The conference has had many early surprises, and looks to be much stronger from top to bottom in 2013. Last week’s major disappointment was the embarrassing out of conference loss North Carolina had against East Carolina. Once thought to be a legitimate contender for the ACC title, the Tar Heels are off to a brutal 1-3 start.
Here’s a look at the top storylines for the ACC heading into Week 6.
1.) How will Syracuse fare in their first ever ACC game?
The Syracuse Orange joined the ACC for 2013, but have yet to play their first conference game. That will change this weekend when the No. 3 Clemson Tigers head north.
The Orange got off to a tough start, but have rallied to win two in a row. However, they haven’t faced anything like they’ll face on Saturday when Tajh Boyd and the Tigers take the field. The high-powered Clemson offense is clicking on all cylinders, and even though the Carrier Dome will be rocking, it’s unlikely to make a difference.
Syracuse might hang around for a bit, but ultimately, Clemson should win handily.
2.) Can Florida State avoid the proverbial trap game against Maryland?
Most ACC fans are looking forward to what might be the premier game in the conference this year, when FSU heads to Clemson on Oct. 19. However, the Seminoles can’t overlook a vastly improved Maryland Terrapins team. The Terps haven’t played a very challenging schedule, but they still come to Tallahassee with a 4-0 record.
If the Seminoles get caught looking ahead, they could have one of their all too familiar slip ups. However, with a bye week next week, Florida State will likely have all of their attention on the Terps on Saturday.
3.) Can Miami get off to on the right foot to start their ACC schedule?
The Miami Hurricanes were the popular choice to win the Coastal Division and play in the ACC Championship game in 2013. They have looked much improved on defense this season, and as a result, are off to a 4-0 start.
Saturday will be their first ACC game of the year when they host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Miami. The Canes are loaded with offensive weapons, and can strike from anywhere on the field. Georgia Tech played in the ACC title game last year, and were playing well until they lost on Thursday night to Virginia Tech.
Once again, if Miami can slow down Paul Johnson‘s triple option attack, the Hurricanes should have no problem with Georgia Tech. Although it’s only one win, a victory would go a long way to building momentum and sending a message to the rest of the Coastal division.
B.L. is an ACC football writer for Rant Sports who can be followed on Twitter @coachlip or on Google