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ACC Rooting Guide: Week 1

Let’s go through the Week 1 matchups and see who we like!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 17 Old Dominion at Virginia Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

College football is back baby! Now I have a built-in excuse for my poor eating habits every weekend from now through November.

I will be taking you through each week’s slate of games involving ACC teams and provide some reasons to root for or against the conference foes of our Miami Hurricanes, plus give out a “Matchup of the Week”. Games are listed in chronological order. Without further ado..

Elon @ Wake Forest - 8/31 at 7:00 PM EST, TV - ACC Network

A fellow soccer player buddy of mine from high school played at Elon in the early 2000s. Pretty cool. Wake Forest lost Sam Hartman, their QB and best player, to some school in Indiana named Notre Dame. His replacement is Mitch Griffis. No offense to Mitch, but I’m willing to bet he’s not nearly as good as Hartman. That makes this game a little more interesting. I am rooting for Elon. Do I know what their team name or mascot is? No. Do I care? Not at all. Let’s go Elon.

NC State @ UConn - 8/31 at 7:30 PM EST, TV - CBS Sports Network

Remember when Miami was considering hiring former UConn football coach Randy Edsall? Those were some dark days. The Huskies have been trash in football lately, going 10-50 from 2016 to 2021. They did improve to 6-7 last season. NC State has some moderate hype coming into this season, with former Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong transferring in. I’d like to see the Wolfpack start the season strong and not lose their season-opener to a basketball school. Let’s go NC State.

Louisville @ Georgia Tech - 9/1 at 7:30 PM EST, TV - ESPN

This is the first of two Week 1 inter-conference matchups. Louisville QB Jack Plummer is on his third college team, while Tech has named Texas A&M transfer Haynes King as its starter. The carousel of transfer QBs in college football is dizzying. This game will be played at the same time as the Canes, so I won’t watch a single second. I do have a friend who has season tickets for Georgia Tech and might invite me up for a game this season. That’s all I need. Let’s go Georgia Tech.

Northern Illinois @ Boston College - 9/2 at 12:00 PM EST, TV - ACC Network

I can’t say I’m hyped for this matchup. I am interested to see how many people actually show up to Chesnut Hill at noon for a BC football game during Labor Day Weekend. To be fair, this isn’t Colgate vs Syracuse, but it’s not much better. It would be funny to see Northern Illinois celebrate a win over a lower-tier ACC team in front of a half-empty stadium. Let’s go Northern Illinois.

Virginia @ #12 Tennessee - 9/2 at 12:00 PM EST, TV - ABC

There is some actual off-the-field drama for this matchup. Virginia coach Tony Elliot basically said he turned down the Vols job before it was offered to current coach Josh Heupel. Tennessee’s AD Danny White took to Twitter (I’m not calling it X, at least not yet) to let the world know the job was not offered to Elliot, saying “Interesting...don’t remember offering. Ignored this the first time, can’t do it again. An interview doesn’t constitute an offer. Interviewed several candidates, offered 1.” Shots fired. I love it. Virginia was as boring and frustrating to watch as Miami was last season. Tennessee was throwing downfield, putting up points, and beating ‘Bama. Let’s go Vols.

Wofford @ Pittsburgh - 9/2 at 3:30 PM EST, TV - ACC Network

I just now realized Miami doesn’t play Pitt this season. I know I looked at the Canes’ schedule; guess I just assumed the Panthers were on there. Facing Pitt with a good record would be a reason to root for them against Wofford. Now, I have nothing holding me back. The Terriers, yes the Terriers, were awful last season in just about all major statistical categories. So what? Wofford has pulled off major upsets in basketball, why not on the gridiron? Fear the Terriers! Let’s go Wofford.

Colgate @ Syracuse - 9/2 at 4:00 PM EST, TV - ACC Network

I wrote this paragraph last because I couldn’t be less interested in this matchup. First of all, I had no idea Colgate had a football team until I looked up the ACC’s Week 1 slate. Second of all, Syracuse football has been irrelevant for a long time now. Being that there is no betting line for this game, I would imagine the Orange is going to crush the Raiders. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers needs an early-season win before consecutive games against #9 Clemson, #21 UNC, and #8 FSU to open conference play. Having said all that, let’s go Colgate.

#21 North Carolina @ South Carolina - 9/2 at 7:30 PM EST, TV - ABC

Primetime billing for Mack Brown, Drake Maye, and company to start the season. Not bad. Shane Beamer and his Gamecocks squad have some serious momentum coming into this season, with their back-to-back upsets of Tennessee and Clemson last November. As a Miami fan, I’d rather face an undefeated UNC team on the road in October than an underachieving one. I think the Canes would get much more hyped for that matchup. Let’s go Tar Heels.

Old Dominion @ Virginia Tech - 9/2 at 8:00 PM EST, TV - ACC Network

Fun stat: ODU is 2-12 against Power Five teams in football, with both wins coming against Virginia Tech. The Monarchs upset the Hokies at home in both 2018 and 2022. That has got to hurt if you’re a Tech fan. The Hokies football program simply hasn’t been the same since the great Frank Beamer retired in 2015. I miss the annual Big East matchup between Miami and Va Tech. Lately, meh. Give me the Monarchs on the road. Let’s go Old Dominion.

Matchup of the Week

#5 LSU vs #8 FSU - 9/3 at 7:30 PM EST, TV - ABC

This is not only the biggest ACC matchup of the week, but the biggest matchup in all of college football’s opening weekend. The Seminoles loaded up on transfers this spring and summer. Plus, Jordan Travis had another offseason to become an even better college QB. Talent-wise, they are in position to challenge Clemson for ACC supremacy. FSU edge-rusher Jared Verse is awesome, but I can’t wait to watch LSU’s Harold Perkins. The guy is a freak and I hope he wreaks havoc on Sunday night. I understand this is huge game for the ACC against the powerhouse SEC. Whatever. I don’t root for conferences. Never have. Let’s go LSU.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Allstate Louisiana Kickoff - Florida State vs LSU
LSU @ FSU is the biggest matchup of college football’s opening weekend. Geaux Tigers!
Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#9 Clemson @ Duke - 9/4 at 8:00 PM EST, TV - ESPN

Remember when former Duke coach David Cutcliffe whined and cried about Miami’s incredible 8-lateral miracle win 2015? His exact quote: “Unfortunately, there is no mechanism that I know of in place to reverse an outcome of a game. I do believe that there should be. What instant replay is in place for is to get it right. And we did not get it right.” The sourest of grapes from Cutcliffe. Further, I always kind of liked Clemson under Dabo. Plus, if Miami isn’t on top of the ACC, I’d rather it be the Tigers than the Seminoles any day of the week. Let’s go Clemson.