ACC: 2012 countdown

Countdown to kickoff: No. 1

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
2:00
PM ET
Finally! No more waiting. The 2012 season is officially here in the ACC, as NC State will kick off against Tennessee tonight in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta. This series ends a countdown of the top 25 reasons to be excited about ACC football this year. There is no bigger reason than …

No. 1: Quarterbacks. What was once a weakness throughout the ACC should be a position of strength in 2012. There are legitimate Heisman contenders, and players who could collectively or individually raise the profile of the entire league. For the first time in conference history, the ACC had five quarterbacks top 3,000 passing yards in 2011, and all five return -- also a new high for the conference. A total of six quarterbacks return who have thrown for 3,000 or more yards in a season as Duke’s Sean Renfree threw for 3,131 yards as a sophomore in 2010.

Only Miami, which loses starter Jacory Harris, and Maryland, which lost C.J. Brown to a season-ending injury in pre-season camp, does not return its starting signal-caller. But the Hurricanes will start junior Stephen Morris (Miami) who has started five games (4 in 2010, one in 2011).

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd played his way into the Heisman conversation a year ago after the Tigers’ 8-0 start, and he could do it again, but so could Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas and Florida State’s EJ Manuel. Don’t forget about the Tobacco Road duo of UNC starter Bryn Renner and NC State’s Mike Glennon. Wake's Tanner Price, Virginia's Michael Rocco, BC's Chase Rettig and Georgia Tech's Tevin Washington also all return. There is a wealth of talent at the position and it should be one of the best seasons in recent memory for quarterback play in the ACC.

No. 2: A national title contender
No. 3 The Discover Orange Bowl
No. 4: Labor Day
No. 5: The winningest active coach in college football
No. 6: The ACC championship game
No. 7: Florida State's defensive line
No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
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

Countdown to kickoff: No. 2

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
11:00
AM ET
TWO!!!! Only two more days until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta. If you don’t know what this countdown is by now, wake up!

The countdown to kickoff continues with ...

No. 2: A national title contender. This is a reason for ACC fans to be doing David-Wilson-style back-flips. Here’s the thing, though: Is Florida State for real? Really real? Or will No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 25 be a fleeting, forgettable moment? There’s a reason this isn’t No. 1 on the list, and it’s because Florida State still has a lot to prove -- like, you know, winning the ACC for the first time since 2005. OK, OK, enough with the reality check, though. This list is about reasons to be excited for ACC football, and if you look at Florida State’s roster, and you’ve seen these players with your own eyes, you’ll find it hard to see a glaring weakness. The offensive line will be young, but it will also be better. The defensive line will be one of the best in the country, if not the best. Quarterback EJ Manuel could be a Heisman contender, and the depth on the roster could field two starting lineups. This team has the potential to be great, and to represent the ACC well at the BCS level. And after a 2-13 record in BCS bowls, the ACC could certainly use a winner on the national stage. Right now, the Noles are the league’s best hope.

No. 3 The Discover Orange Bowl
No. 4: Labor Day
No. 5: The winningest active coach in college football
No. 6: The ACC championship game
No. 7: Florida State's defensive line
No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
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

 

Countdown to kickoff: No. 3

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
1:00
PM ET
THREE!!! Only three more days until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday. 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. 3 The Discover Orange Bowl: No, there is no news yet on a future partner for the ACC in the Orange Bowl. I checked this week, and it’s status quo from what ACC commissioner John Swofford said in late July, that an announcement would be coming sooner than later. Regardless, this remains a terrific BCS bowl and opportunity for the ACC, and it’s only going to get better. The ACC and the Orange Bowl Committee last month announced a 12-year agreement that will annually feature the ACC champion at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day, beginning after the 2014 season. The ACC champ will continue to have a home in the new playoff system, meaning continued national exposure and opportunities to raise the league’s profile.

No. 4: Labor Day
No. 5: The winningest active coach in college football
No. 6: The ACC championship game
No. 7: Florida State's defensive line
No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
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

 

Countdown to kickoff: No. 4

August, 28, 2012
8/28/12
1:00
PM ET
There are four more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday. 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. 4 Labor Day. Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech is one of the must-see games on the ACC schedule, and it will feature the two frontrunners in the Coastal Division in a matchup that has historically determined the division winner. The fact that it’s a night game in Blacksburg adds to the excitement of it, as Lane Stadium is arguably the best gameday atmosphere in the ACC. This is the game that has been talked about and previewed all summer. The Hokies have had ample time to prepare for Paul Johnson’s spread option offense, but Johnson will tell you it’s not much of an advantage if his team has had the same amount of time to prepare for Virginia Tech. There’s been an added sense of urgency for both programs this summer, knowing a lead in the division standings will be at stake in Week 1.

