Around the ACC

Don Munson takes you around the ACC and also offers a prediction on Georgia Tech - Clemson game.

Wake Forest (4-1) at Maryland (4-2) Kickoff: 12 PM
This will be the 56th meeting between the Demon Deacons and the Terrapins with Maryland holding a commanding 40-15-1 lead in the series including winning seven of the last nine. Last season, the Terps held a 21-point lead in the third quarter before Wake stormed back to win in overtime 31-24. This is a huge game for Wake Forest as they try to cement themselves at the Atlantic division favorite in the ACC. It is hard to believe but the 2-0 start in conference play for Jim Grobe's club is the first such start for Wake since 1987. The Deacons turned back to the running game against Clemson last time out, but it was still the play of QB Riley Skinner that was the difference. Skinner is completing 69.1 percent of his passes for his career and 68.9 percent of his passes this season. The last time Ralph Friedgen saw his club on the gridiron was two weeks ago at Virginia and it wasn't pretty. The Cavs rolled the Terps 31-0 with a power running game. Neither team has lit up the scoreboard this season. Wake is 82nd in the country in points per game averaging 22.40 and Maryland is 83rd at 22.33. Defense will decide this game and thus the edge to Wake. Prediction: Wake Forest 17 Maryland 13

North Carolina (5-1) at Virginia (3-3) Kickoff: 3:30 PM
This is the oldest rivalry in the ACC. The two teams have met 112 times on the gridiron and North Carolina leads the series 56-52-4. One thing the Tar Heels have not been able to do is beat the Cavaliers in Charlottesville. The Cavs have won 13 in a row over UNC in the shadow of the Pergola. Butch Davis has now lost two big pieces of his offense. Quarterback T.J. Yates is still on the shelf with a bum ankle and top wide out Brandon Tate went down in the victory over Notre Dame last week with a blown out knee. That means Cameron Sexton must continue to perform well under center and Hakeem Nicks must elevate his play at wide receiver. The return of Cedric Peerman at tailback has made all the difference for Virginia. Peerman has posted back-to-back 100-yard plus rushing efforts in back to back wins for the Wahoos. Also stepping up has been sophomore QB Marc Verica. All he has done in the last two games is go 50 of 66 for 442 yards and three touchdowns. North Carolina is number one in the country in turnover margin, so if the Cavaliers can protect the ball they have a shot. Prediction: Virginia 20 UNC 17

Miami (3-3) at Duke (3-2) Kickoff: 3:30 PM
This will be only the sixth ever meeting between these two schools. Duke won the first meeting in 1976 and since then Miami has won the last four. David Cutcliffe will try to keep his Blue Devils within one game of Virginia Tech in the Coastal division of the ACC. Now think about that. Here we are in the middle of October and Duke is still within a game of first place in their division. When was the last time you could say that? Meanwhile, what is going on at Miami? One week Randy Shannon looks like he has got the "U" headed back in the right direction and the next week one wonders who will be the next coach in Coral Gables. Both of these teams need this win desperately. Duke has had two weeks to prepare. Miami has much better athletic talent. Duke has Thaddeus Lewis at quarterback and Miami has Robert Marve. I will go with Lewis. Prediction: Duke 21 Miami 20

Virginia Tech (5-1) at Boston College (4-1) Kickoff: 8 PM
This is the biggest game in the ACC this week. Frank Beamer has got his club believing they can manage a football game and continue their winning ways. Jeff Jagodzinski has his Eagles playing much better than any of us expected. These two clubs played in last years ACC Championship game and it looks like they could both be headed to Tampa this season. Chris Crane came to life at quarterback last week for BC going 34-for-51 for 428 yards and two touchdowns in a win over N.C. State. Oh and by the way, he also rushed for three touchdowns. If the Eagles continue to get that kind of offensive output to go along with the countries fifth best total defense (253.40 yards/game), then look out. For Virginia Tech, do you think it was a good idea not to red-shirt Tyrod Taylor? Taylor is eighth in the ACC in rushing, sixth in total offense, and is completing 61.4 percent of his passes. Freshman tailback Darren Evans has had a knack for finding the end zone as he leads the team with eight rushing touchdowns. Run the ball and stop the run is always a winning formula and I think the Hokies have a better recipe. Prediction: Virginia Tech 24 Boston College 20

Georgia Tech (5-1) at Clemson (3-3) Kickoff: 12 PM
What a difference a week makes or maybe I should say what a difference a couple of hours makes. In a five-hour period this past Monday morning the Clemson football program went from flat to frenzied. When Terry Don Phillips walked into Tommy Bowden's office at 6 am Monday morning to discuss the fortunes of Clemson football, I don't think he had any idea that by 11 am the Georgia Tech game would become one of the most anticipated games in recent Clemson history. But that is how long it took for Coach Bowden to say enough was enough and for Dabo Swinney to be given the reigns. There is no doubt in my mind that for the first five to eight minutes on Saturday you will see the Tigers play at a different level, but it is the next 55 to 52 minutes that concern me. Paul Johnson brings in a Georgia Tech team is pretty good on both sides of the football. Jonathan Dwyer can run the football and quarterback Josh Nesbitt can run the offense. Defensively the Jackets boast the sixth best total defense in the country. They are several questions for the Tigers. What will a Dabo Swinney offense look like? Will the first-time head coach be able to handle all that has been thrown at him? What will Willy Korn do in his first collegiate start? Will the offensive line give him enough protection? Can the Clemson defense be disciplined enough against the triple option attack? Will Georgia Tech hit the Tigers with that one big passing play they have hit everyone else with? I think we will see an offensive attack for the Tigers that will try to get Willy Korn out on the corners in space with the option to throw or run. I think we see some option from the Tigers. I think we see more throws down the field instead of across the field. I think we see a fan base cheering, screaming and united behind their football team. I think we see a Tiger win. Prediction: Clemson 20 Georgia Tech 16 Top Stories