Time flies! Here is a quick look at the matchups in the final week of the regular season. HUGE nonconference opportunities for the ACC await.
No. 12 South Carolina (9-2) at No. 11 Clemson (10-1). Can the Tigers beat their in-state nemesis and keep their hopes alive for a BCS at-large berth? Will the trash talk between Dabo Swinney and Steve Spurrier reach new heights in the lead up to this game? Clemson has won a school-record 13 straight games at the REAL Death Valley but has also lost three straight to Spurrier and the Gamecocks. Many have complained that Clemson has not beaten anybody this year. Well, now is the time.
No. 4 Florida (10-1) at No. 10 Florida State (10-1). They're baaaaack. Yes indeed, this game is always way more meaningful when these two teams are both ranked in the top 10, with national championship stakes on the line. The Gators may be a long shot, but it is not out of the realm of possibility for them to sneak into the title game. All they need is Notre Dame and Alabama to lose. This is the first time since 2000 that both teams are ranked in the top 10 heading into the game. Florida State has won two straight in the series.
Georgia Tech (6-5) at No. 3 Georgia (10-1). No matter what happens in this game, the Jackets are going to Charlotte to take on Florida State in the ACC title game. An upset win over their in-state rivals would obviously be huge for a program that began the year 2-4 and has now won four of its last five games. Plus, the Jackets would eliminate the Bulldogs' chances of playing for a national championship. Georgia has won three straight, and 10 of the last 11, and is a double-digit favorite to win this game. The Jackets' D did a nice job containing Sean Renfree last week; it will have its hands full once again with Aaron Murray.
Virginia (4-7, 2-5) at Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4). Simple storyline in this one: Win, and the Hokies will play in a bowl game for the 20th straight season. Virginia Tech has been a much better team at home this season, so that gives it a huge advantage. So does its history in this series. Virginia Tech has won 12 of the last 13 meetings, including all eight since joining the ACC.
Miami (6-5, 4-3) at Duke (6-5, 3-4). Well, this game went from huge meaning to having the wind let out of its sails real fast Monday morning, after the Hurricanes announced they were self-imposing a postseason ban for the second straight season. Had Miami been eligible, a win would have gotten them into the ACC title game. Instead, they are playing for pride. You could say the same for Duke, which saw its Coastal chances end last week against Georgia Tech. Miami has won seven straight in the series.
Maryland (4-7, 2-5) at North Carolina (7-4, 4-3). Talk about playing out the string. North Carolina players have maintained their goal this year was to win the Coastal Division. If the Tar Heels win, they would at least finish at 5-3 atop the Coastal with Georgia Tech, though they are ineligible for the postseason and would not be officially recognized for their finish. This is the first meeting between the teams since 2008.
Boston College (2-9, 1-6) at NC State (6-5, 3-4). The big question -- will Boston College coach Frank Spaziani have a job after this game ends? The Eagles are trying to avoid their first two-win season since going 2-9 in 1989. They showed a lot of grit in a close loss to Virginia Tech last week. NC State, meanwhile, lost a wild shootout to Clemson. The Eagles need to contain Tobais Palmer, who was a one-man wrecking crew last week.
Vanderbilt (7-4) at Wake Forest (5-6). The Deacs close the season with their second straight nonconference opponent and will face a tough test from a Vanderbilt team that just walloped Tennessee last week -- and walloped this very team a year ago. Wake Forest needs a win to go back to a bowl game.