ACC Football 2008: The 25 Most Important OOC Games

Matt SmithSenior Analyst IJuly 28, 2008

With the expansion of the ACC, football was supposed to explode all across the eastern seaboard.

Miami, Boston College, and Virginia Tech were going to bring prestige and power to the ACC and knock down basketball as the king of the conference.

Well three years after full expansion, the ACC is still viewed as the “Little Brother” of the BCSfootball conference, but these 25 games could change the perception of the ACC in 2008.

25. Boston College vs. Central Florida (Sept 20)

Boston College was almost a national title contender last season and while rebuilding this season a loss to O’Leary and Central Floridawould not help the perception of the ACC.  Lucky for us I believe Boston College will pull out the win.

Win Result: Boston College


24. Wake vs. Navy (Sept 27)

Paul Johnson is no longer running Navy’s offense so a loss to Navy would de devastating to one of the Atlantic Division’s favorites.  Wake has too much firepower for the service academy and takes this one.

Win Result: Wake


23. Virignia Tech vs. ECU (Aug 30)

NCSU vs. ECU (Sept 20)

UVA vs. ECU (Oct 11)

Skip Holtz has a Conference USA Championship team in Greeville but beating ECU has no advantages while loosing looks like a terrible stumble.  ECU may be a BCS quality team but until they’re in a BCS conference no loss helps out the ACC.

Win Result: Virginia Tech, NCSU, ECU


22. Duke vs. Northwestern (Sept 6), Navy (Sept 13), Vandy (Oct 25)

Duke is, well Duke but if Cutliff can get the ACC’s doormat win against the Big 10’s doormat, the best service academy, and the SEC’s doormat then people may view them and the conference a little differently.  Sadly I believe they are two or three years away from competing. 

Win Result: Duke, Navy, Vandy


21. Wake at Baylor (Aug 28)

Baylor has been a weak player in the Big 12 of late but new Head Coach Art Briles is looking to change that.  If one of the top teams in the ACC can’t beat a bottom dweller from the Big 12 what exactly does that say about our conference?

Win Result: Wake


20. Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi State (Sept 20)

Any game against an SEC opponent is huge.  We recruit in the same area and any national exposure you can get is a great thing.  But, I Don’t believe in all the hype and mystery surround Johnson’s triple option and I do not think GTech will be an ACC player at this time.

Win Result: Mississippi State


19. Clemson vs. South Carolina (Nov 29)

This game really needs no introduction.  Living at the North and South Carolinaborder I get to experience all the hate betweens these two teams.  Clemson needs to take down their SEC rival if they really want to prove they belong in the top echelon of the BCS teams.

Win Result: Clemson


18. Miami vs. Central Florida (Oct 11)

To be a top player in a top conference you have to beat the lower tier teams in your state, case in point Miami taking on Central Florida.  A loss makes Miamilook bad and in turn the ACC look bad.  Miami will handle this team with their young talent but for all of our sake lets hope they don’t have a slip up.

Win Result: Miami


17. NCSU vs. South Florida

South Florida proved to the nation last season that they were ready to become a big time player in the Big East.  Last season State’s archrival North Carolinacouldn’t get it done against USF and neither will State this year.

Win Result: South Florida


16. UVA at UConn (Sept 13)

UConn was the Co-Big East Champs last year and with Virginia in rebuilding mode this loss might not be so bad a win would be excellent.  The Cavaliers wont be a strong as last season but still could give UConn fits making this game closer than it should be.

Win Result:UConn


15. Wake vs. Vanderbuilt (Nov 29)

Wake has to win this game against an SEC bottom dweller.  One of your conference’s best teams can not lose to an inferior opponent in a better conference.  Vandy might not be Florida but an SEC win is an SEC win.

Win Result: Wake


14. Wake vs. Ole Miss (Sept 6)

Ole Miss comes into Wake with a new Head Coach in Houston Nutt and a new All-American quarterback in Jevan Snead.  Even though Ole Miss is on the rise they are viewed as not as strong as Wake so a loss to an SEC foe would be bad for the image of the conference.  Luckily I think Wake pulls one out this year.

