Countdown to kickoff: No. 2

TWO!!!! Only two more days until NC State kicks off against Tennessee in Atlanta. If you don’t know what this countdown is by now, wake up!

The countdown to kickoff continues with ...

No. 2: A national title contender. This is a reason for ACC fans to be doing David-Wilson-style back-flips. Here’s the thing, though: Is Florida State for real? Really real? Or will No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 25 be a fleeting, forgettable moment? There’s a reason this isn’t No. 1 on the list, and it’s because Florida State still has a lot to prove -- like, you know, winning the ACC for the first time since 2005. OK, OK, enough with the reality check, though. This list is about reasons to be excited for ACC football, and if you look at Florida State’s roster, and you’ve seen these players with your own eyes, you’ll find it hard to see a glaring weakness. The offensive line will be young, but it will also be better. The defensive line will be one of the best in the country, if not the best. Quarterback EJ Manuel could be a Heisman contender, and the depth on the roster could field two starting lineups. This team has the potential to be great, and to represent the ACC well at the BCS level. And after a 2-13 record in BCS bowls, the ACC could certainly use a winner on the national stage. Right now, the Noles are the league’s best hope.

No. 3 The Discover Orange Bowl

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