ACC Championship Game notebook: Winning rematch has been elusive last two years

TAMPA — For the third straight year, tonight's ACC Championship Game is a rematch of a game played earlier in the season.

Georgia Tech and Clemson met Sept. 10 in Atlanta, a game the Yellow Jackets pulled out 30-27 after squandering a 24-0 lead.

Is that an advantage for either team?

"This is unique in that we're studying ourselves playing the people we're going to play from a personnel standpoint," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Friday.

A second look at the Yellow Jackets triple option in the same season sure couldn't hurt his Tigers. But then doesn't that cut both ways?

"We probably have a little better idea defensively how they're going to play; they have a better idea of how we're going to attack what they're going to do or line up in," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "I don't know if it's an advantage for one team or the other. I don't worry about it."

For those keeping track, Boston College beat Virginia Tech during the 2007 regular season and lost in the ACC title game, then repeated that pattern last year, losing the title game at Raymond James Stadium.

Ticket update: About 50,000 tickets have been sold, which is comparable to last year when the total sold and distributed reached 53,927. But unlike last year, Clemson and Georgia Tech have used their 10,000-seat allotments. Last year, Virginia Tech and Boston College returned about 17,000 between them, which contributed to the poor actual attendance figure of 27,360.

Swinney said, "I would think this place will have a ton of orange in it (tonight).

Bowl talk: There's a lot of speculation and some debate about the bowl fate of tonight's losing team. If the Chick-fil-A selects No. 11 Virginia Tech (9-3, 6-2 ACC) as expected, then the Gator is likely to take Florida State to give retiring coach Bobby Bowden a grandiose send-off.

While some have questioned whether the New Year's Day game in Jacksonville can choose FSU (6-6, 4-4) over a team with a winning record overall, league officials have talked to the NCAA and don't believe it would be an issue.

If the Champs Sports Bowl doesn't take the title-game loser and goes for No. 17 Miami (9-3, 5-3) or North Carolina (8-4, 4-4) instead, the title-game loser can't slide below the Music City Bowl.

Hudson's hardware: Florida State G Rodney Hudson was at the ACC Coaches and Awards Luncheon on Friday at the Tampa Convention Center to pick up the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the league's top blocker. "I'm honored to get it," he said, adding it's a testament to what the entire offensive line was doing this season. "I have to thank those other four guys; they made it possible for me." Hudson said the sprained right knee that kept him out of games against Maryland and Florida "feels real good" and he will be ready for the bowl game.

Local picks: There's quite a few members of the Bucs who are ACC alums. A sampling of their predictions for tonight's winner: T Jeremy Trueblood (Boston College) — Georgia Tech; K Connor Barth (North Carolina) — Georgia Tech; WR Brian Clark (North Carolina State) — Clemson.

Brian Landman can be reached at landman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3347.

ACC Championship Game notebook: Winning rematch has been elusive last two years 12/04/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 4, 2009 10:50pm]

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