ORLANDO, Fla. - Saturday, Virginia Tech will tangle with Clemson in the 2016 Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game at Orlando's Camping World Stadium. The game is being played in Florida, after the conference pulled championships out of North Carolina in response to the state's controversial House Bill 2.
The Hokies, playing in the conference title game for the first time since 2011 (also vs. Clemson), are seeking a fifth ACC Championship. Since VT joined the ACC in 2004, no team owns more ACC Championships (4). Florida State also has four.
"We have a tremendous challenge ahead of us this week," said Tech head coach Justin Fuente, who was voted ACC Coach of the Year Tuesday. "We are playing a very talented, well-coached Clemson team. They have great players all over the place. They have good coaches, good schemes and really good players. There is a reason they won 25 of the last 27 or something like that. They are very good. We will have a great week of preparation trying to get ready to go down there. Hopefully, we will bring a lot of Hokies with us. We will see what happens.”
It's the first conference championship game for Fuente, who has a history with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. In 2011, Fuente, then TCU's offensive coordinator, was a finalist for the OC vacancy at Clemson.
“I haven’t been in a conference championship game," Fuente told reporters Monday. "The year we won it at Memphis, we didn’t have one because we were in an odd year. To me, it is an honor to play on this weekend. First of all, there are a lot of good football players and good football teams that are not able to play this weekend. Secondly, it is a normal week in terms of preparation. It’s not like a bowl game where you have to adjust the calendar or anything like that. I haven’t reached out to too many people because it falls in our normal schedule. Usually the advice I do solicit is in terms of handling a particular situation or scheduling quirk. We will try and make it as much business as usual this week as possible.”
Virginia Tech and Clemson kickoff at 8pm Saturday in Orlando.