Big Games on ACC Slate This Week

The Tar Heels blew a great chance last week to take early control of the Coastal division a week ago.

Virginia (1-2) at Duke (2-1) Kickoff: 12 PM
This will be the 60th meeting between the Cavs and the Blue Devils. UVA leads the series 32-27-0, but Duke leads the series in games played at Wallace Wade Outdoor Stadium 14-12. Both teams are coming off an open week. Needless to say it was the Cavs who made the most news with the dismissal of quarterback Peter Lalich. That means Marc Verica will start for Coach Al Groh. Verica is an interesting story as he left the team this past summer, but when QB Jameel Sewell was dismissed because of grades, Verica decided to come back to school and compete for the QB job. Now he finds himself the leader of the country's 118th rank team in terms of total offense (233.67 yards/game). The Cavalier rushing attack manages less than 52 yards per game and only 182 yards through the air. That means old Al better field a good defense and right now he doesn't. His defense is 98th in the country giving up 419.33 yards per contest. Meanwhile Thaddeus Lewis heads up the Duke offensive attack and if he was playing anywhere else, Thaddeus would be a household name. Under his direction this season Duke is averaging almost 31 points per game and 410.67 total yards per game. The Blue Devils aren't bad on defense either - ranking 13th best in the country against the pass. Virginia has won the last eight meetings in a row against the Blue Devils. That streak ends here. Prediction: Duke 38 Virginia 13

North Carolina (2-1) at Miami (2-1) Kickoff: 12 PM
The Tar Heels blew a great chance last week to take early control of the Coastal division of the ACC by blowing a 17-3 lead at home against Virginia Tech. The reason for the loss was the broken ankle of starting QB T.J. Yates. When he went down in came red-shirt freshman Mike Paulus, brother of Duke point guard Greg Paulus. To say there was a difference between the two would be a gross understatement. UNC does have a decent running back in Greg Little who busted a 50 yard touchdown run last week against the Hokies. They also have excellent wide outs in Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks. Miami is coming off a 41-23 beat down of the Aggies of Texas A&M in College Station. It was the worst non-conference defeat for A&M at home since 1988. Red-shirt freshman Robert Marve made just his second career start at Kyle Field going 16-of-22 for 212 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Canes. On the ground, Graig Cooper rushed for 128 yards and also added two TD's. It's a return home for UNC head man Butch Davis, but it won't be a happy homecoming. Prediction: Miami 34 UNC 9

Rhode Island (1-3) at Boston College (2-1) Kickoff: 1 PM
This will be the seventh ever meeting between the Rams and the Eagles. BC has shutout Rhode Island in the previous four meetings and has won by a combined score of 135-0. Need I say more? Prediction: BC 38 Rhode Island 7

Colorado (3-0) vs Florida State (2-1) in Jacksonville Kickoff: 3:30 PM
It is only the third ever meeting of the Buffalos and the Seminoles. Colorado knocked off a nationally ranked West Virginia squad 17-14 in OT last week. FSU meanwhile lost at home to Wake 12-3 as the Noles coughed up two fumbles and threw five interceptions. Jimbo Fisher's offense had put up some pretty impressive numbers in their first two games of the season. Unfortunately, it was against Chattanooga and Western Carolina. I don't think the championship of the Southern Conference is what Bobby Bowden is after. Cody Hawkins, the son of Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins, leads the Buffs. Just a sophomore, Hawkins has been decent but not spectacular. He is averaging 218 yards passing a game for a team that averages 361.33 yards of total offense per contest. That means to be 3-0 the defense has to be fairly decent. You know Mickey Andrews will have Florida State's defense ready to go and I don't think Buffalos move that quick. Chalk one up for the Indians again. Prediction: FSU 17 Colorado 10

Navy (2-2) at # 16 Wake Forest (3-0) Kickoff: 3:45 PM
It is the ninth meeting between the Demon Deacons and the Midshipmen. Wake leads the series 6-2. Points if you can tell me who coaches Navy. The answer is to follow. In days past, this would have been running game versus running game, but with Riley Skinner guiding the Deacon attack Jim Grobe has gone to an air attack. Even though Wake only scored 12 points against FSU last week, Skinner still threw for 217 yards on 17-of-29 passing. Wake is averaging less the 100 yards on the ground this year, which means you had better throw the ball well. Navy will run the ball. They lead the country in rushing averaging 345.75 yards per game. That means head coach Ken Niumatalolo will try to control the clock. Wake leads the country in turnover margin (3.33). They will get their fair share on Saturday. Prediction: Wake 31 Navy 18

#13 South Florida (4-0) at NC State (2-2) Kickoff: 7:30 PM
The only meeting between these two was in the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl with the Wolfpack shutting out the Bulls 14-0. USF is coming off a less than impressive 17-9 win over Florida International. In the contest, for only the second time in 30 starts, quarterback Matt Grothe failed to throw a touchdown pass. USF is carried by their defensive unit. They are 12th in total defense (238.50 yards/game) and 14th against the run (67 yards/game). The Pack is coming off a 30-24 overtime win over then No. 15 East Carolina. Having seen Tom O'Brien's team early this year against Clemson, I would have never thought they could have put 30 points on the board in one game. Red-shirt freshman Russell Wilson gave the Pack offense the boost it needed going 21-31 for 210 yards and three touchdowns. The win over the Pirates was the highest ranked opponent NCSU has knocked off at home since 2002. Can they make it two in a row? Not with Wilson and also LB Nate Irving out with injuries. Prediction: South Florida 31 NC State 13

Virginia Tech (3-1) at Nebraska (3-0) Kickoff: 8 PM Nebraska has won the only meeting between these two schools and that was in the 1996 Orange Bowl 41-27. First year head coach Bo Pelini has had 14 days to prepare for Frank Beamer's club. Pelini, the former defensive coordinator at LSU, is looking to bring back pride to a once proud program. Naturally he is starting with defense. The Black Shirts are giving up, on average, only 14.33 points per game and just 77.67 yards on the ground. The problem is teams are averaging 269.67 yards per game in the air. On offense quarterback Joe Ganz is coming off a game in which he threw, ran, and caught a touchdown against New Mexico State. Meanwhile Virginia Tech is still looking for a solid answer at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor is the starter and he went 11-of-21 for 125 yards in the win against North Carolina last Saturday. Problem is he also threw two interceptions. What Taylor can't do with his arm he can do with his feet. He is currently third in the ACC running the football. The Hokies enjoyed success last week away from home, but the home field advantage at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is much different than the home field advantage in Chapel Hill. Prediction: Nebraska 24 Virginia Tech 16 Top Stories