5 ACC Football Games In Week 1 To Get Excited About
5 ACC Football Games In Week 1 To Get Excited About
The ACC enters a new era in 2013, as they welcome the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers as new members of what is now a 14-team conference. While the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as well as the partial membership of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, will become a lot more exciting during the college basketball season, the ACC does hope to further its reputation as a college football conference as well.
When the college football season finally gets here in a little over a month, the ACC will be kicking it off with a bang. The week one football schedule for the ACC certainly looks like the schedule of a big-time conference. There are seven games that will be seen by a national television audience, as well as three games that will match up a team from the ACC against a team from the SEC, giving the ACC the chance to test itself early against the best conference in the country. The ACC will be seen in primetime on Thursday, Saturday and Monday night the opening weekend of the season, giving the conference plenty of exposure, and a chance to prove how good it is for all to see.
The opening week schedule is so good that an interesting matchup between the North Carolina State Wolfpack and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs isn’t on our list of the top five ACC games of the weekend, nor is a game between the Virginia Cavaliers and the BYU Cougars. Those games just missed the cut, so check out the five games involving ACC teams that every college football fan should be excited to see the first week of the season.
North Carolina at South Carolina
Not only is this a border war, but this is the first of three ACC vs. SEC games of the weekend, and the game that will kickoff the college football season on Thursday night. Expectations are high for both schools, as the Tar Heels expect to compete for a birth in the ACC Title Game while the Gamecocks hope to get back to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2010 and possibly compete for a national championship. This will be a huge test for North Carolina, especially on the road, and an early litmus test for both them and the entire ACC.
Florida State at Pittsburgh
This is the Monday night game that will conclude the first weekend of the season and officially begin conference play for the ACC. The Panthers get the privilege of playing their ACC opener at home, but they get thrown right into the fire by having to play Florida State. Pittsburgh did take the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to three overtimes last year, so they’re capable of putting up a fight and making things difficult for the Seminoles, who should be heavily favored and have high expectations for the 2013 season.
Syracuse vs. Penn State
The Orange will make their first appearance as a member of the ACC in Met Life Stadium against Penn State. Syracuse lost a lot of key pieces, including their head coach, offensive coordinator and starting quarterback from a team that won six of their final seven games last season, so it’s tough to gauge whether they’ll take a step back this year or continue to move the program forward in their first season in a new conference. Meanwhile, Penn State is expected to take a step back at some point as a result of NCAA sanctions, but whether that step back will come this year or next year is tough to know. We won’t know what to expect from either of these teams until we see them play, and no matter what conference they’re in, there’s still a rich history between them, which makes this matchup intriguing. Factor in that this game is being played in an NFL stadium and with a national TV audience watching, and this is a must-watch game.
Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
After a down season last year, the Hokies will look to bounce back in 2013, but they’ll have their hands full in their season opener with the two-time defending national champions in what should be a pro-Alabama crowd in Atlanta. This will be the second chance during the season’s opening weekend that an ACC team will have a chance to go up against a team from the SEC, but once again the ACC team will be a considerable underdog. It might be asking a bit much for Virginia Tech to pull off the upset, but you’d expect them to be competitive and put up more of a fight against the Crimson Tide than the Michigan Wolverines did in the season opener last year.
Georgia at Clemson
This is without a doubt the best game of the first weekend in all of college football, and possibly the best chance for an ACC team to take down an SEC team. Both teams have national championship aspirations and the winner will have a leg up on the rest of the country in terms of getting there. Both teams are loaded with talent, starting with quarterbacks Aaron Murray of Georgia and Tajh Boyd of Clemson. This game should be nothing short of epic, and is the highlight of the opening weekend of the 2013 college football season.
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