Oct 26, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) warms up before the start of the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Virginia Tech @ Boston College – 12pm (ET)
Both teams are looking to rebound from tough losses last week, with the Hokies falling to Duke at home and the Eagles getting embarrassed on the road at North Carolina. While Virginia Tech’s offense hasn’t been pretty this year, their defense has been phenomenal. In order for Boston College to stand any chance in this one, they’ll need Chase Rettig to have a big rebound from last week’s performance (10-20, 57 yards). It may not take much of a bounce back, though, as Virginia Tech has only managed to score 20+ points once in four ACC contests (a 27-17 win vs UNC).
Virginia Tech 17 – Boston College 6
North Carolina @ North Carolina State – 12:30pm (ET)
Sep 21, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner (2) runs before throwing a touchdown pass in the first half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
North Carolina finally got into the win column in ACC competition last week, beating up on Boston College to the tune of a 34-10 victory. It was a big win for a Tar Heel team that had struggled to close games out all year long, leading to a disappointing 1-5 start. It appears they’re back on track, though, and could present a problem for teams down the stretch. NCSU, meanwhile, has fallen to pieces since the start of ACC play, losing all four of their contests by at least 12 points. With NCSU struggling with inconsistent quarterback play (102nd in passing efficiency), can they keep up with Bryn Renner and North Carolina?
North Carolina 24 – North Carolina State 20
Wake Forest @ Syracuse – 12:30pm (ET)
In their first season of ACC competition, Syracuse has played two miserable games and one great one. Their non-existent passing game and vulnerable defense has often left them in nearly-insurmountable holes early on in games and staying within a possession at halftime will be key against the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest has been on an impressive run as of late, picking up blow-out victories over NC State and Maryland before suffering a tough, 24-21 loss to #7 Miami. While the running game has been miserable, quarterback Tanner Price has stepped up, throwing 801 yards and 6 touchdowns over the course of his last three contests. It will probably be close, but expect Wake to take this one.
Wake Forest 20 – Syracuse 14
#8 Clemson @ Virginia – 3:30pm (ET)
Oct 26, 2013; College Park, MD, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) drops back to pass against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
So far this season, Clemson hasn’t been as dominant as most believed they would be, but a trip to Virginia give quarterback Tajh Boyd and Co. a chance to pick up an easy victory. Since starting the season 2-1, the Cavaliers have lost five straight and have left head coach Mike London on the hot seat. While David Watford has shown steady improvement–including a 376 yard, touchdown performance in their 35-25 loss to Georgia Tech last week–the team has failed to turn in a complete, 60-minute effort. When you consider the fact that the Cavs have yet to score more than 26 points against an FBS opponent this season, it is hard to give them much of a chance in this one.
Clemson 35 – Virginia 13
Pittsburgh @ Georgia Tech – 7:00pm (ET)
Has there been a more up-and-down team in the ACC than Pittsburgh? After being embarrassed in their first ever ACC contest by Florida State, the Panthers bounced back and picked up impressive victories at Duke (58-55) and against Virginia (14-3). How did they follow that up? On October 12th, they went into Blacksburg and were embarrassed by Virginia Tech, posting just 210 yards in a 19-9 loss. Their non-conference contests have been much of the same, as they posted an impressive 49-27 victory over New Mexico, an underwhelming 34-24 win over Old Dominion and a full-on collapse in a 24-21 loss to Navy. They’ve become unpredictable and there is no telling which Panther team will show up in Atlanta. With Pittsburgh boasting a fairly decent rushing defense, however, I’m feeling good about them this week. Pretty sure I’ll regret this, but:
Pittsburgh 24 – Georgia Tech 21
#7 Miami @ #3 Florida State – 8pm (ET)
Aug 30, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) runs up the middle during the second half against the Florida Atlantic Owls at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
As fun as this game looks on paper, I will be shocked if Miami keeps it close. The Hurricanes have been hanging on for dear life the last three weeks and their luck should run out against Jameis Winston and the Seminoles. Florida State has looked unstoppable all season, with their smallest margin of victory being a 38-24 victory over Boston College. Then again, these two teams hate each other and rivalry games never seem to go according to plan. Perhaps the Hurricanes make a serious, thrilling game out of this, but I don’t see it.
Miami 21 – Florida State 42