No. 9 Clemson and No. 23 North Carolina will meet in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina. This showdown for the conference championship will be a rematch of the 2015 conference title game that kick-started the Tigers' run of six consecutive trips to the College Football Playoff. There are no CFP implications for either team in this one, but the game remains a key pivot point for two programs in two different places in the ACC landscape. Clemson wants to bring the ACC title home for a seventh time in eight years after seeing gets run get snapped in 2021, while North Carolina is hoping to win the school's first ACC football championship since 1980.
Clemson has dominated the overall series between these two ACC founding members, holding a 38-19-1 advantage and currently riding a four-game winning streak that includes that 2015 ACC title game. Dabo Swinney is 4-1 against the Tar Heels, losing his first matchup in Chapel Hill in 2010 but winning the next four and putting up 45 points or more in three of those four wins. The outlier was the 21-20 thriller in 2019 that saw Mack Brown, then in his first year back as North Carolina head coach, go for a two-point conversion that failed late in the fourth quarter against then-No. 1 Clemson.
The Charlotte-based title game is an easy drive for both fan bases, so the stadium should provide plenty of pop for a conference championship that is more about program pride than playoff implications. Lets get into what you need to know for the matchup.
Follow along with all the action between Clemson and North Carolina with our ACC Championship Game live blog.
How to watch Clemson vs. North Carolina live
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium -- Charlotte, North Carolina
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Clemson vs. North Carolina: Need to know
Tigers playoff hopes dashed by a rival in streak snapping fashion: Clemson had a path to the playoff as a one-loss conference champion until it fell to rival South Carolina on the final week of the regular season to drop to 10-2 on the year. The loss also snapped the program's 40-game home winning streak, which had lasted so long that no member of the current roster had even experienced a defeat in Death Valley. Playing for the ACC Championship represents a chance to quickly move past that disappointment and focus on having a trophy to show for the team's efforts to re-establish Clemson's place among its peers in the league.
Tar Heels entering off back-to-back losses: North Carolina also enters the game hoping to move past recent setbacks on the field, having lost back-to-back home games to Georgia Tech and rival NC State by a combined seven points to close out the regular season. A few more plays in the other direction in the last two weeks and the Tar Heels, currently with a 9-3 record, could have been among those teams looking to add some chaos to the playoff picture on Saturday. Instead the stakes are entirely on winning the conference, which does still resonate given the program's 42-year ACC title drought.
Drake Maye picks up ACC Player of the Year honors: Though many realized North Carolina had a talented quarterback prospect in Drake Maye, few could foresee the redshirt freshman taking college football by storm the way he has in 2022. This week Maye became just the second freshman in ACC history to be named the conference's player of the year, joining Jameis Winston from the 2013 campaign that saw him win a Heisman Trophy and Florida State win a national championship. The four-award sweep of ACC Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year, ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year makes him among the most decorated Tar Heels in program history, and his 3,847 passing yards are already a new single-season school record. The quarterback strength in the ACC was well-documented coming into the season, but no one had zeroed in one Maye having not just the best season in the conference but one of the best seasons of any player in the entire country. Saturday night's test against a stout Clemson defense will be a great chance for Maye to deliver on a big stage, and potentially add an MVP award to this busy week of accolades.
Clemson vs. North Carolina prediction, picks
Clemson is the better team, but the door is open for an upset in a way that we haven't seen in a long time when it comes to these conference championship showdowns against the Coastal Division. North Carolina has some injury concerns and its been far from a consistent team this season, but it has a market edge at quarterback and should be playing with considerably less pressure given the preseason expectations. Prediction: North Carolina +7.5
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