With National Signing Day in the rear view and March Madness quickly approaching, the start of the 2014 college football season is still more than half a year away. As each day passes however, the excitement grows.
Two weeks ago, we began a four-part series breaking down the ACC’s top 20 non-conference games for 2014. The countdown began with numbers 16 through 20 followed by numbers 11 through 15. We’ve finally cracked the top 10 and here is a countdown from 10th to sixth as far as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s best non-conference games for 2014 is concerned:
10. Cincinnati at Miami
Saturday, October 11th
A battle of nine-win teams from a season ago, Cincinnati will make the trip down to Sun Life Stadium to face the Hurricanes. In his fourth season, Al Golden will look to continue transforming Miami back into a national power. It will be a game of redemption as the Bearcats look to avenge a 39-17 Belk Bowl loss to North Carolina in its last game against the ACC. Miami has handled by the AAC falling 36-9 to the ACC’s newest member, Louisville, in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
9. USC at Boston College
Saturday, September 13th
While Duke wore the ACC Cinderella slipper in 2013, it was Boston College that actually had the biggest turnaround from the previous season. The Eagles went from 2-10 in 2012 to 7-6 in 2013, but Boston College was manhandled by USC 35-7 in last year’s meeting at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Boston College however, was 5-1 at Alumni Stadium a season ago with the only loss coming to eventual national champion Florida State. With a cross country trip to Chestnut Hill, the Trojans will need to be ready to play to avoid heading back west with a loss.
8. North Carolina at Notre Dame
Saturday, October 11th
North Carolina’s mid-October trip to South Bend will be a match-up of offensive minded coaches and dual-threat quarterbacks as coaches Larry Fedora and Brian Kelly meet for the first time at their current schools. Quarterback Marquise Williams helped lead a 5-1 finish for North Carolina a season ago while Everett Golson returns for Notre Dame after being dismissed from the school prior to last season. Golson led Notre Dame to the BCS National Championship as a redshirt freshman in 2012.
7. Florida at Florida State
Saturday, November 29th
The battle for the Sunshine State pits defending national champion Florida State against the last team it lost to, Florida. The Seminoles handled the Gators 37-7 a season ago, but Florida won 37-26 in its last trip to Tallahassee. Florida head coach Will Muschamp’s job may be on the line in this one as he faces Jimbo Fisher — his former colleague at LSU. In their three head-to-head match-ups, the road team has won every game. Under Fisher, the Seminoles are 5-1 against the SEC.
6. Florida State vs. Oklahoma State (Dallas)
Saturday, August 30th
Florida State begins its national title defense against one of the Big XII’s elite in Oklahoma State. While Florida State captured the ACC crown for a second straight year in 2013, the Cowboys fell just a rivalry victory shy of its second conference title in three seasons. The contest could feature a lot of offense as Mike Gundy’s spread attack goes against a Florida State squad that scored a NCAA-record 678 points a season ago. The Seminoles also return Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Jameis Winston.