By Ray Hamill
For one day at least, the eyes of the college football world will not be on the SEC.
On Saturday, No. 3 Clemson will host No. 5 Florida State in the first all-top-5 matchup of the season and a game that is being billed as the biggest in ACC history.
Certainly, it appears as if both are deserved top-5 teams, in what is now a very legitimate conference with three top-10 teams and four in the top-25.
At stake, however, is far more than just conference bragging rights.
Thanks in part to Stanford losing in a stunner at Utah a week ago, and Georgia’s tough schedule catching the Bulldogs off guard one too many times, the list of national contenders is dwindling by the week.
And that means this showdown could go a long way toward deciding who eventually plays in the BCS title game, with the winner joining a shortlist of top contenders that includes No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon and No. 4 Ohio State.
Florida State, 5-0, has arguably been the more impressive of the two (barely), racking up more than 50 points in three of its five wins, including a stunning 63-0 pummeling of then-No. 25 Maryland two weeks ago.
Clemson, meanwhile, is off to a 6-0 start and is bidding for its first national championship since 1981. The Tigers avoided a scare at Boston College last week, but have showcased their national credentials with an impressive win over Georgia to open the season.
Adding to the prestige of the game, both teams feature Heisman hopeful quarterbacks – Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd – playing in front of a massive primetime audience, which could go a long way toward defining their Heisman hopes.
The game will be televised on ABC at 5 p.m. PDT.