Carolina tussle: No. 21 Tar Heels meet the Gamecocks to top the ACC's Week 1 slate

Here are things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 1:


No. 21 North Carolina against South Carolina in Charlotte. The neighboring-state programs open with a Saturday matchup in Charlotte.

The Tar Heels have a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Drake Maye leading a team picked to finish third in the ACC. They're facing a team that was picked to finish third in its Southeastern Conference division under third-year coach Shane Beamer and led by quarterback Spencer Rattler.

Beamer's first squad beat the Tar Heels on the same field in the Duke's Mayo Bowl to end the 2021 season. And the Gamecocks have dominated the series recently, with UNC winning only twice in roughly four decades: in 1991, during Mack Brown's first coaching tenure, and in the 2019 opener that started Brown's second stint.


The ACC has two new coaches in Louisville's Jeff Brohm and Georgia Tech's Brent Key. They open against each other.

The Cardinals face the Yellow Jackets on Friday night in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. Both coaches are leading programs at their alma maters: Brohm left a successful run at Purdue, while Key led a strong finish as the interim coach through the second half of last season to earn the permanent job.


Old Dominion has shocked Virginia Tech twice before. Can the Monarchs do it again?

ODU travels to Blacksburg on Saturday night having split four meetings with the Hokies going back to 2017. Wins in 2018 (49-35) and last year (20-17) each came on their home field, though the Monarchs lost in 2017 (38-0) and 2019 (31-17) on the road in the instate series.

Virginia Tech was an early 14 1/2-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.


Duke hosts No. 9 Clemson on Labor Day aiming to end a long skid against teams ranked in the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll. The Blue Devils have lost 28 straight games to top-10 foes since beating then-No. 7 Clemson in 1989, a season that saw Steve Spurrier's squad win the ACC title.

The Tigers haven't visited the Blue Devils since 2012. Duke hasn't beaten Clemson — though the teams didn't play often in the league's cross-divisional scheduling rotation — since 2004.


Jordan Travis gets an early chance to grab the spotlight as No. 8 Florida State starts a season of high expectations.

Travis, who was runner-up to Maye for preseason pick as league player of the year, leads the Seminoles against No. 5 LSU on Sunday in Orlando, Florida. He took a big step last year by throwing for 24 touchdowns with only five interceptions, and also ran for seven touchdowns for the third consecutive season.

Another big performance could give the Seminoles their first win against a top-10 nonconference opponent since beating then-No. 6 Michigan in the Orange Bowl to end the 2016 season.


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