Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
No really, this is a dream. Imagine having enough money and vacation time to go to any and every ACC game you wanted to this fall. From Death Valley to Tally, or you can catch a doubleheader and go from a Thursday night game in Atlanta to a Saturday game at Syracuse. This year’s schedule is packed with possibilities, but colleague Andrea Adelson and I are narrowing it down to our favorite picks. Don’t like ‘em? Find your own driver.
This is our Ultimate ACC Road Trip:
Week 1 schedule:
Thursday, August 29
North Carolina at South Carolina, ESPN, 6 p.m.
Presbyterian at Wake Forest
Friday, August 30
Florida Atlantic at Miami
Saturday, August 31
Villanova at Boston College
NC Central at Duke
Elon at Georgia Tech
Florida International at Maryland
Louisiana Tech at NC State
Penn State at Syracuse (MetLife Stadium, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J.)
BYU at Virginia
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech, ESPN, 5:30 pm Chick-fil-A Kickoff Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
Georgia at Clemson, ABC. 8 pm
Our pick: North Carolina at South Carolina AND Georgia at Clemson
Why you should come along: How do you pass up these two games when you can stay in the same state and see how the ACC stacks up against two of the best teams in the SEC East? (We can guess how Virginia Tech stacks up against Alabama.) The real plotlines in Week 1 are going to be in the state of South Carolina, where Clemson has a chance to be a national title contender with a win over Georgia, and North Carolina has a chance to rekindle a border rivalry and make a statement on the national level in just the second season under coach Larry Fedora. UNC and South Carolina used to play each other on a routine basis, but haven't since 2007.
The Clemson-Georgia game, though, is arguably the biggest of the nonconference season for the ACC. If the Tigers win that game, they will legitimize their hopes of winning the national title, and quarterback Tajh Boyd will instantly be one of the top Heisman candidates. This is also an opportunity to travel from one rival campus to another and scout two teams that will be playing each other at season's end. It's one thing to see a game in Death Valley, but to see (what's left of) Howard's Rock AND tailgate in a caboose on the same trip? (Hey, we can dream). Can the ACC go 2-1 against the SEC in Week 1? South Carolina is the place to be to find out.