ACC Showdown features Florida State at Clemson

The ACC is aiming for some respect this season. That makes it even more fitting that the first matchup between two top five teams in college football involves two teams from the ACC.

This is the first time since 2005 there has been a matchup involving two ACC teams in the top five. Most football writers, fans and pollsters have put little interest in the ACC when it comes to the gridiron.

Most talk about the ACC and its football prowess only until the basketball season starts with practice at the end of October.

However, this weekend all eyes are focused on Death Valley in South Carolina for the matchup between the Florida State Seminoles and the host Clemson Tigers.

This game is just the first of several over the coming weeks that will shape the national championship outlook.

The ACC is out for some respect and this is the time to grab it and shed once and for all the SEC’s “little brother” moniker the conference has been labeled with for years.

This season, just as the SEC does, the ACC currently has three schools in the nation’s top 10. Clemson is No. 3, Florida State is No. 5 and Miami is No. 10. Only the ACC has two teams that are in the nation’s top 5. Of course, after today’s game there will only be one.

This early in the season, the rankings are not as important but in actual action, Miami has defeated Florida and Clemson has downed Georgia. Little Brother is stared to worry Big Brother the SEC.

Clemson has more press written about the teams they lost to than those they defeated. However, the Tigers won the Chick-fil-A Bowl last season against LSU and started this regular season with a win over Georgia. That is two wins against Top 10 teams and both from the SEC.

Clemson’s nemesis has been in-state rival South Carolina, another SEC stalwart. The Gamecocks behind head coach Steve Spurrier have beaten the Tigers four straight times, which in South Carolina feels like 40 straight times.

Clemson is 17-2 since ending the 2011 season in humiliation in a 70-33 loss in the Orange Bowl to West Virginia. Over that period, they have lost to just South Carolina and Florida State.

Florida State has not won in Death Valley since 2001. Last season, when the teams played, they were both ranked in the Top 10 and FSU defeated Clemson 49-37 in Tallahassee.

The winner of today’s matchup will likely represent the Atlantic division of the ACC in the conference championship. On the other side of the conference in the Coastal division Miami is undefeated and Virginia Tech is starting to play well and are up to No. 19 in the polls.

Clemson won its only national title back in 1981, while Florida State’s last was in 1999. This might be the year for both, but to win it they will likely have to go through the SEC to do it.

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