ACC Game of the Week
Tech (4-1) at
(4-1) 7:30 PM EST ESPN Thursday Oct.
Why to Watch: Virginia Tech and Boston College have had ample opportunity to recover from crushing conference defeats suffered at the hands of Georgia Tech and NC State, respectively, and now there's little margin for error for each. The Hokies yielded big plays on both sides of the ball against Georgia Tech giving up 38 points, the most cored against a Frank Beamer squad since Cal registered 52 points in the 2003 Insight Bowl track meet, and there's still a major question whether or not they can beat anyone good. Boston College, on the other hand, had plenty of opportunities to put more points on the board against NC State, but couldn’t capitalize on their chances, and got nailed with a last second Daniel Evans touchdown pass. Although the teams are in separate divisions, another ACC loss, for either team, wipes out almost all ACC championship game hopes.
Why Virginia Tech Might Win: RB Branden Ore has been a first team All-ACC running back throughout the first half of the season averaging 91.6 yards per game. His productivity provides balance and a steadying force for the offense that should keep QB Sean Glennon from having to throw the ball 53 times like he had to against Georgia Tech. On the plus side, Glennon was forced to throw the ball deep against the Yellow Jackets, and it paid off with big plays that kept the game relatively close. The ability to throw the ball deep on BC’s defense could exploit the 109th ranked pass defense in the nation and open things up for Ore.
Why Boston College Might Win: The Hokie pass defense surrendered 176 yards to Georgia Tech's Reggie Ball on just 16 passes. BC doesn't have a Calvin Johnson to make big plays, but QB Matt Ryan is a steady veteran who's been around long enough to not be fazed by the aggressive Tech D. He’s averaging 245 passing yards per game and distributes the wealth as well as any passer in the ACC. On the other side of the ball, the defensive front held Clemson’s power running game to less than four yards per carry and is good enough to keep Ore under 100 yards.
Who to Watch: The BC offensive line struggled mightily in last year’s game against the fierce Hokie pass rush and has to play far better this year to get the win. After gibing up seven sacks so far, is the Eagle front five ready to handle the pressure with the Hokies having two weeks off to come up with new pass rushing wrinkles? Virginia Tech’s defensive front will throw a multitude of blitz looks and rush schemes, but if Ryan stays upright in the pocket, the BC offense will roll.
What Will Happen: The Eagles will get a strong performance out of Ryan, but the defense won’t be able to stop both Ore and Glennon. The Hokie running back will get back on track with a 100+ yard rushing performance and Glennon will be more effective with fewer throws. One of those throws will be a deep ball for six that breaks BC’s back.
CFN Prediction: Virginia Tech 24 … Boston College 21 ... Line: Virginia Tech -2.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Class) ... 4
(5-1) 7:30 PM EST ESPNU
Thursday October 12
Why to Watch: Pity Al Golden. The man takes over the Temple head job as a first year head coach, loses six straight to start his career and then must go to Charlotte, N.C. to take on 12th-ranked Clemson on national television. Ouch. On the other sideline, though, it’s all smiles as the Tigers have won four in a row, including last week’s comeback win over Wake Forest 24-17. In facing Temple, the Tigers have a glorified scrimmage before their titanic ACC battles against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech over the next few weeks.
Why Temple Might Win: The offense has shown some signs of life scoring 17 against Kent State and 14 against Vandy. The Owls might be able to put up a few points if the Tigers let down and don't have any focus late. Coming off of an indescribable 24 point comeback win over Wake Forest, and with Georgia Tech looming large in nine days, Clemson isn't going to be paying full attention to Temple. No matter whether the Tigers are looking forward or looking back, they’re probably not looking straight ahead. As a sandwich game, the Owls are due to be overlooked, but…
Why Clemson Might Win: ... it doesn’t really matter. The Tiger offense will have the opportunity to spread out carries amongst its three running backs, as they did against Louisiana Tech when James Davis, CJ Spiller and Demerick Chancellor all rushed for over 100 yards against a run D that's giving up 233 yards per outing. QB Will Proctor threw three picks at Wake Forest, but he should be able to get back on track quickly against a shaky Owl secondary..
Who to Watch: Clemson LB Nick Watkins leads the team in tackles and has become the leader of a defense that lost Tremaine Billie and Anthony Waters early on. He was all over the place against Wake Forest, finishing with eight tackles and distributing a few headaches along the way, and he should be able to put up big numbers stuffing Tim Brown and the Temple running game.
What Will Happen: Clemson will run and run and run some more on the way to well over 300 yards, while Temple will be lucky to gain 100 yards total. This one is a rout from the opening kickoff.
