Big finish or big flop for ACC?

This is it, the final opportunity for the ACC to make a statement in its regular-season nonconference games. It’s a big weekend for a big finish: Florida at Florida State, South Carolina at Clemson and Georgia Tech at Georgia headline the rivalry games this week. Wake Forest also travels to Vanderbilt, Miami hosts South Florida and Boston College will play at Syracuse.

The ACC enters the final week of the regular season 0-3 against the SEC this year with losses to LSU, Alabama and Auburn. Not exactly bad losses, but with Florida and Georgia struggling, it’s a good opportunity to try to even the score.

The ACC is 27-15 against nonconference opponents this year, but is 0-8 against the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10. The lone wins against a fellow BCS conference came thanks to a 3-1 record against the lowly Big East. (And of course, there was that other, um, FCS loss). If the ACC wants national respect, it has to earn it, and that’s not the way to do it.

Clemson has home-field advantage in a series it has controlled over the past decade, but South Carolina is the best team in the SEC East and ranked No. 18 in the BCS standings. Georgia Tech hasn’t been a great team this year, and will have to play better than it did against Duke to stand a chance at Georgia. Florida State is ranked, Florida is not. Will the teams play that way? Wake Forest is trying to snap a nine-game losing streak, but Vanderbilt (2-9) is just as bad.

The SEC isn’t invincible, but the ACC has the uncanny ability to make it look that way. Here’s one more chance to change that perception.