The biggest game in the ACC–and probably college football–this weekend is Clemson-Louisville. It’s two top-five teams, with the winner standing a very good chance of winning the Atlantic Division, the ACC, and maybe receiving a playoff spot.
However, it is not inconceivable that Clemson could beat Louisville, and then lose to Florida State. If that did happen, then this Saturday’s North Carolina-Florida State game will also take on quite a bit of importance in both divisions.
If FSU wants to win the Atlantic, then they almost certainly cannot take on another conference loss. It seems unlikely that either Clemson or Louisville will lose two or more ACC games. The Florida State-Louisville game was a complete destruction, but it might not do as much damage to FSU’s conference title hopes as it may have seemed, if Clemson wins this weekend. Three teams tied with one loss each will also bring in the tiebreakers which have become news as of late.
For North Carolina, a loss to Florida State would not knock them out of the Coastal Division running. However, the division as a whole appears to be fairly evenly matched. They have the advantage on Pitt, but Miami and Virginia Tech have both looked pretty solid in their games so far.
It’s possible that UNC could drop two (and possibly more) conference games. Two losses might not take them out of the Coastal race. Three almost certainly would. Losing to Florida State wouldn’t do a ton of harm to UNC’s chances. However, a win would be a huge bonus in a game Carolina was not expected to win before the season.
Miami will also have to play Florida State. Pitt plays Clemson. Virginia Tech won’t play any of the three Atlantic major contenders. In-division games will end up deciding who wins the division, but a team flipping a game against Louisville, FSU, or Clemson could play a part.
It’s hard to know for sure the implications this game actually has. It’s still too early in the season to tell. There will still be a lot of football after this weekend. However, this game could be a major factor in the race in both sides of the conferences. Then again both teams could also be out of contention by November.
Then there is also the chance that Wake Forest runs the table and both teams get taken down by the Demon Deacons buzzsaw.