No. 5: The winningest active coach in college football
No. 6: The ACC championship game
No. 7: Florida State's defensive line
No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
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

 

 

Countdown to kickoff: No. 5

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
4:00
PM ET
There are five more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 5: The winningest active coach in college football. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer enters his 26th season in Blacksburg as the winningest active coach in the FBS with 251 career wins. That’s something worth bragging about. Not only has Beamer transformed his alma mater into one of the nation’s top programs, he is also one of the good guys in the business. Beamer has led the Hokies to 19 consecutive bowl appearances, four ACC titles and five Coastal Division crowns. Since the beginning of the 1995 season, no team in the FBS has had more wins than Virginia Tech, and the Hokies have finished in the top 20 in 16 of the past 20 seasons, including four top-10 finishes during the last eight years. The Hokies have plenty of questions heading into their season opener against Georgia Tech, but one of the biggest reasons expectations remain high is Beamer and his staff’s ability to reload and win consistently.

No. 6: The ACC championship game
No. 7: Florida State's defensive line
No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
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

Countdown to kickoff: No. 6

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
5:00
PM ET
There are six more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 6: The ACC championship game. This game has improved leaps and bounds since moving to Charlotte, and while it is still a matchup-sensitive game, all signs point toward another entertaining matchup in the third season. Last season’s game had a record crowd of 73, 675 fans, and this year’s will again be a prime-time showcase at either 7:45 p.m. on ESPN or 8 p.m. on ABC on Dec. 1. Florida State is looking to win its first ACC title since 2005, Clemson is looking to defend last season’s title, and Virginia Tech? Well, the Hokies have become regulars. If the preseason predictions come true, the Noles and Hokies will be meeting twice this season. See you in Charlotte.

No. 7: Florida State's defensive line

No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
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

 

Countdown to kickoff: No. 7

August, 23, 2012
8/23/12
11:00
AM ET
There are seven more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 7 Florida State’s defensive line: This group might be No. 7 on this list, but it could be No. 1 in the country. The Seminoles have closed the gap with the elite defensive lines in the country and it is on par if not better than the likes of LSU and Alabama. It’s a championship-caliber group deep enough that the backups could be starters for other teams. The interior line can rotate in fresh faces without a drop-off, and there are plenty of pass-rushing ends who can change the game. A pair of seniors anchors the middle in tackles Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud, and senior Brandon Jenkins and junior Bjoern Werner are equally effective from the end positions. This is a group of game-changers that should remind us of FSU teams of the past.

No. 8: Thursday night games
No. 9: Atlanta
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

Countdown to kickoff: No. 8

August, 22, 2012
8/22/12
2:00
PM ET
There are eight more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 8 Thursday night games: It’s possible no game will be bigger this season than Florida State’s Nov. 8 trip to Blacksburg in a meeting that could feature the two division winners. It’s the second of back-to-back Thursday night games for the Hokies, as Virginia Tech will also travel to Miami on November 1. Don’t forget about a rare Thursday night game in Winston-Salem on Oct. 25, when Wake Forest hosts Clemson. Remember what happened last year? The Deacs came within a field goal of winning the Atlantic Division. Last year's game between the Hokies and Canes was one of the most entertaining of the season. Virginia Tech will play on a Monday night and two Thursday nights this year, and all three league games will help determine the Hokies’ fate in the ACC race and the national picture this year.

No. 9: Atlanta
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

 

Countdown to kickoff: No. 9

August, 21, 2012
8/21/12
11:00
AM ET
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.

Did you get it?

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

Countdown to kickoff: No. 10

August, 20, 2012
8/20/12
4:30
PM ET
There are 10 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 10: NC State’s secondary. This group has gone from a weak link on the team to arguably the best in the ACC. Three years ago, NC State’s secondary allowed opponents to complete 62.6 percent of their passes and the unit combined for only eight interceptions. Last year, Brandan Bishop, Earl Wolff, C.J. Wilson and David Amerson grabbed a school-record 27 interceptions and held opponents to a 57.5 completion percentage. All four starters return this year, a combined 124 career starts. Amerson is an All-American who led the nation in picks last year with 13. Players who accounted for 23 of the team’s 27 interceptions last year are returning.

