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ACC Rooting Guide: Week Eleven

Several postponements have caused some changes in the last few weeks of the season.

Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

The ACC is entering the last few weeks of the season. Several pandemic-related postponements have caused some changes to the schedule and left Miami, a contender for the conference title, without another game scheduled until December 5.

Friday, November 20

Syracuse Orange (1-7, 1-6 ACC) @ Louisville Cardinals (2-6, 1-6 ACC), 7:00 P.M., ESPN

A Friday night matchup between two struggling teams gets the ACC’s weekend started. If Syracuse loses this game they face the real possibility of a one win season with games against NC State and Notre Dame remaining after this game. Meanwhile, Louisville is hoping to end the season on a positive note after a disappointing first eight games that sees the Cardinals 13th in the conference after being picked third in the preseason.

Root for Louisville in this game. Miami played Louisville earlier in the season and doesn’t play Syracuse, so a Cardinals win slightly helps Miami’s strength of record.

Saturday, November 21

No.4 Clemson Tigers (7-1, 6-1 ACC) @ Florida State Seminoles (2-6, 1-6 ACC), 12:00 P.M., ABC

Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

Trevor Lawrence returns for Clemson in their first game after a heartbreaking overtime loss to Notre Dame. The Tigers are 35 point favorites on the road in Tallahassee and are looking to refocus and win-out to earn a spot in the ACC Championship Game for a potential rematch with Notre Dame. Florida State will be hoping to limit the damage this weekend. It’s unclear who will be available for the Seminoles at quarterback against Clemson after it was announced that freshman Chubba Purdy is out for the year with an injury. Jordan Travis will likely start for FSU, but he has dealt with his own injury issues this season. That could leave the Seminoles with only one scholarship QB, Tate Rodemaker, if Travis is reinjured during the game.

This game will almost certainly not be competitive. In terms of the ACC standings for Miami it would help if FSU won.

Virginia Tech Hokies (4-4, 4-3 ACC) @ Pittsburgh Panthers (4-4, 3-4 ACC), 4:00 P.M., ACCN

Virginia Tech comes into this game after a tough one-point home loss to Miami. Justin Fuente is facing a hot seat in Blacksburg and a road win against Pittsburgh would do a lot to help Virginia Tech’s program. Pittsburgh, like Virginia Tech, has really struggled since a good start to their season. The Panthers started the season 3-0 but are now just 4-4 and could finish the season with a losing record if they don’t win this weekend.

There’s not a huge impact on Miami no matter who wins this game. However, Virginia Tech is a rival, so root for Pitt.

Abilene Christian Wildcats (1-4) @ Virginia Cavaliers (3-4, 3-4 ACC), 4:00 P.M., ESPN3

Virginia gets a chance to get back to .500 on the season with a game against FCS opponent Abilene Christian this weekend. The Cavaliers had a terrible start to the season, but recent wins against North Carolina and Louisville have given a spark to them heading into the last few games of the year. There’s a real chance UVA could finish the season at 7-4 or 6-5 and make a good bowl game with games against FSU, Boston College, and rival Virginia Tech remaining after this weekend.

Root for Virginia in this game, they’re playing an FCS opponent and a loss for them would be disastrous for the ACC’s reputation.

No.21 Liberty Flames (8-0) @ NC State Wolfpack (5-3, 5-3 ACC), 7:30 P.M., ESPN3

North Carolina State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Liberty has been one of the stories of the season in 2020 across college football. The Flames are undefeated, and have wins over Virginia Tech and Syracuse already this season. NC State is by far the Flames toughest opponent so far this year and Liberty will hope to get a good road win to make a late push for New Year’s Six Bowl contention. The Wolfpack, on the other hand, got a dominant win over Florida State last weekend to move to 5-3 on the season. NC State is a solid team, and a win over a ranked opponent this weekend would give them a clear path to finishing the season at 8-3 and getting one of the ACC’s premier bowl bids.

NC State is who to root for here. The choice is always to root for the ACC when it plays an out-of-conference team and an NC State win would help boost Miami’s strength of record after the Hurricanes beat them earlier this year.

With several postponements coming late in the season in the ACC the last few weeks of the year could be somewhat chaotic. Late season matchups are going to have a huge impact on bowl selection in just a few weeks.