While the ACC doesn’t have any games featuring two ranked teams this week, it has exciting match-ups for fans of ACC football. Every game has a storyline that is significant to each team and, in many cases, the conference race.
Virginia vs. Wake Forest– This is a must-win game if either of these teams hope to make a bowl game this season. Virginia is on a five-game losing streak, and the Cavaliers will be going for their first conference win of the season. Wake still has to play Clemson, Notre Dame and N.C. State. I expect Wake Forest to roll past the Cavaliers in this game, as the uncertainty under center for the Cavs has lead to problems all season long.
Boston College vs. Georgia Tech– Another must-win game for a team seeking a bowl birth, and another pairing of teams entering the game on losing streaks. Boston College will be playing to earn its first win against a FBS opponent, as their only win to date has been against Maine, who plays at the FCS level. Georgia Tech has lost two games in overtime, and should get a win, as long as they run the ball effectively against a defense that allowed Army to run for 516 yards. Even a victory doesn’t guarantee the Yellow Jackets a bowl bid, as they still have to face North Carolina, BYU and Georgia.
Duke vs. North Carolina– The Battle for Tobacco Road will have some real meaning this year before the basketball season. Both teams enter the game at 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference. Duke has done surprisingly well this season, but the Tar Heels are playing at a pretty high level. The Blue Devils will need to be ready for a heavy dose of Giovani Bernard, who has rushed for 439 yard on 50 carries in the last two games, an average of 8.78 yards per carry.
Maryland vs. North Carolina State-This match-up will pit the leaders of the Atlantic Division, the Maryland Terrapins against the N. C. State Wolfpack. The Wolfpack are coming off a stunning come-from-behind home victory against Florida State, but have struggled on the road. State should carry the momentum from their upset of the Seminoles and hand the Terrapins their first conference loss.
Florida State vs. Miami– Year in and year out, this has been one of the biggest games in college football. This season, this great rivalry will have actual meaning, because Miami is leading the Coastal Division, and Florida State is only one game behind in the Atlantic. I expect both teams to come out strong, but the Seminoles high-powered offense and top-5 defense being will be too much for the young ‘Canes.
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech– Before the season, many college football fans circled the rematch of last years ACC championship game on their calendars. Unfortunately for VaTech fans, the Hokies have not lived up to expectations this season. Clemson’s high scoring offense and prolific pass attack will face a secondary that has been picked on. That will be the key to this game, and I think the Tigers pass attack will prove too much for the Hokies to stop.
*The helmet indicates my pick for winner of each game.