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

 

Countdown to kickoff: No. 11

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
1:00
PM ET
There are 11 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. We’re counting down with 25 reasons to be excited about ACC football this year. This list features coaches, players, games, themes, position groups &#151 25 things for you to look forward to.

The countdown to kickoff continues with ...

No. 11: SEC rivalry games. Florida State vs. Florida. Georgia Tech vs. Georgia. Clemson vs. South Carolina. Heck, you can even throw Wake-Vandy in there. As painful as some of the outcomes have been in recent years for ACC fans, nothing beats a good rivalry game. In-state bragging rights will be on the line, and so will the ACC’s reputation. The ACC hasn’t had a winning record against the SEC since it went 5-4 in 2003. Last fall, the ACC was 2-5 against the SEC. Since 1996, the ACC has only had a winning record against the SEC four times (1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003). In order for the ACC to boost its image, that trend must change. Regardless of the ACC’s history against the SEC, though, these games are always worth watching.

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

 

Countdown to kickoff: No. 12

August, 16, 2012
8/16/12
4:00
PM ET
And suddenly No. 25 doesn't seem like such a good idea anymore ...

There are 12 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 12: Virginia Tech’s 10-game winning streak. Virginia Tech is the nation’s active leader in consecutive 10-win seasons with eight. Since the start of the 2004 season, the Hokies have an overall record of 84-24, including a 53-11 mark against ACC teams in regular-season play. Can the Hokies keep that streak alive, despite having to replace 11 starters, including eight on offense? Virginia Tech is chasing Florida State’s record of 14 straight seasons with 10 or more wins. Virginia Tech’s streak of eight straight seasons is tied with Miami for the third-best such streak in NCAA history. Florida State (14) and Texas (9) are the leaders.

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

Countdown to kickoff: No. 13

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
10:00
AM ET
There are 13 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 13: Florida State vs. Clemson: If there’s one game in the Atlantic Division you don’t want to miss, this is it. Florida State was picked by the media to finish first in the division this year, and the defending ACC champs were second. This Sept. 22 game in Tallahassee could determine the winner, but it will also reveal which program is a step closer to representing the league as a national title contender. Florida State has been dubbed the league’s best hope, but Clemson has also lured in back-to-back top-10 recruiting classes and has played for the ACC title twice since Dabo Swinney was hired. If the talent in those recruiting classes pans out and is developed, both programs should have a legitimate shot to win it all. The only problem is that they’re in each other’s way.

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

Countdown to kickoff: No. 14

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
2:00
PM ET
There are 14 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 14: North Carolina-NC State. Noticing a theme here today? One of the better games in the conference this year should be the in-state rivalry game between the Tar Heels and the Pack. NC State coach Tom O’Brien has won each of the past five meetings, and this game has subplots all over the place. First, you have two competitive, experienced quarterbacks who are good friends and grew up playing against each other in UNC’s Bryn Renner and NC State’s Mike Glennon. You have UNC’s spread offense against one of the best groups of defensive backs in the country. You have a first-year ACC coach in Larry Fedora against the veteran, O’Brien. Plus, you have the comments former UNC interim coach Everett Withers made last year about UNC being the state’s “flagship” university and having a higher graduation rate than NC State. O’Brien threw a zinger back and got the final word with a 13-0 win. Let the drama continue in Chapel Hill on Oct. 27.

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

Countdown to kickoff: No. 15

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
1:00
PM ET
There are 15 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. 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. 15: Unofficial state championships. These are always fun to keep track of, and the states of Florida, North Carolina and Virginia are up for grabs again. Unofficially, Virginia Tech has owned both Virginia AND North Carolina in recent years. The Hokies haven’t lost to rival Virginia in the Commonwealth Cup game since 2003. Florida State has regained control of Florida, beating rivals Florida and Miami in each of the past two seasons under coach Jimbo Fisher. NC State has beaten rival North Carolina in each of the past five seasons. Georgia Tech and Clemson will also battle their respective in-state SEC rivals for territorial bragging rights.

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

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