CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 2018 college football season hasn’t yet started, but Florida State running back Cam Akers is already getting excited about Week 9.
That’s when the Seminoles will play host to defending ACC Champion and conference foe Clemson at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27.
“That’s a rivalry game that we look forward to every year,” Akers said Thursday during the ACC Football Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte hotel. “So, I can’t wait to see how the game is going to go this year.”
If you ask Akers, the Clemson-Florida State rivalry is comparable to that of FSU-Florida and FSU-Miami.
It has certainly been a more meaningful rivalry in recent memory. While Florida has mostly struggled since Urban Meyer left after the 2009 season, and Miami just recently returned to relevance under Mark Richt, the Clemson-FSU game has decided the last nine ACC Atlantic Division titles — with the winner going on to win the conference in each of the last seven years.
So, a case can be made that Clemson is now arguably Florida State’s biggest rival.
“I feel like it’s right up there with both of them,” Akers said. “I feel like me personally, just coming to Florida, the Florida rivalry is bigger because we’re in Florida. But I feel like Clemson is just as big. A lot of people don’t like Clemson in Tally.”
Akers hopes to make a bigger impact against Clemson this season than he did as a freshman last Nov. 11, when the Tigers’ defense held him to 40 yards rushing on 12 carries in their 31-14 win at Death Valley.
“Great D,” Akers said. “They’ve got a great defensive line. Clemson has a great defensive line, a great team in general.”
Clemson has claimed three consecutive ACC Championships dating to the 2015 season and has the talent to once again contend for the national this season. Florida State, meanwhile, is looking for its first conference title since 2014 under first-year coach Willie Taggart.
Akers believes the Tigers are getting a lot more preseason attention than the Seminoles, but it doesn’t bother him as he prepares for the 2018 campaign.
“I feel like they are,” he said. “Definitely they are, right now. They won the ACC. But that doesn’t matter to me. I’m ready to work and compete.”