Thursday night showdown gets ACC action started in Week 4

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, here celebrating one of their two TD connections over the weekend, pose a challenge for the Georgia Tech defense. Joshua S. Kelly/USA TODAY Sports

The wait will be much shorter for ACC action this week, as Clemson and Georgia Tech get things started Thursday night in Atlanta. What else is there to get excited about in the league in Week 4? Glad you asked ...

The "Wait a Minute, This Is a Much Better Rivalry Than I Thought" game: No. 5 Clemson at Georgia Tech

Quick trivia: When's the last time the Tigers won in Atlanta? Anyone? No? OK: 2003.

Seriously, who would've guessed that? Since that meeting 13 years ago, the Yellow Jackets actually hold an 8-5 lead in this interdivision matchup, including a 28-6 win last time they hosted the Tigers, in 2014 (a game that saw Deshaun Watson leave with a knee injury). Clemson's offense finally looked the way we all expected it to this past weekend, but Georgia Tech's defense and its passing game made mini-statements of their own Saturday in a rout of Vanderbilt. Winning on the road is really, really hard. Especially on a short week, which makes this matchup that much more interesting ahead of the Tigers' showdown a week later with Louisville.

The early-season Coastal title game: Pitt at North Carolina

Yeah, we're prone to hyperbole here. But with apologies to Georgia Tech and Miami, both of which are off to hot starts and could very easily end 2016 as Coastal champions, this was the matchup that many had circled on their calendars entering the season. Pitt and North Carolina finished 1-2 a season ago, and though both teams have already suffered nonconference losses, a win Saturday would go a long way toward getting the inside track for what is almost always a chaotic division chase.

The "Don't You Dare Sleep On This One” special: No. 13 Florida State at South Florida

The Bulls rank No. 7 nationally in points per game, at 49.7. They gave the Seminoles a minor scare early last season in Tallahassee before FSU pulled away for a 20-point win. But what kind of FSU team will show up? Does the embarrassment of Saturday's 43-point division loss galvanize the 'Noles? Or does it prove to be too much to bounce back from?

The "Not Again" game: East Carolina at Virginia Tech

You have heard that ECU has a six-game winning streak against the ACC, including a win over NC State already this season. Also included in that streak: a pair of wins over the Hokies, who are coming off an impressive 49-0 showing against a Boston College defense that had looked sharp entering that contest. It's a game featuring two new staffs and two new starters at QB.

The battle between 1-2 academic behemoths: Duke at Notre Dame

Both teams need to find a way to feel good about themselves after ill-timed turnovers (Blue Devils) and porous defensive play (Irish) have contributed to 1-2 starts. Interestingly enough, Duke and Notre Dame both have 28 football wins since the start of 2013, although the Irish totally own Duke in men's basketball during that stretch, going 5-1. (We’ll just overlook that 2015 Duke national title.)

The "Defense Not Required" game of the week: No. 3 Louisville at Marshall

You may have heard a thing of two about this Lamar Jackson fella. And while his defense also impressed mightily in the rout of FSU, the opponent this week is no slouch itself: The Thundering Herd lead the Group of 5 in scoring, averaging 50 points per game (No. 6 nationally, although they've played just twice). Of course, the nation's top scoring team resides in Louisville, and it figures to stay that way Saturday in a game that promises nothing if not plenty of points.

Also around the league ...

Central Michigan at Virginia: This could be UVA's best chance for a win all season. Then again, CMU won at Oklahoma State.

Wagner at Boston College: It took four weeks for BC to get a home game, but at least the Eagles can take out their frustrations on an FCS opponent.

Syracuse at UConn: Just like old times, right? Nice of 'Cuse to steal a page from the basketball playbook and not leave the tristate area until its sixth game of the year (Oct. 8 at Wake).

Wake Forest at Indiana: Can the Deacs go 4-0 and eclipse last year's win total? The task will be much tougher without QB Kendall Hinton, who's out 2-4 weeks with a left PCL tear.