Countdown to kickoff: No. 14

There are 14 more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31. We’re counting down with 25 reasons to be excited about ACC football this year. This list features coaches, players, games, themes, position groups -- 25 things for you to look forward to.

The countdown to kickoff continues with …

No. 14: North Carolina-NC State. Noticing a theme here today? One of the better games in the conference this year should be the in-state rivalry game between the Tar Heels and the Pack. NC State coach Tom O’Brien has won each of the past five meetings, and this game has subplots all over the place. First, you have two competitive, experienced quarterbacks who are good friends and grew up playing against each other in UNC’s Bryn Renner and NC State’s Mike Glennon. You have UNC’s spread offense against one of the best groups of defensive backs in the country. You have a first-year ACC coach in Larry Fedora against the veteran, O’Brien. Plus, you have the comments former UNC interim coach Everett Withers made last year about UNC being the state’s “flagship” university and having a higher graduation rate than NC State. O’Brien threw a zinger back and got the final word with a 13-0 win. Let the drama continue in Chapel Hill on Oct. 27.

No. 15: Unofficial state championships

No. 16: Talented true freshmen

No. 17: Unpredictability

No. 18: ACC vs. Notre Dame

No. 19: Clemson's offensive playmakers

No. 20: The ACC's record chasers

No. 21: Larry Fedora

No. 22: One of the nation's top rushing offenses

No. 23: The last season before expansion

No. 24: Brent Venables

No. 25: A fresh start at Maryland