Win Result: Wake


13. NCSU vs. South Carolina (Aug 28)

An old fashioned redneck match-up right here!  Just kidding folks this should be a good game as both teams are trying to find their identity and footing in their respective conference.  I just don’t think that State is prepared enough to take on South Carolina in their first game and drops this one.

Win Result: South Carolina


12. UNC vs. UConn (Oct 4)

Again the Co-Big East Champs and the school is in ESPN’s state.  What better way to get national exposure for a young, up and coming team than to beat a defending conference champ?  Carolina takes this one at home.

Win Result: UNC


11. FSU vs. Colorado (Sept 27)

Hawkins has Colorado moving in the right direction so I would not be shocked if Colorado pulled a Kansas for this year in the Big 12.  But, Florida State still has the better overall talent and needs to win this one in Jacksonville for the conference.

Win Result: FSU


10. Maryland vs. Cal (Sept 13)

The ACC really needs this win against a Pac 10 team as Virginia is going to get crushed by USC.  A lot of people are writing Maryland off but they have very good skilled players and with better quarterback play could upset Californiato get that ACC win over a Pac 10 school.

Win Result: Maryland


9. UVA vs. Southern California (Aug 30)

I really don’t need to say much here.  Virginia will be crushed by one of the top schools in the nation.  They don’t stand a chance much like any other school, outside of Ohio State, that will play them this year.  This isn’t that bad of a loss, just a big game for the conference.

Win Result: Southern California


8. UNC at Rutgers (Sept 11)

Rutgers is the media darling of the Big East exploding out of nowhere to take the East by storm.  This game is on September 11th, in the New York area, on a Thursday night.  UNC and the conference will get great exposure but lose in a close game as the Davis’ led team is still trying to learn how to win the big game on the road.

Win Result: Rutgers


7. Boston College vs. Notre Dame (Nov 8)

Boston College has a 5 game win streak going over the Irish that they don’t want to lose.  Unfortunately I believe Notre Dame will get better as BC gets worse.  Notre Dame gets the monkey off their back and beats the Golden Eagles this season.

Win Result: Notre Dame


6. Georgia Tech at Georgia (Nov 29)

Coach Richt owned Chan Gailey ending his tenure at Georgia Tech.  A SEC opponent vying for a national title will be a tough game for Johnson in his first season as Georgia Tech’s new coach and even though rules are thrown out of rivalry games, I just don’t see any way Georgia Tech wins this one.  The ACC may be getting better, but the top of the SEC is just too good.

Win Result: Georgia


5. UNC vs. Notre Dame (Oct 11)

Face it Notre Dame is still Notre Dame and the Irish are one of the biggest names in college football.  The Heels can not lose at home to Notre Dame after their worse season anyone can remember.  If they do it will seem like the ACC is not ready to crown a new king in the conference.

Win Result: UNC


4. Virginia Tech at Nebraska (Sept 27)

Nebraskais coming off of a ho-hum season with new Head Coach Bo Pelini at the helm.  Virginia Tech has been one of the most dominant teams since joining the ACC and while Nebraska may not be at its old peak, a win would still be great for the conference’s exposure.  Virginia Tech takes this one on the road.

Win Result: Virginia Tech


3. Miami at Florida (Sept 6)

Miami is one of the biggest winners since 1980 and big rivalry games are a must win for the conference as it faces another SEC team.  Miami has great talent but needs more coaching before they can take on Tebow and the Gators.  Miami loses this in state battle for this year.

Win Result: Florida


2. Florida State vs. Florida (Nov 29)

Another Florida versus Florida match-up in my top three.  Why is that?  Because of recruiting, money, and exposure.  The “speed state” will host a great game between these two school and I believe Bowden has one last trick up his sleeve for Florida.  FSU takes this one in an upset.

Win Result: Florida State


1. Clemson vs. Alabama (Aug 30)

Alabama is one of the 3-4 biggest names in college football and Mr. February Nick Saban is stock piling talent for his football team for years to come.  Clemson is good now and Alabamamay be good in years to come, so the ACC favorite needs to take this game while they can.  This win would do wonders for the way the ACC is perceived.  This game will set the table for how Clemson plays the rest of the season and if their ACC title dreams are for real or a fraud.
Win Result: Clemson


And those are the most important ACC out of conference games of the season.   Thanks to the crew at for putting together the list and adding commentary.