NCF Nation: Commonwealth Cup

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Based on impact and interest, here are the 10 best games to watch in the league this year:

1. Clemson vs. Alabama, Saturday, August 30, 8 p.m. (ABC): It's not the end of the season if the Tigers get off to a bad start, but it certainly won't help to fumble the first one away in front of a national audience.

2. Miami at Florida, Sept. 6, 8 p.m. (ESPN): This will be quarterback Robert Marve's debut after serving his one-game suspension, and if Hurricanes fans want to know how far the program has to go before entering any conversations about national titles, this would be a good gauge.

3. Wake Forest at Florida State, Sept. 20: FSU playmaker Preston Parker will return from his two-game suspension in time for the Demon Deacons, who will have had a bye week to prepare for this game. FSU will still have players missing for suspensions, but Wake will be on the road for the second time in three games.

4. Clemson at Wake Forest, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN): This game has upset written all over it. The Demon Deacons have a veteran team with a defense that can score, plus they've got home field advantage. And Jim Grobe, who can X and O with the best of 'em.

5. Maryland at Clemson, Sept. 27: Ralph Friedgen loves playing in Death Valley, and the Terps have a team that could surprise a few people, the Tigers included. The addition of first-year offensive coordinator James Franklin, backup quarterback Josh Portis, and a veteran offensive line make Maryland a dark horse.

6. Florida at Florida State, Nov. 29: The Seminoles should be an entirely different team by this point in the season -- a much better one if they stay healthy. The offensive line will have had ample time to become cohesive.

7. Virginia at Virginia Tech, Nov. 29: The battle for the Commonwealth Cup is more interesting than a drubbing by USC, and this rivalry game gets picked over Florida State/Miami because odds are, the Hokies will be playing for something more than just bragging rights.

8. South Carolina at Clemson, Nov. 29: It's not how you start, it's how you finish, right? Tommy Bowden vs. Steve Spurrier. Only one of them already has an ACC title. This game gets the nod over NC State/South Carolina because it's possible the Tigers will be jockeying for a spot in the BCS standings. Or just bragging rights.

9. Clemson at Florida State, Nov. 8: You can't forget about Bowden Bowl. The 'Noles will have the crowd behind them, and at this point, possibly Christian Ponder leading the way. And, of course, this could be another Tiger trap.

10. North Carolina at Miami, Sept. 27: Can Butch Davis do it again? The Tar Heels beat Miami 33-27 last season, but will have to do it on the road this time if they want to stay in the hunt for the Coastal Division. This is a key game in determining how far both programs have come over the past year.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Trying to find five legitimate, smashmouth, prank-worthy, we-hate-them-games was not easy in this conference.

Here are the ones that seem to get the most ire out of fans, players and coaches. Feel free to tell me what I'm missing. (Duke/Carolina? Please. Does it say March on your calendar?)

1. Florida State vs. Miami: This game doesn't draw the national attention it used to, but it still draws out the best in our Florida friends. The Seminoles have won two of the past three, but Miami leads the series 30-22-0.

 
2. Virginia vs. Virginia Tech: The most exciting matchup between these two schools was last season, when the Coastal Division crown was on the line. The Hokies have won eight of the last nine, and lead the series 47-37-5. They've also got possession of the coveted Commonwealth Cup.

 
3. Miami vs. Virginia Tech: This one was bigger when both schools were in the Big East, but their history is part of what makes it intriguing. They've gone 4-4 against each other this decade, but Miami leads the series 16-9.

 
4. North Carolina vs. NC State: This one is most interesting to people within the Triangle, but it's a rivalry game fair and square, and it's been going on since 1894. UNC leads the series 63-28-6 and has won three of the past four.

 
5. Florida State vs. Clemson: This one obviously became more interesting during Tommy Bowden's tenure, and he has won four of the past five. FSU leads the series 15-6-0.

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