Best Non-Conference Games of the ACC in 2009

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Best Non-Conference Games of the ACC in 2009
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Every year the Non-Conference Schedule gives each conference the chance to prove itself against others. Some conferences play harder schedules than others. The ACC historically plays one of the toughest non-conference schedules and this year is no different. I will now count down the best non-conference games of the ACC in 2009.

I'm going to try and cover as many teams as possible, because even the lower profile games are important for a conference's image.

 

25. Indiana at. Virginia- Oct. 10

If UVA wants a chance at a bowl and respect this year they better take care of cellar dweller Indiana out of the Big Ten. Early Prediction: UVA

 

24. Georgia Tech at. Vanderbilt- Oct. 31

Another game that is against a big conference, but Georgia Tech should over match the Commodores, even on the road. A must win for GT and the ACC. Early Prediction: GT

 

23. Stanford at. Wake Forest- Sept. 12

An early season matchup for the Deacons that they should have the edge in, especially playing at home. Early Prediction: Wake

 

22. Baylor at. Wake Forest- Sept. 5

An improving Baylor team will come to Winston-Salem on the first weekend of the year, but the Deacons home field should give them an edge. Early Prediction: Wake

 

21. TCU at. Virginia- Sept. 12

TCU should be a top 15 team preseason, and with most of their offense returning the Horned Frogs will travel to Charlottesville as the favorites. Early Prediction: TCU

 

20. Georgia Tech at. Mississippi State- Oct. 3

A slightly tougher matchup for the Jackets, over the Commodores, but still a game they must win. The Bulldogs will look to revenge the beating they took last year in Atlanta. Early prediction: GT

 

19. Duke at. Kansas- Sept. 19

This is Duke's only legitimate non-conference opponent and a decent one at that. The Jayhawks are coming off back to back bowl trips, and the Dukies will have their hands full on the road. A win here though, and Duke might be thinking they have a chance at a bowl. Early Prediction: Kansas

 

18. East Carolina at. North Carolina- Sept. 19

A possible matchup of top 25 teams from NC, this game doesn't quite have the appeal that the VT/ECU matchups does though. The Tar Heels will be at home, and it will be interesting to see how ECU handles them after a tougher end to last season. Early Prediction: UNC

 

17. Rutgers at. Maryland- Sept. 26

Rutgers should be improved this year, and could fight for the top of the Big East. Maryland will have an opportunity to win this game at home and gain some respect, despite losing alot on defense. Early Prediction: Maryland

 

16. North Carolina at. UConn- Sept. 12

The Tar Heels will travel to Stoors this time around and will face a UConn team that might not be as good. Despite that UNC must win this game for the ACC because UConn might not be a bowl team this year. Early prediction: UNC

 

15. Virginia Tech at. East Carolina- Nov. 5

A Thursday night rematch of last years upset. This time around the Hokies will be ready and deeper into the season when they started to get it rolling last year. Early Prediction: Virginia Tech

 

14. Pittsburgh at. NC State- Sept. 26

NC State had a great finish to last year and expectations are high in Raleigh. Pitt returns a decent amount from a bowl team last year and could challenge for the Big East title. Early Prediction: NC State

 

13. Boston College at. Notre Dame- Oct. 24

Boston College returns to South Bend again against an improving Irish squad. BC on the other hand might be taking a step back this year, with big losses on both sides of the ball, and their head coach. Early Prediction: Notre Dame

 

12. South Carolina at. NC State- Sept. 3

This should be a great start to the football season on Thursday night. Expectation will be high and the Wolfpack will look to revenge the beat down they took last year on this same night. Early Prediction: South Carolina

 

11. South Florida at. Florida State- Sept. 26

The Bulls have high expectations this season and they will travel to Tallahassee for this September matchup. The Seminoles will look to continue their recent non-conference success outside of the Gators. Early Prediction: Florida State

 

10. Clemson at. South Carolina - Nov. 28

The annual matchup of bitter rivals should be as competitive as ever as they matchup in Columbia this year. Early Prediction: South Carolina

 

9. Maryland at. California- Sept. 5

Last year the Terps surprised the Bears by thumping them in College Park. This time around the Terps will have to travel all the way across the country and play a very late game. Early Prediction: Cal

 

8. Miami at. South Florida- Nov. 28

A potentially very tough end of the season game for each team as they might for bowl placement. Hurricanes might have more talent on the field but playing the game in Tampa will be a huge edge to the Bulls. Early Prediction: Miami

 

7. TCU at. Clemson- Sept. 26

Just two weeks after visiting the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, TCU will return to ACC country and take on the Tigers. A good defensive matchup should be a battle in the trenches in this one. The atmosphere in Death Valley will play big in this one, as the Tiger faithful should be pumped. Early Prediction: Clemson

 

6. Nebraska at. Virginia Tech- Sept. 19

A rematch from a good game in Nebraska last year. The Hokies stifled the Huskers powerful offensive attack for much of the game and playing at home this year could give them the edge in this one. Early Prediction: Virginia Tech

 

5. Florida State at. BYU- Sept. 19

An underrated September game, this game has all the signs to be a good one. The Seminoles will have the edge in speed but a rowdy crowd in Utah could make this one very interesting. Early Prediction: FSU

 

4. Florida State at. Florida- Nov. 28

Last year the Seminoles got battered again by their in state rivals at home. Returning another National Championship caliber team and playing at home doesn't spell good signs for the Noles. Early Prediction: Florida

 

3. Georgia at. Georgia Tech- Nov. 28

Last year the Yellow Jackets stunned the Bulldogs, who were preseason No. 1. This time around the Jackets will have the senior squad and the benefit of the home crowd. Early Prediction: Georgia Tech

 

2. Oklahoma at. Miami- Oct. 3

A huge chance for the Hurricanes to prove early on that they are back. Returning nearly everyone from last year and playing at home, a victory would be huge for the ACC. Early Prediction: Oklahoma

 

1. Virginia Tech vs. Alabama- Sept. 5

The best game of the non-conference slate will be the first weekend in Atlanta. Last year the Tide rolled over Clemson in an early season upset. This time around the Tide will be the favorites in this matchup of preseason top 10 teams.

It might seem unpopular, but I feel an upset brewing here. Tech brings back experience, most of all in the trenches, where the game was won last year. Early Prediction: Virginia Tech

 

It should be a great season for college football in the ACC and around the country. A few big victories for the conference and respect could come quickly.

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