Let's start with a 2010 ACC Conference (Atlantic Coast Conference to be exact) Preview:
In 2010 the top teams Florida State and Virginia will begin new coaching eras. The 'Noles forced Bobby Bowden into retirement and handed the reins to head coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher. Virginia dismissed Al Groh and hired Mike London away from FCS member Richmond (Va.).
Georgia Tech is the defending champion, but lost four players to early entry in the NFL draft as standout defensive end Derrick Morgan and top running back Jonathan Dwyer were joined by safety Morgan Burnett and WR Demaryius Thomas. Only the Florida Gators lost more players (5) to NFL defection.
Every ACC Conference member plays one FCS school, except for Virginia which plays two. The Cavaliers open the season against London's former team, then head out west to face USC before returning home to VMI two weeks later. The largely pathetic non-conference schedule also includes an Eastern Michigan squad that went 0-12 last year and owns the nation's second-longest losing streak (Western Kentucky tops the list with 20 straight losses). The schedule may give London time to adapt to his new job, but UVa lost last year's opener to William & Mary.
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Florida State opens against FCS member Samford, but then heads to Oklahoma before drawing BYU at home. The 'Noles also close out the season with Florida at Bobby Bowden Field.
For the third straight year, Virginia Tech opens with a tough opponent at a neutral field. The Hokies were upset by East Carolina, 27-22, two years ago in Charlotte, and lost 34-24 to Alabama in Atlanta last year in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. This year, Frank Beamer's bunch heads to the nation's capital to play designated host to a dangerous Boise State team that returns 21 starters but lost its defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, to Tennessee in the offseason. That game will be played on Labor Day evening.
North Carolina draws the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic game this year where it will face LSU. The game marks the third year of the high profile event that has featured a top ACC-SEC matchup each season. The SEC representative is 2-0 in those contests.
Clemson, last year's loser in the ACC Championship game, will have to adjust to life without C.J. Spiller. His 2009 performance topped the ACC in kick returns and all-purpose yards. Spiller also finished last season 4th in rushing yardage and second in yards from scrimmage. The Tigers open with consecutive home games against lightweights North Texas and Presbyterian. The Mean Green went 2-10 last year while the FCS member Blue Hose (no joke) went 0-11.
As one of the college football conferences, the Atlantic Coast Conference began divisional play in football in 2005. Division leaders compete in a playoff game to determine the ACC championship. The inaugural Championship Game was played on December 3, 2005, in Jacksonville, Florida, in which Florida State defeated Virginia Tech to capture its 12th championship since it joined the league in 1992. The 2009 ACC Championship Game was played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida with Georgia Tech defeating Clemson by a score of 39-34.
The ACC Conference is the only NCAA Division I conference whose divisions are not divided geographically (North/South, East/West).
This division structure leads to each team playing the following games:
Within the Bowl Championship Series, the Orange Bowl serves as the home of the ACC champion against another BCS at-large selection unless the conference's champion is selected for the national championship game.
The other bowls pick ACC Conference teams in the order listed. As of the 2006 season, the ACC championship game loser cannot fall below the Music City Bowl. Moreover, a bowl game can bypass a team in the selection process only if the two teams in question are within one game of each other in the overall ACC standings. This rule was instituted in response to concerns over the 2005 bowl season, in which Atlantic Division co-champion Boston College fell to the last-pick MPC Computers Bowl (now the Humanitarian Bowl).
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