It should come as no surprise that five teams dominate our list of the top 10 ACC games for the 2015 season. Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech are preseason Top 25 teams and all play each other; Virginia Tech, Louisville and Miami round out the teams that provide the most compelling matchups.
Here is a quick glance at our top 10:
1. Florida State at Clemson, Nov. 7
The winner of this matchup has gone on to play for the ACC title in five straight seasons, and we expect nothing different this season. Perhaps that is why their marquee showdown has been moved to November -- to give the ACC its top game with league and, potentially, College Football Playoff hopes on the line. Clemson has won five of its past six against the Noles in Death Valley, though the lone loss in that group came in embarrassing fashion in 2013.
2. Georgia Tech at Clemson, Oct. 10
For the Tigers to get back to the ACC championship game, they are going to have to find a way to survive against three of the best teams in the ACC: Louisville, Georgia Tech and Florida State. The Jackets beat Clemson going away a season ago after Deshaun Watson got hurt early in the game, and Cole Stoudt came on to play his worst game of the year. The home team has won nine of the past 10 meetings.
3. Florida State at Georgia Tech, Oct. 24
A rematch of the ACC championship game in which the Jackets came close to pulling the upset, these teams meet in Atlanta for the first time since 2008. Could they play again for the title even though they have a regular-season meeting? Rematches have happened four times, the last in 2011, when Clemson beat Virginia Tech in both matchups.
4. Miami at Florida State, Oct. 10
Though the Florida State-Clemson game has grown in national stature (and stakes), the game between the Seminoles and Canes remains circled on the calendar every single season. To me, this remains the top rivalry in the ACC. Miami has lost five straight to the Noles. The Canes played them close last year before coming up short, and that ended up impacting the rest of the season. This year, they vow not to have the entire season ride on just one game.
5. Clemson at Louisville, Sept. 17
Everyone is focused on the game the Tigers have against Florida State in November, but this one cannot be overlooked, especially because it is on a Thursday night in a tough venue. Not only that, Clemson won't exactly be tested in its first two games (Wofford, Appalachian State), while Louisville will (Auburn, Houston). This one could end up having implications in the Atlantic just three weeks into the season.
6. Louisville at Florida State, Oct. 17
The Cards came oh-so-close to upsetting Florida State a year ago, blowing a 21-0 second-quarter lead at home before losing. But if there is a year in which there appears to be an opening to win the Atlantic, this is it. For Louisville to be the team to do that, it will have to pull off the upset. This game comes amid three tough contests for Florida State, but Louisville enters off a bye.
7. Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, Nov. 12
One of these teams has played in nine of the 10 ACC championship games, so their matchup deserves a spot on this list every season. They also were the preseason picks to finish as the top two teams in the Coastal, so you can bet this game will have division implications.
8. Virginia Tech at Miami, Oct. 17
This remains one of the best Coastal Division rivalry games because of the long history. Once again, this should have division ramifications, especially since the matchup comes in the middle of the toughest three-game stretch of the season for the Canes (after Florida State and before Clemson). For Virginia Tech to win the Coastal, the Hokies can't have another poor performance the way they did last year in Blacksburg.
9. Clemson at Miami, Oct. 24
As mentioned above, the schedule-makers didn't do Miami any favors with the three-game stretch or its spot in the Atlantic rotation (the Canes played Louisville last year). The last time these teams played was in 2010, a 30-21 Miami win. They've met only four times in ACC play.
10. North Carolina at NC State, Nov. 28
Both teams have been mentioned as potential "dark horses" in the ACC, so their rivalry game to close the regular season could be more intense than usual if division hopes are on the line. NC State smacked the Tar Heels a year ago, which will surely add more fuel to the matchup.