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The ACC's Top 15 Must-See Games of 2017


The ACC put its best foot forward as the premier college football conference in the nation last year when Clemson topped Alabama for the national title.

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There is plenty of interest all over the map, but right now, it would be hard-pressed to find a league with more star-studded matchups across the board this season.

Put it this way: When neither the reigning champ nor the team that returns the Heisman Trophy winner is projected to be the top squad in its division, you are looking at quite the loaded league.

Toss in a couple of marquee outsiders looking to boost their College Football Playoff resumes, and you have some treat-worthy viewing.

Here's a look at the top 15 games for the 2017 season to watch involving ACC teams:

1. Florida State vs. Alabama (Sept. 2 – Atlanta)

Clear your calendar for the biggest regular season game of the year, regardless of conference or any other metric. Alabama has made the College Football Playoff in all three years of its existence and probably will again. There's a decent chance of a rematch with the Seminoles if the Crimson Tide do. Call it a playoff preview if you will, just so long as you watch, because it will not get much better than this.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Alabama
College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU

Related: Top 10 ACC Non-Conference Games of 2017

2. Florida State at Clemson (Nov. 11)

Every so often, a rivalry can annually mold the college football landscape. Currently, Florida State-Clemson does just that. While Clemson might stumble out of the gate by virtue of having to replace such an enormous loss of experience and talent to the NFL, it will probably have the kinks worked out by the time the Seminoles stroll into Death Valley.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson
College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU

3. Louisville at Florida State (Oct. 21)

Yes, another Florida State game. No, not a mistake. A year ago, Lamar Jackson eviscerated the Seminoles in a 63-20 blowout in Papa John's Stadium that launched his Heisman campaign into the stratosphere. You can bet this one is every bit as important to FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and Co. as the first two games on this list. Expect Doak Campbell Stadium to be bloodthirsty for revenge.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU
College football rankings: Louisville

4. Clemson at Louisville (Sept. 16)

Last year's duel between Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson was one of the most thrilling of 2016, but the Cardinals came up on the short end in the final minute. This one will hinge on whether or not new Cardinals offensive line coach Mike Summers can piece together an underachieving unit to hold up against Clemson's unrelenting front four.

College football rankings: Louisville
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson

5. Clemson vs. Auburn (Sept. 9)

As noted previously, the time to catch Clemson this year is at the beginning of the season when the Tigers are breaking in a new quarterback and synching him with a revamped group of skill players. Auburn, which nearly pulled off the upset last year at Jordan-Hare Stadium, has the potential to finish the job this time behind JUCO transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Auburn
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson

6. Clemson at Virginia Tech (Sept. 30)

It may seem a little strange to see a rematch of last year's ACC title game all the way down at No. 6 on this list, but that's just where the conference sits in 2017. Blacksburg's Lane Stadium might be as raucous as it gets when the Tigers visit, but – like Clemson – the Hokies need to stabilize the quarterback position to come away with a win here.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Virginia Tech
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson

7. Florida State at Florida (Nov. 25)

If everything falls into place for the Seminoles, this would be the last domino to fall for their regular season run to the College Football Playoff. Along with the No. 8 game on this list, this pretty much offers some of the hardest-hitting football you will see every season. The Gators are still figuring out their quarterback situation, but have the talent to derail their rivals' title hopes.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Florida
College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU

8. Miami at Florida State (Sept. 16)

This rivalry is still in the "baby steps" stages of being truly "back," when these programs essentially did what Florida State and Clemson are doing now but to a much larger degree. Last year's win by the Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium was decided by just a point. This year, the Hurricanes boast an elite front seven that will be able to keep this one within striking distance again.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Miami

9. Pittsburgh at Penn State (Sept. 9)

Remember how everyone was up in arms last year about how Penn State should have gone to the College Football Playoff instead of Ohio State because it beat the Buckeyes head-to-head and won the Big Ten? Remember that? Well, don't forget Pittsburgh beat the Nittany Lions, and had that result gone the other way, all that controversy never happens. James Franklin's bunch wants revenge, badly.