On the opening weekend of college football, ACC teams will stretch the first weekend’s games from a couple of dull ones Thursday evening through the headliner between Boise State and Virginia Tech in prime time on Labor Day.
Here is how fans can expect the weekend to turn out for the conference.
LSU vs. North Carolina, September 4
Butch Davis brings what could have been his best North Carolina team to Atlanta, but with the NCAA buzz surrounding the Tar Heels, there are plenty of questions about which players will even make the journey at this point.
Their opponent, the LSU Tigers, have just about as many question marks as answers.
Les Miles will start with Jordan Jefferson at QB, and the Tigers' season will be dependent on the junior QB finally developing some level of consistency.
Jefferson has a great receiver at his disposal in Terrance Toliver, but other options will have to step up, or the future NFL receiver will be covered tightly by two Tar Heels the entire game.
The key for North Carolina will be on the defensive side of the ball, where nine starters return, six who have legitimate shots at the NFL.
Inside linebacker Quan Sturdivant and outside backer Bruce Carter form as powerful a duo at linebacker as any team in the nation.
In the trenches Marvin Austin is a monster to handle, while the Tar Heels also feature Robert Quinn at defensive end.
Quinn has earned a reputation as being a guy who disrupts plays in the other team's backfield.
How far has North Carolina come under Butch Davis? They will play the Tigers on a neutral field and should win the game.
LSU fans might also say it is an indictment of the results they are seeing from Miles, who has a seat that is getting hotter every day.
(Writer's note: Depending on the outcome of the NCAA investigation, we reserve the right to change this pick!)
Boise State vs. Virginia Tech, Sept. 6
For the sake of all that is right in college football, it is critical that Virginia Tech not pull an Oregon and provide Boise State any more cover as a legitimate contender for the BCS national title.
Everyone knows the story told by those who despise the BCS. How unfair it is that teams like the Broncos can’t get a chance to win it all on the field.
Everyone has heard how the upset pulled by Utah over Alabama proves teams playing in second-tier conferences are legit. Get real.
Nick Saban flat-out could not convince his team to get focused after they lost a shot to play for the national title.
Expect Virginia Tech to come into this game with the lesson from history learned.
Offensively, the Hokies are expected to ride the legs of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans.
This tandem forms what many consider the best running duo in the nation, and it just might be if Evans can come off an season-ending injury he suffered last August to regain the form he displayed in 2008.
During his first campaign as a Hokie, he set the conference mark for rushing yards by a freshman. His mark was broken last season by Williams. Not a bad one-two punch.
Beating Boise State will also mean shutting down their super passer, Kellen Moore, who threw 39 touchdowns last year while tossing only three interceptions.
The defensive effort will have to start with the guys up front getting pressure on Moore, while also keeping the Broncos running game in check.
This year, college football will not have to keep hearing talk about Boise State playing for a BCS title. Virginia Tech wins this game for all of the Big Six.
Almost a Headliner
Richmond at Virginia, Sept. 4
Over the last two years, Virginia head coach Mike London has a record of 24-5. The bad news for Cavalier fans is he did this coaching the Spiders of Richmond.
What makes this game interesting is wondering how London’s old team will look against his new one.
If Richmond was returning the players he coached during his last season with the Spiders, this game would be up for grabs.
With Richmond replacing seven starters on defense and eight on offense, London will get off to a positive start at Virginia with a win over his former team.
Thursday, Sept. 2
Presbyterian at Wake Forest
Presbyterian goes by the nickname “Blue Hose” which is a fierce Scottish warrior. They lost 11 games last season.
They won’t start with a win in 2010. Wake wins.
Florida A&M at Miami
Expect the halftime show to be great if the A&M Marching Band makes the journey. Expect less from the game as Miami wins.
Saturday, Sept. 4
Weber State at Boston College
The Wildcats would beat the Blue Hose. They won’t beat BC.
North Texas at Clemson
There is a clock counting down to the kick off for the 2010 season on the Mean Green’s web site. It is really a countdown to being beaten really badly by Clemson...no matter who is at QB for the Tigers.
Elon at Duke
The Phoenix might make it a game, but they won’t rise against the Blue Devils. Duke gets the victory.
Samford at Florida State
Jimbo beats up on the school where he played for Terry Bowden. Good start.
SC State at Georgia Tech
The trip to Atlanta from the State campus is not all that far, but the trip back will seem longer after the Yellow Jackets win big.
Maybe they can make a stop at The Varsity to make the ride home better.
Western Carolina at North Carolina State
The Catamounts play Tusculum the week after NC State. It does not matter if they are looking ahead or not. They will lose when they play the Wolfpack.
Monday, Sept. 6
Navy at Maryland
Will be one of the better games during the opening weekend of ACC play, but the conference will complete their sweep of the opening weekend by winning this one.
ACC fans, get the brooms out for opening weekend.