Around the ACC

Don Munson takes you around the Atlantic Coast Conference during Clemson's off week.

Boston College (5-1) at North Carolina (5-2) Kickoff 12 PM
This will be only the fifth ever meeting between Boston College and North Carolina on the gridiron. The series is tied at two games apiece with each team protecting its home field. BC is currently in a four way tie for first place in the Atlantic division of the ACC with a 2-1 conference mark. The Eagles are coming off a 28-23 triumph over Virginia Tech last weekend in Chestnut Hill. In the contest the Hokies gain only 240 yards of offense and did not score an offensive touchdown. It was the third time this season that the BC defense has held an opponent out of the end zone. The other notable fact for the Boston College defense was the fact they held Virginia tech to only 90 through the air. The Eagles now boost the nation's fourth best overall defense (251.7 yds/game) and the fifth best pass defense (143 yds/games). North Carolina is coming off an overtime loss to Virginia in Charlottesville last week 16-13. Injuries for the Tar Heels are really beginning to mount. Quarterback T.J. Yates is still out of action and maybe the ACC's best wide receiver, Brandon Tate, is out for the year with a knee injury. Butch Davis is trying to use a balanced offensive attack in Chapel Hill. UNC is rushing for about 130 yards per game and throwing for just under 200 yards per game. The pressure is on for QB Cam Sexton to set it up. I don't think that happens against the Eagle D. Prediction: Boston College 27 UNC 16

Wake Forest (4-2) at Miami (4-3) Kickoff 12 12 PM
What has happened to the Wake Forest running game? Much like at Clemson, the Deacon offensive line can't seem to open the holes for their running backs. That has put all of the pressure on quarterback Riley Skinner. If you had to choose one player in the league to put pressure on, he would certainly be at the head of the list. The Demon Deacons looked awful last week in getting shutout at Maryland. Part of the problem was the performance of Skinner who went 14-30 for just 127 yards. Miami went on the road last week and rallied from ten points down to beat Duke 49-31. Freshman quarterback Jacory Harris came off the bench to throw four touchdowns and run for another. Randy Shannon's squad has been a little Jekyll and Hyde all season long. In his second season at the "U", Shannon is now 9-10 and the pressure is on for him to show he is getting things headed in the right direction. Defensively Miami is 20th in the country against the run (102.29 yards) and 21st overall (287.43). The problem is their offense is 102nd in the country averaging only 302 yards per game. Wake didn't look good against the Tigers and looked worst last week, so give me the home team. Prediction: Miami 17 Wake 13

Duke (3-3) at Vanderbilt (5-2) Kickoff 3 PM
This will be the eleventh meeting between these two brainy schools. Vandy leads the series 7-3. With one more win the Commodores become bowl eligible for the first time in forever. Bobby Johnson's name is being kicked around various college head coaching circles, including the one in Tigertown. David Cutcliffe has done an outstanding job in getting the Blue Devils believing they can win. In quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, Cutcliffe has a guy that is throwing for better than 200 yards per game and hasn't had an interception in his last 206 attempts. Vanderbilt wishes they had any type of offense. They are 118th in the country averaging just 249.93 yards per game. No doubt Vandy has faced better competition than Duke. Look for Bobby Johnson to try and run the ball right at the Blue Devils. Prediction: Vanderbilt 24 Duke 17

Virginia Tech (5-2) Florida State (5-1) Kickoff 3:30 PM
Don't look now, but the old man Bobby Bowden has got his Seminoles in the thick of things in the ACC. Christian Ponder is beginning to play fairly steady at quarterback, Antone Smith is running the ball with authority, and Mickey Andrews has the defense swarming to the ball. The big problem with FSU in recent years has been the inability to run the ball. Not so this season. The 'Noles are ripping off 216 yards per game on the ground. What is the key to winning games? Run the ball and stop the run. That is exactly what FSU is doing. Defensively they are allowing less than 80 yards per game on the ground and are third in the country in total defense (248.00). So why we are seeing the possible resurrection of the Seminoles, are we beginning to see the beginnings of a possible slide of the Hokies? I already told you they did not score an offensive touchdown last week in the loss to Boston College and even their special teams haven't been up to Frank Beamer's measure. Tyrod Taylor has had some off field issues and hasn't been productive at quarterback since the red shirt was taken off of him after the first game this season. Even the defense in Blacksburg has been just average this season. Virginia Tech goes to Tallahassee looking for answers this weekend. They won't like what they find. Prediction: Florida State 27 Virginia Tech 13

NC State (2-5) at Maryland (5-2) Kickoff 3:30 PM
64 times these two clubs have met on the football field and so far nothing has been decided as this series is all tied at 30-30-4. Maryland has won three of the last four played in College Park including at double OT thriller 35-28 in 2000. NC State has the worst rushing attack in the conference averaging only 91 yards per contest. Their air attack is not that much better yielding only 193 yards. Maryland is a much better team at home this season than they have been on the road. One would think the Terps gained a lot of confidence with the shutout win over Wake in Byrd Stadium last week. Chris Turner continues to play steady, but not impressive at QB for Maryland throwing for 186 yards per game although he did have 321 yards through the air last week. Much like the offense, the Maryland defense has been steady but not spectacular. They are giving up less than 19 points per game, but teams are throwing for 235 yards a game against them. The Wolfpack is still a year or two away from winning on the road in the ACC. Prediction: Maryland 35 NC State 17

Virginia (4-3) at Georgia Tech (6-1) Kickoff 3:30 PM
This is the best game of the day in the league. Al Groh has gotten things turned around in Charlottesville and he has done it behind the running of Cedric Peerman and the play of sophomore quarterback Marc Verica. Peerman is averaging better than 100 yards rushing the last three games and Verica has gone 74 of 104 for 659 yards and three touchdowns in the last three. By the way, the last three games have all been wins for the Cavs. Paul Johnson continues to beat ACC opponents with his option offense. All it does is control the clock, which keeps the ball away for you and wears down your defense. Oh, and it wins of course. Mr. Johnson is bringing to set a trend that ACC coaches are going to dread for a long time. His defense by the way has been pretty good. They are 19th against the run (101.29), eighth against the pass (153.29) and fifth overall (254.57). Run the ball and play good defense is always a winning formula. Prediction: Georgia Tech 24 Virginia 16

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