The 2014 college football season starts in 13 days. We're getting you ready by counting down the ACC's 10 biggest battles with playoff implications. Nos. 5 and 6 are up today.
The matchup: No. 1 Florida State at Louisville
Date/location: Thurs., Oct. 30 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Why it matters: Florida State trades Maryland on the schedule for Louisville, a team that has won 23 games over the last two seasons. It is probably safe to assume that Florida State will not beat the Cards 63-0, the way they did Maryland a season ago. Despite losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and some major playmakers on defense, Louisville remains one of the toughest teams Florida State will face this season. Bobby Petrino remains an elite coach, and Louisville should be one of the fastest teams in the ACC. DeVante Parker and the receiver group will present a challenge to defend, along with the high-tempo offense the Cardinals will run. Plus, the game is on a Thursday night, with the national spotlight squarely in Louisville. Already this offseason we have been reminded what happened the last time Florida State visited Louisville on a Thursday night. The Cards upset No. 4 Florida State 26-20 in overtime in 2002.
The matchup: Florida at No. 1 Florida State
Date/location: Nov. 29, Doak Campbell Stadium, TBA
Why it matters: Simply put, rivalry games are unpredictable enough for surprises to happen. I am sure Noles fans do not want me to mention what happened in 1997 when No. 1 Florida State lost to Florida to close out the regular season, ending its hopes for a national championship. Florida State should be favored to win, but Florida is expected to be much better than a season ago and could present a tougher challenge than anybody anticipates right now. Plus, this game closes out the regular season. Let's say the Noles go into the game unbeaten and lose. That could end up impacting their place in a four-team playoff, making this one of the more significant games on the schedule.