12 PM EST ESPN Saturday October 7th
Why to Watch: Who could’ve possibly expected this? Although this matchup was just a blip on the pre-season radar screen, it might be the game of the year in the ACC Atlantic Division. In what might be Wake Forest’s biggest game in two decades, it has a chance to show that the 5-0 start is no fluke against a red-hot Clemson team that’s ripped up everyone since the tough loss at Boston College. Clemson has won three in a row, including last week’s shutout of Louisiana Tech 51-0, while Wake beat Division I-AA Liberty 34-14 last week. Wake hasn’t played in a game this big in quite some time, but knocking off Clemson will solidify a top 25 ranking and show the nation that the it’s for real. A win for Clemson, on the other hand, will have the Tigers making reservations for Jacksonville.
Why Clemson Might Win: Run, Tiger, Run. The Tigers destroyed Louisiana Tech last week, and did so with three running backs going over 100 yards on the ground. – James Davis - 143, CJ Spiller - 127 and Demerick Chancellor - 113. Wake’s run defense is ranked 16th in the nation, giving up 78 yards per game, but it hasn’t seen anything like this. Although the Clemson backs garner the publicity, it’s the Clemson offensive line that should worry the Deacon defense. Clemson’s offensive front is quick and aggressive at the point of attack, and will force the Deacs to roll a safety into the box to slow down this running game.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: The Demon Deacons continue to find different ways to win games, but they’ve mainly relied on their aggressive defense having not given up more than 14 points all season long. The D is ranked ninth in the nation in scoring defense giving up an average of only eleven points per game, while on offense, QB Riley Skinner tends to play his best when the pressure is greatest.
Who to Watch: Wake Forest RB DeAngelo Bryant is major-league workhorse who can chew up yards and minutes off the clock. The Demon Deacons can’t win this game without winning the time of possession battle, and Bryant holds that key. The Clemson run defense only allows 69 yards per game, but if Bryant isn’t rolling and helping to keep his defense on the sidelines, there will be problems.
What Will Happen: The emotion in Winston-Salem will be at an all-time high, but the Tigers will quell the crowd early, even without injured WR Chansi Stuckey. The Tigers will mix the running game and the passing of QB Will Proctor to dismantle the underrated Wake defense, but it’ll take all four quarters to do it.
CFN Prediction: Clemson 31 ... Wake Forest 20 ... Line: Clemson -15.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Rachael Ray) ... 3.5
Florida State (3-1) at NC State (2-2) 7:30 PM EST ESPN Thursday October 5th
Why to Watch: After a stirring last second comeback victory over Boston College, Chuck Amato’s Wolfpack had a week off to prepare for the Seminoles in what’s become yet another must win. NC State QB Daniel Evans may have saved more than the season when he threw for the last minute, game-winning score against BC, but he gets an even tougher test this week against a Seminole team still looking for a little bit of respect after last being seen, at least on a national scale, getting run on by Clemson. The Seminoles found their inner Sammie Smith against Rice, as both RB Antone Smith and Lorenzo Booker ran for over 100 yards in a 55-7 rout, and now they have to prove that the team has a real live running game it can count on week in and week out.
Why Florida State Might Win: The FSU defense is the best unit that NC State has seen this year. Behind the leadership of Buster Davis and fellow linebacker Geno Hayes, the Noles are yielding less than 73 yards per game on the ground. The defensive speed and physical nature should frustrate Andre Brown and Toney Baker, the two State power backs, throughout the game, and should make life impossible for Evans, who’s still wet behind the ears. Don’t forget; it took a miraculous pass to get by BC, but …
Why NC State Might Win: … Evans gave State a shot of much needed confidence with that throw. The team needed something positive to kickstart things, and that might have been it. He’ll get assistance from both Brown and Baker who can stay fresh late in the game by alternating carries. Their power running, combined with Evans’ ability to throw the ball effectively against the Noles secondary, affords State the opportunity to move the ball consistently against FSU.
Who to Watch: NC State slot receiver Darrell Blackman, the one State player who can stretch the FSU defense with his speed and quickness, missed the BC game with an MCL sprain and is questionable. Whether he’s able to play is a major key to State pulling off the possible upset since he gives Evans a
What Will Happen: State’s offensive line will struggle keeping Evans upright in the pocket and the FSU defensive front will bottle up the State running back duo. Also, FSU QB Drew Weatherford will get time to throw and should pick apart an experienced State secondary with an extra second to find an open receiver. It should be a physical battle, but FSU will escape.
CFN Prediction: Florida State 24 ... NC State 14 ... Line: Florida State -10.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Rachael Ray) ... 3
North Carolina (1-3) at Miami (2-2) 12 PM EST GamePlan Saturday October 7th
Why to Watch: The Hurricanes and head coach Larry Coker needed a win in the worst way last weekend, but they also needed an impressive, statement performance. They got the W, but it wasn’t pretty as they beat previously undefeated Houston 14-13 in the Orange Bowl that continued to keep the questions alive surrounding Coker and if his team is still battling as hard as it can be. The Tar Heels haven’t stepped on the field since getting pounded by Clemson 52-7 and must travel to Miami for the second consecutive season. Both teams are 0-1 in the conference and need a win to stay within shouting distance of the ACC Coastal Division leaders.
Why North Carolina Might Win: The Heels opportunity to win rests on the broad shoulders of the North Carolina offensive line. Charlston Gray and Brian Chacos form one of the best guard/tackle combinations in the ACC and can control the right side of the Miami defensive line as well as anyone has yet to this year. Behind the duo, the Heels have run for 123 yards per game and could control the tempo and keep the Canes from getting any momentum.
Why Miami Might Win: Miami’s run game improved mightily last week due in large part to the insertion of freshman RB Javarris James into the starting lineup. James ran for 148 yards against a better-than-advertised Houston defense and will face the 114th ranked run defense this weekend. Although Miami should be able to run the ball well, it’s their ability to stop the run that is the main reason Miami will end up with the W. The Canes are seventh in the nation against the run, yielding a pedestrian 65 yards per game on the ground.
Who to Watch: North Carolina QB Cam Sexton has gone through the typical freshman up-and-down cycle of life, but for the Heels to have a chance this week in Miami, he has to be on the upswing. At Clemson, he hit rock bottom completing less than 33% of his passes in an ugly loss. Miami will generate maximum pressure on Sexton, so the youngster has to hang tight in the pocket to find his trio of ‘big’ receivers downfield to open things up for the running game.
What Will Happen: The Heels’ 104th ranked defense will have no answers for James, who should run for 150+ yards to lead the Canes to win number three.
CFN Prediction: Miami 35 ... North Carolina 14 ... Line: Miami -18.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Rachael Ray
CFN: Week 6 ACC Predictions
12 PM EST ESPN Saturday October 7th