With Alabama, Oregon, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the lineup, there’s not going to be enough green on St. Patrick’s Day to help the ACC through this nonconference schedule.
As far as entertainment value goes, it’s awesome. Grand slam. The fans are going to love it. Clemson-Georgia? Bring it on. Florida vs. The Sunshine State? We need more of it. Can’t wait to talk about it all summer long. The 2013 schedule, which was released Monday, is stuffed with prime-time entertainment, and overfloweth with opportunities for the ACC to shake up the college football hierarchy.
Problem is, before you even think about the ACC beating its chest after Week 1, there’s a very real possibility Florida State could lose to Pittsburgh in a nationally-televised Labor Day game. And that's not even a nonconference game anymore.
Florida State opens on the road (not its strong suit in 2012). It will have a new quarterback, not to mention six new assistants. Pittsburgh will have home-field advantage. The Panthers will be looking to make a statement in their first game in the ACC. They’ve developed a reputation for getting hyped for the big games (See: Notre Dame, 2012). Virginia Tech lost at Pittsburgh last year. Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?
In the ever-unpredictable ACC, it’s wise to hold off on all November bets until your team makes it through September.
If the BCS computers gave out points for being bold, the ACC would own the top of the standings on schedule alone. North Carolina is playing South Carolina. Clemson is playing Georgia AND South Carolina. (Dear Florida: this is what a schedule looks like.) Virginia is playing … Oregon!? And it just scheduled a home and home series with Boise State.
On paper, this schedule is worth bragging about, and the ACC has done a fine job of promoting it, saying “it may also be one of the most ambitious in the league’s 61-year history.”
Has to be.
Virginia was 4-8 last year and it’s taking on what was just the No. 2 team in the country. Virginia Tech -- which barely beat Virginia to become bowl eligible -- is running smack into the defending national champs.
After what was one of the most disastrous seasons in ACC history in 2012, the league has much to prove in 2013. The good news is that it will have ample opportunities to do that. The reality is that it will need more than luck to get it done.