouldn’t even find the stage.

With Clemson playing as well as it has lately, many fans have wondered who would win that game if they played a second time.

Let’s find out.

Look at the alternatives:

Florida State vs. Duke: The Noles pounded Duke 48-7 on Oct. 27. Granted, the Blue Devils would be a warm and fuzzy feel-good story in the days leading up to the title game, but odds are the only tingling sensation felt after the game would be the numbness from getting drilled so many times by a player nicknamed “Tank.”

Florida State vs. Virginia Tech: FSU snuck away with a 28-22 win in Lane Stadium on a Thursday night. This might actually be the most entertaining matchup possibility, but the Hokies would have needed two major NCAA scandals in order to “earn” their way to Charlotte.

Florida State vs. Miami: FSU beat the Canes 33-20 in Sun Life Stadium on Oct. 20. Miami isn’t even bowl eligible yet, making the Canes ineligible to declare themselves ineligible. Ahh, the Coastal Division.

Florida State vs. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets lost to Middle Tennessee. They fired their defensive coordinator during the bye week. And then they put up an ACC-record 68 points against North Carolina. This one has some potential. Right? Right??

Here’s the only other alternative: Give Florida State the trophy now. Just hand it over so nobody gets hurt before the Discover Orange Bowl. God forbid FSU loses to Louisville (or Maryland this weekend). The Seminoles have already beaten half the Coastal Division and all of its frontrunners -- rather convincingly. Game over.

Unless ...

Make Clemson an honorary member of the Coastal Division. Just for a week. How hard can realignment be?