Countdown to kickoff: No. 9

Here’s a hint about No. 9: There are nine more weekdays until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31.

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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. 9 Atlanta: The ACC will take center stage in the city of Atlanta in Week 1, with NC State playing Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff and Clemson facing Auburn the next night in the Georgia Dome. It’s a chance for the ACC to make a statement early on the national level, and for the conference to get off to a good start against its SEC opponents. The ACC hasn't had a winning record against the SEC since it went 5-4 in 2003, and it has lost each of its past three games against the SEC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game (UNC to LSU in 2010, Virginia Tech to Alabama in 2009, and Clemson to Alabama in 2008). The opening weekend in Atlanta will set the tone for the ACC this fall.

No. 10 NC State's secondary

No. 11: SEC rivalry games

No. 12: Virginia Tech's 10-game winning streak

No. 13: Florida State vs. Clemson

No. 14: North Carolina vs. NC State

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