CFN Prediction: Clemson 54 … Temple 3 ... Line: Clemson -46
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Class) ... 1
Wake Forest (5-1) at
(3-2) 12:00 PM EST
GamePlan Saturday Oct. 14
Why to Watch: No team needs to get back on the field to stay ‘hot’ more than NC State after thrilling late wins over Boston College and Florida State. No team needs to get back on the field to rid themselves of the stench of a monumental fourth quarter collapse as much as Wake Forest. Jim Grobe’s bunch will be looking to erase the memory of last week’s loss to Clemson, or it could linger Michigan State style and ruin a potentially memorable season. However, a confident State squad might be tough to right the ship against with sophomore QB Daniel Evans leading the way to first place in the ACC Atlantic Division. If Wake has any designs on playing in Jacksonville in December, it needs this win to get back on track with BC, Florida State and Virginia Tech still down the road.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: For three quarters against Clemson, the Deacs controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage and had the shocker seemingly in hand. QB Riley Skinner was protected, the running game was picking up key first downs, the defensive front was holding the Clemson running game in check, but it all fell apart. Considering how good Clemson is, just staying that dominant for so long showed that this Wake team is for real. If Skinner doesn’t turn the ball over (with one interception in 95 attempts) and the defense avoids the big play, the Deacons should get back on track.
Why NC State Might Win: A comparison of Evans to Philip Rivers on the surface is a wee bit premature, but the intangibles and leadership evident in the lanky signal caller remind many of the current Charger quarterback. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he makes the smart throw nearly every time he takes his drop with the presence to force teams to decide whether they want to play man coverage and load the box to stop RB Andre Brown, or stay basic and force the deep ball. Evans is making that decision a difficult one to make.
Who to Watch: NC State defensive tackle Tank Tyler came out of the FSU game with back spasms, but his presence on the field is vital this week against Wake’s offensive line needing to hold up for a full sixty minutes. NFL scouts are hot on Tyler and his quickness and burst off the ball, so now he's in a salary drive. If he's dominating, Wake will have a tough time moving the ball.
What Will Happen: Playing at home the past two weeks, State has been a different team, but this is a flaky team that could have problems with a steady, consistent, mentally tough team like Wake Forest. Is State's head getting too big? We'll see.
CFN Prediction: Wake Forest 24 ... NC State 21 ... Line: NC State -5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Class) ... 3.5
Florida (4-2) at
12:00 PM EST ESPNU Saturday Oct. 14
Why to Watch: After a visit to take on conference foe Miami, the Tar Heels get a visit from South Florida, the second Big East opponent to travel to Kenan Stadium with Rutgers winning the first battle in the season opener. North Carolina's season is quickly slipping into the abyss getting outscored 99 to 14 over the last two weeks and failing to beat a D-I team so far. Any hope for a bowl season has to start by beating a USF team coming off a victory over Connecticut 38-16 to keep Big East hopes alive. With a winnable game against Cincinnati next week, USF can set itself up nicely for bowl eligibility with a win.
Why South Florida Might Win: The USF defense is as stingy as any unit in the country having not given up more than 22 points in any game this season and rely heavily on their talented trio at linebacker – Stephen Nicholas, Ben Moffitt and Patrick St. Louis. Although the defense continues to play well, it’s the play of QB Matt Grothe that's finally given their offense a true offensive threat averaging 275 yards per game. North Carolina doesn't have an answer on offense if the Bulls start getting on a roll.
Why North Carolina Might Win: Tar Heel fans know Rutgers RB Ray Rice intimately, and so does the Bull defense. Against USF, Rice cranked out 202 yards on the ground showing that there is hope to get the ground game going. UNC RBs Ronnie McGill and Barrington Edwards have the potential to carry the load and come up with a good game if the offensive line does its part. Coming up with a power game will be a must.
Who to Watch: USF CB Trae Williams is fourth in the nation with five picks and is on his way to All-Big East honors and possibly more. He has an opportunity to add to that total against UNC QB Cam Sexton, who has thrown six interceptions in the last four games. The redshirt freshman suffered a mild concussion against the Canes last week, but he's expected to play. For the Tar Heels to have a chance, he has to be far more effective after completing just 16 of 50 passes over the last two week.
What Will Happen: The Bulls don’t ever win pretty, but they do win with a physically aggressive defense and an opportunistic offensive unit. The Bulls won’t score much, nor will they need to. The defense will hold the Tar Heels to less than 125 yards rushing and Grothe will pick apart the Heels secondary to help lead them to win number five.
CFN Prediction: South Florida 23 … North Carolina 14 ... Line: South Florida -2.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Class) ... 2