The Road to the ACC Championships

The ‘Canes may be off to a rough start with four players sitting out the first football game, but a look at this season’s opponents reveals that the chances of an Atlantic Coast Conference title remain hopeful.

The non-conference line-up is somewhat less strenuous than the ‘Canes have seen in the past. However, if the team is able to win the Coastal Division of the ACC, they can qualify for a minimum of a second tier bowl game.

Florida State – Monday, Sept. 4 at 8 p.m.
The Orange Bowl will host the annual ACC and in-state rival season opener game. This Atlantic Division team not only beat the ‘Canes in a sloppy 10-7 win last season in Doak Campbell Stadium, but they beat Virginia Tech at the ACC Championship game to continue to the FedEx Orange Bowl. The Seminoles lost to Penn State 26-23 in post-season play. FSU finished last season 8-5.

The Noles lost 14 starters at the end of last season and have 10 returning to the field.

This game is sure to be another edge-of-your-seat season opener with the two teams relatively evenly matched. Home field advantage may prove to be invaluable for the ‘Canes.

Florida A&M – Saturday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m.
After a short break from the Labor Day match-up, another Tallahassee opponent will travel to the Orange Bowl to face the ‘Canes. Florida A&M, a 1-AA division team, has battled UM six times, but only managed one win against the ‘Canes.

Rattler Head Coach Rubin Carter is no stranger to UM, having graduated in 1975. Carter, a former Hurricane football player, was an All-American defensive tackle. Carter will begin his second year as Head Coach.

Last season the Rattlers, part of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, went 6-5.

Louisville – Saturday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m.
The ‘Canes will make their first flight of the season to Kentucky to battle the Cardinals. This Big East team finished second in their conference with a 5-2 record. The Cardinals were stunned early on in the season by an upset against University of South Florida. They finished 9-3 overall after losing to Virginia Tech 35-24 in the Gator Bowl post-season.

The ‘Canes have never lost to the Cardinals, winning nine games and tying only once. However, the team has a strong offensive side featuring leading NCAA running back Michael Bush. Brian Brohm, first string quarterback, is a strong contender for the Heisman trophy.

Houston – Saturday, Sept. 30, TBA
The Houston Cougars will step into the Orange Bowl hoping to improve their record against the Hurricanes. The ‘Canes lead 10-7 in all-time wins against the Cougars.

Last year the team went 6-6, tying for third place in the West Division of the Conference USA. The Cougars were unable to defeat Kansas in the Fort Worth Bowl, falling 42-13.

North Carolina – Saturday, Oct. 7, TBA
Beginning in Oct. the ‘Canes will play their first Coastal Division opponent at home. The Hurricanes know not to tread lightly with the Tar Heels, who upset them in 2004 in a surprising 31-28 finish. After tearing town the goal post and selling its pieces, the Tar Heels were silenced in 2005 when the ‘Canes beat them 34-16.

North Carolina currently holds a winning record against Miami. The Hurricanes hope to bring the 5-4 all time record to a tie.

The Tar Heels finished 6-6 in the 2005 season.

Florida International – Saturday, Oct 14, TBA
For the first time, cross-county teams the FIU Panthers and the Hurricanes will meet in the Orange Bowl.

The Panthers currently begin their fourth season as a football team in the Sun Belt Conference. Last year they finished 5-6 and tied for fourth in their conference.

The Orange Bowl will likely be filled with UM fans since many FIU students are loyal ‘Canes supporters.

Duke – Saturday, Oct. 21, TBA
The Duke Blue Devils were unable to win any conference games in the 2005 season and settled in last place in the Coastal Division. The only win in their season was against the Virginia Military Institute.

The Hurricanes hope to extend their 2-1 lead in all time games against Duke on the road this season.

Georgia Tech – Saturday, Oct. 28, TBA
The ‘Canes will spend a second week away from home to travel to the Yellow Jackets’ home in Atlanta, GA. The Yellow Jackets finished third in the Coastal Division of the ACC, just behind Miami.

The Hurricanes seek revenge after losing to the Yellow Jackets last season 14-10, crushing the ‘Canes hopes for a chance at the ACC Championship game.

Virginia Tech – Saturday, Nov. 4, TBA
The Hokies have quickly become a conference foe for the Hurricanes since moving into the ACC in 2004. The ‘Canes, who hold a 16-7 record over the Hokies, will take on VA Tech in the Orange Bowl. The game, late in the season, will likely decide who will win the Coastal Division of the ACC.

VA Tech completed the season 11-2 after losing the ACC Championship to Florida State 27-22. The Hokies hosted the Gator Bowl where they vanquished Louisville 35-24.

Maryland – Saturday, Nov. 11, TBA
Although Maryland and Miami are no strangers, having played 14 times, the two have not met as conference opponents until this season. The ‘Canes will travel to College Park to attempt to edge a tied record (7-7) against the Terps.

Maryland finished the 2005 season with a 5-6 record. They tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division of the ACC.

Virginia – Saturday, Nov. 18, TBA
Almost at the end of the road, the ‘Canes will head to Charlottesville to face the Cavaliers in the second to last game of the season. The teams have met three times, all of which were victories for the Hurricanes.

Virginia finished 7-5 in 2005 and 3-5 in the Coastal Division of the ACC.

Boston College – Thursday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
The final game of the season will be on Thanksgiving in the Orange Bowl and the Hurricanes will be hoping the game gives them something to be thankful for.

Boston College and Miami were both members of the Big East before moving to the ACC in 2004. Miami holds a 22-3 victory record over BC. November 23 will be the 22nd anniversary of the infamous “Hail Flutie,” a 48 yard touchdown pass to beat UM that propelled Doug Flutie to the Heisman.

The Eagles finished a solid 9-3 season last year, clenching second place in the Atlantic Division, just under Virginia Tech.

Stacey Arnold may be contacted at