It was back in 2005 that ACC football split into divisions and created its championship game. Remember that when those divisional splits were created, the league did so with the express purpose of setting up Miami and Florida State to play in the title game. Hence, they split the two powers apart, even though it didn’t match up geographically. The history hasn’t played out quite like anyone expected.
Miami and Florida State has not been a regular matchup for the December title game. In fact, it’s never happened. Even more shocking is that Miami has never even made the title game. Florida State’s only gone three times, including last season’s run to the Orange Bowl.
Consequently, younger fans aren’t going to recall that there was day when ‘Canes-‘Noles was not only the biggest rivalry in college football, but the hottest rivalry in sports. The Miami-FSU games of the late 1980s/early 1990s had a hype that matched the famed Red Sox-Yankees battles of the early ‘00s or the Ravens-Steelers grudge matches in the NFL in recent seasons. They were ferocious locally and highly anticipated nationally.
It’s possible this could be the year that Miami and Florida State square off in Charlotte for the right to play in the Orange Bowl. The college football coverage at the links below outline each divisional race. Miami has the right to claim favorite’s status in a balanced Coastal Division. Florida State joins Clemson as the co-faves in a top-heavy Atlantic Division.
As for myself…I’m not picking either one. I’ll go with Clemson in the Atlantic, and while I’m a little leery of Virginia Tech’s offensive problems, I like everything else about the Hokies and will take them to win the Coastal, probably with a 6-2 league record. Clemson would be TheSportsNotebook’s choice to win the conference title game and a chance to claim its first major bowl win since 1981 when the program won the national championship.