Week one always has an interesting mix of games with most teams paying cupcakes against much lesser opponents and others playing great non-conference matchups.
In 2022, that is the case with a handful of ACC teams playing FCS and Group of Five teams. All 12 teams from the Atlantic Coastal Conference play in week one with two teams opening their seasons on Thursday, two more on Friday, the bulk of the teams playing on Saturday with six teams, one on Sunday, and two playing each other on Monday.
An important piece of this schedule is how it affects Miami. Is there a benefit to rooting for a team in each of the games? If so, I will break it down here.
Thursday, September 1st
West Virginia @ Pittsburgh; 7 p.m.
After winning the ACC Championship in 2021, Pittsburgh lost a lot of important pieces on offense including their quarterback, best playmaker, and offensive coordinator. They still return a lot of talent, but that will be tested against West Virginia in the first ACC game of week one.
Everyone not named Desmond Howard expects Pitt to regress in some way. I will be rooting for that here and hope West Virginia can remind everyone who the Panthers were before Kenny Pickett and company had them winning double-digit games in 2021 for the first time since 2009.
Florida A&M @ Wake Forest; 7:30 p.m.
There isn’t too much to root for in the second ACC game on Thursday. Florida A&M lost their season opener to North Carolina, 56-24. Even though Wake Forest is without their star quarterback, Sam Hartman, this should still be easy for the Demon Deacons.
Friday, September 2nd
Virginia Tech @ Old Dominion; 7 p.m.
One of the Hurricanes’ biggest competitors each year is the Virginia Tech Hokies. Dating back to 2012, the Hokies have finished within a game of Miami in the ACC standings all but two times, including three times they finished with the same conference record. So each game can make the difference for these two programs beating out the other.
After starting their 2021 season 1-6, Old Dominion won five in a row to make a bowl game. They begin their 2022 season hosting Virginia Tech. In Brent Pry’s first game as the head coach of the Hokies, he should be able to pick up a win against a lesser opponent.
The last time these teams played, it was a one-score game in the fourth quarter. But I still don’t want Miami’s best competition losing to teams like Old Dominion. If they are trying to put together a good resume late in the season, it won’t look good if their primary division rivals are losing to the likes of Old Dominion. BUT, I always root for underdogs, especially against teams who have angered me in the past. A Friday night game for a small school is always fun, so that should make us all Monarch fans.
Temple @ Duke; 7:30 p.m.
There is no real reason to root for Duke in week one other than to hope they look like a competent football program for the first time since 2018. But it is unlikely they compete for a division title this season and are one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country.
To keep it simple, it does nothing for the Hurricanes if the Blue Devils lose. But their winning does make the ACC look less like a joke if they can beat a Temple team that only won three games in 2021 in the American Conference. So this will be one of the very few times I will root for a Coastal team.
Saturday, September 3rd
NC State @ East Carolina; Noon
North Carolina State has been one of the best programs in the ACC over the last five seasons with at least eight wins in four years and nine wins in three of five. With games against Virginia Tech and North Carolina late in the season, I am hoping they are good again this season and able to win both their cross-division matchups.
Opening their season against East Carolina on the road shouldn’t be a tall task. Though the Pirates have had some great showings in the past against ACC teams like North Carolina and Virginia Tech. If the Wolfpack lets this game stay close or possibly loses this game, it will hurt the credibility of the ACC, which is already on a downward trajectory. Being in the Atlantic Division, I am fine rooting for NC State here.
Rutgers @ Boston College; Noon
A middle-of-the-pack ACC team against a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team to begin the season almost feels like it should be a part of the college basketball season during the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Boston College finished last season 6-6 and return their starting quarterback, Phil Jurkovec. Since it doesn’t affect Miami with no real meaning in recruiting, standings, or rivalries, I am rooting for the ACC to beat the Big Ten.
North Carolina @ Appalachian State; Noon
In one of my favorite venues in the country, North Carolina has to go on the road and play Appalachian State. The Mountaineers were good in 2021, losing to the Hurricanes on a field goal with two minutes remaining.
I want them to show up again this year and beat the Tar Heels. Not only has North Carolina been extremely competitive for the Coastal title, but they have been recruiting well and competing for top 10 classes. This could be a really fun game to watch, especially if you’re rooting for App State and they make this a game.
The Tar Heels won their season-opener against Florida A&M, but I hope they drop this one.
Richmond @ Virginia; 12:30 p.m.
Like the Wake Forest game, I can’t imagine this being much of a game. In the first game under head coach Tony Elliot, they should probably come out and beat up an FCS team. But I will be rooting for chaos and the underdog in Richmond. There are some programs I just want to watch lose, and the Cavaliers are one of them. Please Spiders, give me a funny game to watch unfold before the Hurricanes kick-off.
Louisville @ Syracuse; 8 p.m.
The first ACC match-up of the season takes place Saturday night between Louisville and Syracuse. The two teams could have been better to start the conference schedule though. The last time these teams had a game decided by less than 22 points was in 2012. There have been 10-straight games between these teams where it was decided by at least 17 points.
That being said, let's go ‘Cuse. The Cardinals have been recruiting well in South Florida and losing to a mediocre program like the Orange could help squash some of that momentum. A program from New York is no danger to the Hurricanes in any way, so I will root for them to take out a better team.
Sunday, September 4th
Florida State @ LSU; 7:30 p.m.
I don’t think I need to get into this too much. Sunday night, Miami fans should be rooting for LSU. There is almost no reason to ever root for Florida State as a ‘Canes fan. Could a Tigers win help them in recruiting? Sure. That would also help the Seminoles if they win. And I would much rather the out-of-state team get that recruiting boost.
I think I can speak for all Miami fans when I say I want Florida State to come out and just look awful in their first real game of the season. There is just something funny about it, especially if it is the same old problems they have had over the past half-decade.
Monday, September 5th
Clemson @ Georgia Tech; 8 p.m.
The second ACC match-up of the season is between Clemson and Georgia Tech on Monday night. Another game that could be one-sided. But we should all root for Georgia Tech, even if they are in our division.
Seeing the program that has run the ACC for over a decade take some hits would be nice. Last season, the Tigers only put up 14 points in a six-point win over the Yellow Jackets. Hopefully, Georgia Tech can have a similar defensive performance while scoring more than eight points.
There will be plenty of conference games for the Yellow Jackets to lose throughout the season, but we should all root for Clemson to lose every game.