Countdown to kickoff: No. 3

THREE!!! Only three more days until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta on Friday. 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. 3 The Discover Orange Bowl: No, there is no news yet on a future partner for the ACC in the Orange Bowl. I checked this week, and it’s status quo from what ACC commissioner John Swofford said in late July, that an announcement would be coming sooner than later. Regardless, this remains a terrific BCS bowl and opportunity for the ACC, and it’s only going to get better. The ACC and the Orange Bowl Committee last month announced a 12-year agreement that will annually feature the ACC champion at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day, beginning after the 2014 season. The ACC champ will continue to have a home in the new playoff system, meaning continued national exposure and opportunities to raise the league’s profile.

No. 4: Labor Day

No. 5: The winningest active coach in college football

No. 6: The ACC championship game

No. 7: Florida State's defensive line

No. 8: Thursday night games

No. 9: Atlanta

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