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Most high schools create some sort of superlatives list for senior students at the end of each academic year. I was personally robbed of class clown my senior year, but who's holding a grudge?
Flipping the script a little bit, I'm handing out superlatives for ACC football teams as the season gets fully underway. After reading through my takes, vote for each superlative below.
Best Dressed: Florida State
Unless you're a fan of another Florida school, you can't hate on Florida State's football uniforms. The combination of that iconic spear on the gold helmet matched with the Seminole logo on the gold pants is a subtle yet awesome feature. The tribal design on the sleeves and collar bring it all together. Besides Oregon, I would argue that Florida State does the best job of incorporating its mascot into the uniforms. The Seminoles take the cake for this superlative.
Best Gameday Atmosphere: Clemson
The tradition of college football is unmatched by any other sport. Most schools create some sort of pregame spectacle to enhance the game day experience for fans. From the Hurricanes running through the smoke to Virginia Tech's “Enter Sandman,” ACC schools provide a great platform for pregame traditions.
No other ACC school does college football game days better than Clemson in Death Valley. Proclaimed by broadcaster Brent Musberger as "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football," Clemson players rub Howard's Rock before running down the hill onto the field. This tradition began in 1967 when the players started rubbing the rock before each game to which legendary coach Frank Howard said, "If you're going to give me 110 percent, you can rub that rock. If you're not, keep your filthy hands off of it."
Best College Town: Charlottesville, Virginia
Ignore my bias here for a couple of paragraphs. Having grown up in Charlottesville and after visiting multiple ACC hometowns, I can confidently say that C-Ville is the ultimate college town. One of the most historically prominent colleges in the United States, there's a certain tradition oozing from this outstanding campus.
The UVA campus is located in a beautiful region of the country, as the Blue Ridge Mountains provide Charlottesville with a scenic backdrop. From studying on the lawn at the Rotunda to celebrating a big win at the Corner, UVA students fall in love with this place for good reason.
Most Improved: Syracuse
Is there a more improved and surprising team in college football than Syracuse? The Orange (3-1, 1-0) has already matched its win total from a season ago. Also, keep in mind; Syracuse has been ravished by injuries at the quarterback spot. This past week in a valiant effort against #9 LSU, the starting quarterback was former 5th-string and walk-on, Zack Mahoney. The College of DuPage product made some pretty interesting school history in his first FBS start ever. Mahoney became the first Syracuse quarterback to throw three touchdown passes against a top 10 team in one half. The offense played nicely against a strong SEC defense and the defense did its best to hold Leonard Fournette in check. Things are looking up in the ‘Cuse.
Win the ACC Championship: Florida State
Clemson or FSU? FSU or Clemson? Wait don't count out NC State. You can't forget about Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami in the coastal division either. This one is a toss up and we need your help to decide.
I went with Florida State based on just pure experience, especially at the quarterback spot. Everett Golson has struggled so far for the Noles, but with more games will come better chemistry. He's the only starting quarterback in the ACC who's been to a national championship. That's saying something in the long run.
Win ACC Player of the Year: Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson has looked solid in Clemson's opening three games of the season. The ACC Preseason Player of the Year ranks fourth nationally in completion percentage (.774) while throwing for 641 yards and 7 TDs compared to just three interceptions. Watson's 165.3 quarterback rating also ranks 18th nationally.
While Florida State's Dalvin Cook and Duke's Thomas Sirk could challenge Deshaun Watson for this award, the Clemson dual-threat quarterback is the sure front-runner at this point in the season.
Dark-Horse to win the ACC: NC State
Wolfpack nation will tell you firsthand that NC State has a legitimate shot to win the ACC for the first time since 1979. This prediction is not farfetched by any means. NC State closed 2014 by winning four of its last five games and the Wolfpack return 14 starters, including quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett has been pretty flawless so far for the Wolfpack. The senior from West Palm Beach leads the nation in pass completion percentage (.779) while throwing for 806 yards, 6 TDs and no picks.
NC State (4-0, 0-0) is undefeated but that has come against inferior competition. The Pack have played 1 FCS school and the 3 others are now ranked #121, #123 and #127 (out of 128) in the latest FEI ratings. N.C. State has its first true test of the season at home against Louisville this Saturday.