The 2009 college football season kicks off with a bang, with several great games involving the ACC. While the current trend has been to schedule a “warm up” game in the first week, many teams are going for a big win over a premier opponent.
South Carolina at NC State (Thursday, Sept. 3)
The first game of the season features a great ACC vs. SEC match-up when the Gamecocks head into Raleigh, N.C., to take on the Wolfpack.
The key match-up to watch will be the N.C. State offense against the South Carolina defense, as quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to build off of a 17-touchdown season in 2008.
The Gamecocks shut out the Wolfpack last year when the two teams played the opener in South Carolina. Wilson did not get much playing time and only completed one pass, while the starter Daniel Evens threw three interceptions. Wilson improved through the year and grew into a consistent starter, with nearly 2,000 yards passing and only one interception.
Steve Spurrier will produce another solid team defensively. But if the N.C. State offense can move the ball, the game will be close.
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (Saturday, Sept. 5)
One of the biggest games in the nation in week one takes place in Atlanta, with last year's SEC West champion squaring off against the ACC’s title winner. A chance for early-season bragging rights and possible national title implication are on the line when the two teams clash.
The game features a great match-up, as the Virginia Tech offense led by Tyrod Taylor and Darren Evans tries to crack one of the nations top 10 defenses of 2008. Nick Saban will have his defense ready to play, and the Hokies' offense is looking to improve both with the running game and through the air.
The Alabama offense could experience some setbacks early after the loss of senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, but the defense is solid.
Look for a low-scoring game, with the turnover battle being key to deciding the winner.
Miami at Florida State (Monday, Sept. 7)
ACC fans get a special treat on a Monday night, as two rivals in the conference kick it off in primetime. The annual game between the 'Canes and Seminoles is back where it should be—on Labor Day.
Don’t expect a break in the action, as this game features the two top scoring offenses in the ACC from one year ago. Bobby Bowden brings a solid rushing attack against a team that struggled to stop the run, giving up nearly 150 yards on the ground last year.
Miami also brings a strong offense, but the Hurricanes are more balanced against Florida State, who was at the top of the ACC in passing defense but near the bottom against the rush.
Both teams are expected to improve, especially on defense, and the game will be hard-hitting affair. If Miami can stop the run, then it should be a close final.
The Fans' Opinions
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