And it all comes down to this….
The final two weeks of the ACC Football slate for 2012.
And what a season it has been…
Especially for the North Carolina State Wolfpack. They have ridden the arm of a potential Heisman Trophy run by senior QB Matt Glennon to its best record ever and highest ranking ever in the history of the program.
The Wolfpack have not stood atop the ACC since 1973 and its best recent finish was 2nd overall in 1994. Its highest final national ranking was 9th in 1974.
To say a lot is at stake for the folks in Raleigh, North Carolina, is an understatement and that is why NC State’s final road battle against the Clemson Tigers is game No. 9 in the Top 12 Must See ACC Football Games of 2012.
The Wolfpack, behind Glennon and a solid defense, have tamed the Tennessee Volunteers to open the season, upset the preseason conference darling in the Florida State Seminoles and survived against the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Virginia Cavaliers to reach this contest a perfect 10-0 on the season and 8-0 in the Atlantic Division.
An improbable season to say the least.
And standing in the way of perfection and a shot at the ACC Championship Game is the rival Tigers on the road in Death Valley.
Clemson has owned the Wolfpack taking 51 victories against just 27 losses in the all-time series that started back in 1899. Since 2000, the Tigers have won 9 of 12 including 7 in a row from 2004 until 2010. The Wolfpack ended the streak with a big win at home in 2011, 37-13.
The home crowd and Clemson will be ready for the task as the Tigers should be 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the Atlantic as they head into this their final conference game of 2012.
With a win, the Tigers could still find a way past NC State and Florida State into the title game in Charlotte, North Carolina.
So the stage is set for another huge national game of interest for the ACC.
At stake is a perfect season, a Heisman Trophy, a trip to the ACC Championship and possibly a BCS or National Title birth.
NC State will be ready for the challenge, but a talented Clemson squad will play spoiler once again 24-23.
The ACC will prove it’s back to play on the big stage, but will have to wait another year to showcase a team for the BCS National Championship.
NEXT: The Final Weekend and SEC Show Down, No. 10, No. 11, No. 12 in The Top 12 Must See ACC Games of 2012 – Florida Gators at Florida State; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Georgia Bulldogs; South Carolina Gamecocks at Clemson.
M. Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years experience in sports broadcasting, journalism and college athletics and currently covers ACC Football for Rant Sports.
Follow him @woodysmalls