As the 2015 season fades and gives way to 2016, we’re taking one of our last looks at the departing season. The ACC had its share of spectacular games, from the national title to an improbable eight-lateral marvel, and we’re picking our best five.
But we’re taking a look at the future as well, selecting our five most compelling games to come in 2016. Up next is a look at one of the wildest endings in college football in 2015, plus a look ahead at a crucial 2016 Atlantic Division matchup.
2015's best games
No. 4: No. 9 Florida State at Georgia Tech
Florida State came into the game undefeated, with a big Atlantic showdown against Clemson looming. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, was reeling, losers of five straight. But the Seminoles never quite had control of the game, even after leading 16-10 at halftime. Everett Golson struggled; Dalvin Cook was held mostly in check. When the second half rolled around, the problems got worse. Golson threw an interception in the back of the end zone that could have sealed the victory in the fourth quarter.
Instead of holding a bigger lead, Florida State found itself tied at 16 with 6 seconds remaining. The normally sure-footed Roberto Aguayo stepped onto the field to attempt a 56-yard field goal to win the game. The ball was snapped. Aguayo hit it low to maximize length. Georgia Tech's Patrick Gamble got big air and a hand on the ball, blocking it.
Lance Austin picked up the ball. Initially, coaches wanted him to fall down. But Austin looked around and then got up to a full-on sprint, racing 78 yards and evading all would-be tacklers in the process to score the game-winning touchdown in what would be called "The Miracle on Techwood Drive." Or Kick Six, Part Deux, depending on your point of view. The improbable ending made every 2015 highlight reel. And it turned out to be the last victory the Jackets had all season.
2016's most compelling games
No. 4: Florida State at Louisville
Expectations are starting to surge for the Cardinals, who return starting quarterback Lamar Jackson and 17 other starters. Jackson's breakout performance against Texas A&M in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl has many convinced that Louisville will be an even more formidable opponent for Florida State and Clemson in 2016.
But for Louisville to have any shot at winning the Atlantic, the Cards are going to have to get past Florida State. Past results haven't exactly been encouraging, as they have lost both ACC matchups by double-digits. But for those Louisville fans looking for a sliver of hope, the Cards led at halftime of both games before getting blown out in the second half. Dalvin Cook posed a particular set of issues, running for over 100 yards in both games, too. Cook, of course, returns for his junior year -- along with the entire starting Florida State offense.
As for the Seminoles, they need a win in this game, too, if they want to keep up their ACC championship and national championship game hopes. Considering all the returning talent on both teams, this one is shaping up to be one of the best league matchups to watch.