The ACC Championship Game is settled, it’ll be a match-up between powerhouse Clemson and Pittsburgh, with the Tigers playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The ACC has been disappointing this year behind Clemson, and several teams will look to get one final win to improve their records this season.
Friday, November 23rd
Virginia (7-4 4-3 ACC) at Virginia Tech (4-6, 3-4 ACC)
Virginia hopes to get a win here to end any hope Virginia Tech had of extending their NCAA leading consecutive bowl streak. The Hokies have to go back to the drawing board this offseason. Tech had it’s worst defense in over a decade and an offense that was streaky and nearly the definition of inconsistent. Meanwhile, Bronco Mendenhall and Virginia will be satisfied with a season that saw the program truly turn the corner.
Root for Virginia here, it makes Miami’s loss look better and means that a rival program loses.
Saturday, November 24th
No.11 Florida (8-3, 5-3 SEC) at Florida State (5-6, 3-5 ACC), 12:00 P.M Eastern, ABC
Florida has improved greatly in their first season under Dan Mullen. This weekend they face a Florida State team that is desperate to get to bowl eligibility in their first year under Willie Taggart. After a series of consecutive disappointing offensive performances Taggart handed over play-calling duties to his offensive coordinator Walt Bell, and the offense has shown some improvement. They’ll need to play well tomorrow to score against one of the SEC and nation’s better defenses. Meanwhile, Florida will look to end their losing streak to Florida State and take advantage of an opportunity to get to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.
Root for whichever rival you like more in this game, it’s truly hard to make a decision here, and it ultimately comes down to personal opinion.
Georgia Tech (7-4, 5-3 ACC) at No.5 Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC), 12:00 P.M Eastern, SEC Network
Georgia will be in Atlanta next weekend to play in the SEC Championship Game, but first they have to get past their rivals from Atlanta and their triple option offense. Paul Johnson has seemingly saved his job after a rough start to the season, and nothing would be sweeter for him than to end the playoff hopes of the Yellow Jackets’ biggest rival. Georgia has dominated since losing to LSU in one of their first SEC games of the season, but they have to be focused when playing one of the weirdest offenses in college football. The visitor has won this game the last four times it has been played, and GT will hope to pull the upset off and push that streak to five tomorrow.
Root for Georgia Tech tomorrow, a win for them would be absolutely huge for the ACC. Especially considering how bad the conference has played all year.
No. 20 Syracuse (8-3, 5-2 ACC) at Boston College (7-4, 4-3 ACC), 12:00 P.M Eastern, ESPN
This game involves two teams that are reeling after disappointing losses. Syracuse was routed by Notre Dame in Yankee Stadium last week after quarterback Eric Dungey went out with an injury (he’ll play this week), while Boston College is still licking their wounds after losing to Clemson in one of the biggest games in school history. Syracuse will need a strong offensive performance against one of the most underrated defenses in America. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles will need to avoid turning the ball over against the Orange, who have turned into one of the best teams in the nation at forcing turnovers.
Look for this to be an exciting game this weekend. Root for the Eagles, it makes Miami appear stronger if they win because they were on Miami’s schedule this season.
NC State (7-3, 4-3 ACC) at North Carolina (2-8, 1-6 ACC), 12:20 P.M Eastern, ACCNE
North Carolina has suffered one of its’ worst seasons in years in 2018, and it will almost certainly end with the firing of Larry Fedora, no matter what happens against the Wolfpack. For N.C. State, 2018 was yet another season where they were so close to national prominence, yet so far away. They lost every big game they played in, and Dave Doeren will have to go into another off-season trying to figure out how to push his team over the hump into true national contention. While this may seem like a game ripe for a blowout, the Wolfpack could be on upset alert, if they come out flat anything could happen in Chapel Hill.
Root for UNC in this game, Miami played them this season and the Hurricanes could use all the help they can get in terms of bowl game selection.
Wake Forest (5-6, 2-5 ACC) at Duke (7-4, 3-4 ACC), 12:30 P.M Eastern, ACCNE
Wake Forest is looking to take advantage of an opportunity to be bowl eligible again after an up and down season. They’ll have to do it against Duke, who has steadily improved as the season has gone on. The Blue Devils have a potential first round draft pick at quarterback in Daniel Jones, and the Demon Deacons will need to find a way to defend against him and an experienced receiving corps. This could be a very interesting game, especially to get a gauge on just how well the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions of the ACC compare.
Root for Duke in this game, once again they were on Miami’s schedule and the ‘Canes could use some help improving their resume before bowl selection next week.
No.24 Pitt (7-4, 6-1 ACC) at Miami (6-5, 3-4 ACC), 3:30 P.M Eastern, ESPN
Miami comes into this week having lost standout wide receiver Jeff Thomas. The Hurricanes will be tested against a Pittsburgh Panthers team that has improved week after week this season. The roles of these two teams are nearly reversed from last year to this year. Last year it was the Hurricanes who were making the trip to Charlotte next week, and it was Pitt who was hoping to sour things for Miami, and now those roles have switched. Miami will need to refocus after yet another turbulent week, and it’ll be a hard fought game at Hard Rock Stadium on senior day.
Obviously we always root for Miami, but it would be nice to see great individual performances from the senior class, especially as they head towards the NFL Draft.
No.15 Kentucky (8-3, 5-3 SEC) at Louisville (2-9, 0-8 ACC), 7:00 P.M Eastern, ESPN2
Kentucky was one of the country’s more surprising teams this season, but they’ve suffered a few let down games after losing a huge game against Georgia that put them out of the SEC East Division race. The Wildcats will look to blowout their hated rivals Louisville, who have suffered a disastrous season that led to the firing of Head Coach Bobby Petrino. Cardinals fans everywhere will hope to pull an upset off tomorrow before finding a new head man, many of whom hope is current Purdue Head Coach Jeff Brohm
Root for Louisville in this game. Anytime an ACC team can beat a Top 15 team from another conference you should root for them, it is a huge chance for a statement win.
South Carolina (6-4, 4-4 SEC) at No.2 Clemson (11-0, 8-0 ACC), 7:00 P.M Eastern, ESPN
Clemson will look to continue their winning streak in the Palmetto Bowl before heading into the ACC Championship Game next weekend. The Tigers are looking to once again make the College Football Playoff, and this season nothing has really challenged the team so far, besides an early season road trip to Texas A&M. Meanwhile, South Carolina has been a little disappointing this season. After entering the year in the Top 25 the Gamecocks have stumbled to an 6-4 overall record in a challenging SEC East. Will Muschamp is starting to get asked some tough questions in Columbia about the state of his program.
Root for Clemson in this game. Anytime the ACC wins it is an indirect win for Miami.
That’s all the games in Rivalry Week this year. The ACC has struggled this season, but they have a chance to get several big wins this weekend.