These are the 10 games involving ACC teams I can't wait to see in 2009. Whether they will affect the conference's national perception or decide a division title, these are the games I'm circling.
10. Baylor at Wake Forest - Sept. 5
Baylor QB Robert Griffin made his college football debut in a loss to Wake Forest last season. In 2009, the sophomore has the Bears thinking about bowl eligibility. One of the players I'm most looking forward to watching in 2009 opens his season in Winston-Salem against a depleted Wake Forest defense.
9. Maryland at Cal - Sept 5.
Another opening week game (there are four on the list). We'll find out quickly about Maryland's offensive line and if Da'Rel Sc'ott has any chance of repeating his 2008 numbers. Also, look for Jahvid Best to run for about 8,000 yards against Maryland after getting shut down last year.
8. NC State at Florida State - Oct. 31
There's a chance NC State could start the season 7-0. But after their bye week the Wolfpack's schedule looks like this: at FSU, Maryland, Clemson, at Virginia Tech, North Carolina. The Pack will have to earn their trip to Tampa and we'll find out if they're for real on Halloween in Tallahassee.
7. Miami at Florida State - Sept. 7
Monday Night Football between Da U and F$U. Like it should be.
6. North Carolina at NC State - Nov. 28
We go from the start of the season to the end of the regular season. The Tar Heels and Wolfpack finish their conference schedule the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Raleigh. There's a chance one or both teams could still be looking for a trip to the ACCCG when they meet.
5. Georgia Tech at Florida State - Oct. 10
The Jackets came up with a huge goalline stop to beat FSU in Atlanta last season. This year they travel to Tallahassee, where they've never won (0-6). The winner of the best inter-division game of 2009 will have a big edge on capturing their own division.
4. Oklahoma at Miami - Oct. 3
I think Miami wins this game. The Sooners' offensive line has to be completely rebuilt and I think they'll lose three games in 2009, including this one. If Jacory Harris has an efficient game, I think the Hurricanes will put enough pressure on Sam Bradford to disrupt the OU offense and pull the upset.
3. Florida State at Clemson - Nov. 7
These are the two favorites in the Atlantic. Will Clemson's home-field advantage help it make its first trip to the ACCCG? The Tigers have the defense to do it. It's the offense that will need to prove itself.
2. Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech - Oct. 17
On the same day OU plays Texas, the Hokies travel to Atlanta. Like the FSU-Clemson game, the consensus favorite visits the consensus No. 2 in the Coastal. Virginia Tech played smart enough on defense and got just enough offense to beat Georgia Tech and receive the tiebreaker it needed to win the division in 2008. Paul Johnson will have a few new tricks for Bud Foster and the Hokies will have a better offense against a Georgia Tech team that lost a lot on defense.
1. Virginia Tech vs. Alabama - Sept. 5
What more can you say about this one? Both squads have high expectations heading into the season. The Hokies are playing for pride for not only themselves, but their entire conference. It's a neutral site, it's primetime and it can't get here fast enough.