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Wednesday, June 4, 2014
ACC's Ultimate Road Trip: Week 12

By David M. Hale

We’re nearing the finish line, but there are still a bunch of great games left on the docket.

Week 12 schedule

Saturday, Nov. 15
Our pick: Florida State at Miami

Why you should come along: Sure, a bit of the luster has worn off this rivalry in recent years, but last November's top-10 matchup between the Seminoles and Hurricanes -- both undefeated at the time -- was a perfect reminder of what this game can be when both teams are playing well. The teams traded punches on the scoreboard early, then traded a few more late in the game when shoving matches broke out between the longtime rivals. Jameis Winston had another strong performance for the Seminoles, while Duke Johnson provided the Hurricanes with a lifeline until he went down with an injury that ended his season. "College GameDay" was on campus, and the matchup ended with controversy as a Miami radio broadcaster put out a bounty on Florida State players. In other words, it was just like old times.

As we wind down the 2014 schedule in mid-November, it might be a lot to ask for this year's showdown to be another top-10 matchup of undefeated teams, but it should still be plenty of fun.

Jimbo Fisher has yet to lose to Miami during his four-year tenure, and the defending national champs certainly aren’t interested in ending that streak. Miami, on the other hand, made some major strides toward regaining its national prominence last season, but Al Golden & Co. know they’ll need to knock off the Seminoles before they can make a strong case to be taken seriously as a playoff contender.

But the beauty of this game is that none of the outside circumstances really matter that much once the action kicks off. Even if FSU stumbles in one of its early showdowns against Clemson, Notre Dame or Louisville, or even if Miami regresses from last season's success, the bottom line is that it will be two longtime rivals, two teams that flat-out dislike one another, battling it out as if a national title is on the line. And who knows -- maybe for the second consecutive year, it will be.

Besides, who's going to argue with a mid-November weekend in South Beach?