Beamer on talking to his team about the rare opportunity of getting to match up against No. 1.

Can anyone at Virginia Tech become the next Ed Vereb, Scott Sisson, or Peter Boulware? That will be the prevailing question Saturday when the Hokies open their football season against No. 1 Alabama in the Georgia Dome.

Unless my eyes misread the agate, or the media guide errs, this will mark the 47th time in 61 seasons that an ACC team has encountered the Associated Press’ top-ranked outfit. The ACC’s record in such games is — ouch! — 3-43.

The conquerors were Maryland in 1955, Georgia Tech in 1990 and Florida State in 1996. The heroes were players such as Vereb, Sisson and Boulware.

Coleman on footwork did in practice Tuesday, but wasn't able to do previous two weeks

* Maryland’s 1955 home opener against No. 1 UCLA attracted a then-Byrd Stadium record 46,000 fans — the Terps’ largest home crowd last season was 40,391 — and they were rewarded with a fierce defensive struggle in a steady rain.

With the game scoreless in the third quarter, Maryland coach Jim Tatum disdained a field goal attempt on fourth-and-a-foot from the Bruins’ 17.

Here’s how Sports Illustrated described it: “The play was classic split-T. [Quarterback Frank] Tamburello slid along the line of scrimmage to his right. He showed the ball tantalizingly to Bruin End Johnny Hermann, like a guide giving a tourist a flash of a French postcard. Hermann hesitated, then lunged. In that instant, Tamburello pitched the ball quickly out to the trailing halfback, Ed Vereb — and the UCLA Bruins had lost their first ball game since the 1954 Rose Bowl.”

The final was 7-0. Maryland finished the regular season 10-0 but lost the Orange Bowl to No. 3 Oklahoma 20-6.

* The first November meeting of ACC unbeatens transpired in 1990 when No. 16 and twice-tied Georgia Tech visited No. 1 Virginia. Here’s a link to my story — sorry, Cavaliers faithful — which doesn’t do justice to the brilliance that afternoon of Virginia’s Shawn Moore and Herman Moore, and Tech’s Shawn Jones.

The Yellow Jackets prevailed 41-38 on Sisson’s 37-yard field goal as time expired, later defeated Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl to complete an unbeaten season and shared the national championship with Colorado.

* Despite a 10-0 record and average victory margin of 30 points, Florida State entered its 1996 regular-season finale against Florida ranked No. 2 behind the Gators and Danny Wuerffel, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner.

Wuerffel threw for 362 yards and three scores, but the Seminoles intercepted him three times, in large measure because Boulware and his defensive mates pressured him throughout. Meanwhile, Warrick Dunn rushed for 185 yards as Florida State survived a late Gators score to win 24-21 (Chicago Tribune story here).

The teams’ Sugar Bowl rematch wasn’t nearly as close, with Wuerffel’s three touchdown passes leading the Gators to a 52-20 rout and their first national championship.

Here’s a team-by-team breakdown of the ACC against No. 1:

CLEMSON (0-4)

1958: LSU 7-0 in Sugar Bowl.

1993: at Florida State 57-0.

1995: Florida State 45-26.

1999: Florida State 17-14.

DUKE (0-8)

1958: LSU 50-18.

Beamer says he's not conceding loss to Alabama, despite Tech's injuries and underdog status