ACC Coming Attractions: ACC-SEC showdowns highlight final weekend
Ah yes, it’s the one week a year where ACC fans go to curl up in the fetal position and die, otherwise known as the week where the in-state rivalries between ACC and SEC teams have — at least, of late — been dominated by the SEC.
Florida State-Florida is an exception to that, as the Seminoles have risen back to prominence while the Gators have fallen down several pegs (FSU has won three of the last four). Certainly, Louisville facing off against Kentucky should help, as Bobby Petrino is 4-0 against the Wildcats dating back to his last stint with Louisville (see more below). But Georgia has won 12 of the last 13 against Georgia Tech and South Carolina has won five straight against Clemson.
Obviously, it’s a fairly arbitrary selection of games to choose, and bowl season matters nearly as much to how the league is perceived. But it sure couldn’t hurt if it could turn around a few of these streaks on Rivalry Week.
Although all of this happened under Urban Meyer’s watch, Florida used to be the program supposedly run amok when it comes to legal issues (we didn’t know it at the time, but the Aaron Hernandez case recently shed plenty of light on that). And now, it’s Florida State.
Yet most of America will, yet again, be rooting for the Gators as if they are all that is decent about humanity while Florida State is the scourge of the Earth. It’s pretty obvious that Florida fans feel, even if they come up short on the scoreboard, they have the advantage of standing on a slightly-higher perch on the good ole’ proverbial moral high ground. (Plus, they have a new head coach coming in next year, so that should already make them feel better.)
Get your popcorn: Wild Things. Backstabbing, blackmail, police blotters galore! And it’s set in the Florida Everglades!
Is Pluto a planet? And if it is, is Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney even remotely on the same one — or even a neighboring one — as Steve Spurrier when it comes to smack talk?
Probably not in both cases, but hey, points to Dabo for trying.
Clemson has not won one of these games in their last five tries, and Spurrier has, as only he can, continued to remind them of that. And in fact, Clemson’s offense — one that routinely lights up other teams, even from the SEC — has not scored more than 17 during this five-game stretch. The Tigers are going to figure out something in a hurry (and they’d better hope Deshaun Watson makes a huge difference at quarterback against the porous South Carolina defense) because for now, all they can do is shake their fists and mutter to themselves when Spurrier’s latest quip comes down.
Get your popcorn: Little Giants. Because in this rivalry, it’s like Dabo is Rick Moranis and Spurrier is Ed O’Neill, just kind of an unflappable jerk who Moranis can’t ever seem to beat…until…he does. Maybe Clemson should run the Annexation of Puerto Rico?
Obviously, that’s a massive over-simplificiation of the Georgia Tech-Georgia rivalry. But it’s probably what the casual college football fan thinks of first when he or she thinks of both schools.
What Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson probably thinks of, however, is "must-win" game. Both schools have a ton on the line in this game, as both sit at 9-2 overall and with a real shot at getting into one of the upper-tier bowls. So it’s big for Georgia Tech for that reason alone. But it’s bigger when you think about the fact that Georgia Tech has lost 12 of the last 13 games and has won just one of the games under Johnson (in 2008). Georgia Tech hasn’t held Georgia below 31 points since 2006, but three of the last five meetings have been one-score Georgia Tech losses. The offense has showed up in this game, and now the defense needs to join them if the Yellow Jackets want to break this streak.
Get your popcorn: Revenge of the Nerds, of course. Or at least, Georgia Tech certainly hopes so.
The only football rivalry that evokes more basketball jokes than this one is Carolina-Duke, but don’t get let each program’s hardcourt success fool you — both take this game very seriously, and both really, really want to win it.
Bobby Petrino went 4-0 against the Wildcats during his first stint at Louisville, scoring an average of 39.5 points and winning by an average of 26. Louisville would lose four in a row after his departure before winning three straight in the final years of the Charlie Strong era, though all have been relatively close (save the 2012 18-point win).
Get your popcorn: Secretariat. Because it’s a movie about horseracing. And what better kind of movie to associate with this in-state rivalry?
Yes, who would have thought that when Virginia Tech hosted in-state rival Virginia to end the season, it would be with bowl eligibility on the line for both teams? It’s now been 10 straight for the Hokies over the Cavaliers, and your guess is as good as anyone’s as to how this one will go.
Virginia Tech isn’t the Virginia Tech we’re used to seeing — the Hokies only have two wins at home this year, and none against a Power-5 team — and Virginia, while it’s been frisky at times, good at others and downright bad for a stretch, is not nearly as bad as it’s been over the last four to five years. Both of these teams are puzzling, and there are times when watching their games feels like watching some weird performance art. And so…
Get your popcorn: Un Chien Andalou. This needs no further explanation. Watch this trailer at your own discretion, though, just as you should watch this game at your own discretion. But said viewer discretion is, in both cases, advised.