Two of the three ACC games against respectable opponents weren't played until the final day of Labor Day weekend, and both went down to the wire. Maryland held Navy off with a game-ending goal line stand, while Virgnia Tech started their season with a first quarter reminiscent of UNC's, and as a result found themselves on the wrong end of a late fourth quarter Boise State scoring drive to lose, 33-30. The ACC finished the first week with a 10-2 record, which sounds impressive until you realize the first nine games played were against FCS teams. The conference is 1-2 against FBS teams, and came up losers in the two biggest games of the week.
This is a pretty regular refrain at this point, so I was curious to see exactly how the ACC has performed in opening games over the past few years. So I went back through the 2005 season, threw out the FCS games, and put aside the inter-conference matchups – when two ACC teams play one another, one of them has to win after all – and the results aren't pretty. The ACC is 14-18 in their first week games against FBS opponents in the past six seasons. UNC, State, and Duke are all winless, while Virginia and Virginia Tech are each 1-3. There are very few big wins, only five coming against schools from BCS conferences, and only Georgia Tech's wins over Notre Dame and Auburn having any sort of cachet.
So if you're wondering why the conference seems to start the season without any respect, there's a good place to look. It's a shame; both UNC and Virginia Tech played good teams to very tight finishes, but neither could quite get into the win column. Don't expect much attention from the media until someone does.